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March 26, 2008

First American small business owners presented in CW's Electronic Field Trip - "The Industrious Tradesmen"

Follow the lives of three young journeymen fresh from their apprenticeships in trades and business as they learn how skill and opportunity will impact their careers. Discover how a changing economy and war disrupt their dreams and plans by creating increased prices, lower demand for goods and services, and opportunities they had not considered.

Produced by Colonial Williamsburg, “The Industrious Tradesmen” connects students to history in a story with contemporary connections. Students learn how America’s colonial heritage of self- sufficiency and skilled craftsmanship formed the basis of the principle of entrepreneurship and a free market economy.

Learn the importance of women and slaves in the trades, and discover how one young man believes he is abandoning his lifelong dream of working in the trade he loves to join the army, only to learn his trade is exactly what the army needs in time of war.

Internet activities for “The Industrious Tradesmen” extend students’ understanding of the hardships and responsibilities of learning a trade and running a business. The program’s Web site includes comprehensive lesson plans, a glossary, suggested Web links and a bibliography. Students can take a quiz to learn what trade would best fit their personality and interests and what trades were most common for women in the 18th century. Teacher resources provide tools for teachers to help students make the distinction between working and owning a business.

Electronic Field Trips are broadcast one Thursday each month from October through April at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern time on participating PBS stations and cable channels. Next year’s season begins October 16 with the premiere of “The Will of the People” in time for the 2008 presidential election. One of the bitterest presidential campaigns in U.S. history provides a surprising lesson for 21st-century students, who will learn how negative campaigning, partisan politics and contested elections have been part of our political system since the earliest days of the republic.

Registered users may also view Electronic Field Trips via the Internet. The programs consist of a one-hour live broadcast which includes a story on subjects from the colonial period through the early life of the United States. The productions are supported with comprehensive lesson plans, glossaries, timelines, Internet activities and online connectivity to Colonial Williamsburg historians.

As the nation’s leading educational resource for early American history, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation uses the Internet and interactive television technology to bring the 18th century to life for more than one million students throughout the United States each year. For more information or to register for the Electronic Field Trip Series visit or contact the Electronic Field Trip registrar at 1-800-761-8331 or by e-mail at

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans — while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®” — a daily dramatic live street theater presentation — is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121