One of the defining moments of the American Revolution was Williamsburg's Gunpowder Incident of 1775. Before dawn on April 21, 1775, British marines, acting on orders from Royal Governor Lord Dunmore, removed the colonists' gunpowder from the Magazine. The next morning, when residents of Virginia's 18th-century capital discovered that the gunpowder was missing, they took to the streets and threatened retaliation against the governor. The series of events surrounding the removal of the powder has become known as the Gunpowder Incident.
Williamsburg Magazine. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Buildings can also be primary sources. They can tell stories about their purpose, location, and the people who used it. The history of the Magazine in Williamsburg has many twists and turnsperhaps most famously, its involvement in the Gunpowder Incident of 1775.
The Next Electronic Field Trip
is A More Perfect Union
October 13, 2011
Downloadable American History
Lesson Plans from
and Colonial Williamsburg
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New Interactive George Washington Portrait
A new and improved interactive version of Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of George Washington has joined the Kids Zone! Discover the symbols hidden in this famous American portrait and decode their meanings. Also compatible with iPad and iPhone.
05/02: Immortal Bricks and Mortar
(podcast and vodcast)
05/09: Women in Wartime
05/16: What Makes a Good President?
05/23: Making History Live
05/30: Pirates of the Past
The Idea of America
A digital American history program that inspires and prepares high school students for active citizenship, developed by Colonial Williamsburg and distributed by Pearson Education.
Colonial Williamsburg for Teachers
20112012 Electronic Field Trip Scholarships
History can be described as a series of individual choices coming together to create events. In this lesson, students will examine the Gunpowder Incident from the perspectives of five different historical characters. They will discuss their characters' actions in small groups, and then present their characters' point of view to the class and take notes on each others' presentations. Those notes will be used to help students as they draw comic strips depicting what they think really motivated the Gunpowder Incident.
Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of quality
instructional materials about American history topics, including:
- Story of a Patriot (DVD)
- Soldier's Haversack (Hands-on History Kit)
- Life in the Continental Army (Lesson Unit)
Check out our special offers!
Games, activities, and resources about life in colonial America.
21st Century Award
for Best Practices in Distance Learning, preK–12
United States Distance Learning Association, 2010
Finalist, Distinguished Achievement Award, Association of Educational Publishers, 2011
Quotation of the Month
"The monstrous absurdity that the Governor can deprive the people of the necessary means of defense at a time when the colony is actually threatened with an insurrection of their slaves ...has worked up the passions of the people there almost to a frenzy."
Dunmore's justification for the incident, mocked in the June 6 edition of the South Carolina Gazette
Reminder to EFT subscribers:
The 2010-2011 Electronic Field Trip materials will be removed from the website on August 31 to make way for our exciting new season! Please download or print any teacher and student materials you may need.