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April 6, 2010

CW apps link present to past

Two applications (known as “apps”) from Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site are now available for free download from iTunes. The app “Word of the Day” defines words common in the 18th century that may have a different meaning altogether today or have disappeared from the American lexicon entirely. Words such as shoat, sippet, ragout, coxcomb or firkin are sent to users of iPhones and iPod touch models who have downloaded the app free from Apple’s iTunes store.

“Today in the 1770s” brings news originally published in the Virginia Gazette in the 18th century to the device through which people receive news in the 21st century – a mobile telephone. The excerpts are taken from copies of Virginia’s oldest newspaper housed in the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library and include everything from obituaries and reports of stolen property to notices of guitar lessons for ladies and the selection of Peyton Randolph as delegate to the Virginia convention.

The applications draw connections between past and present and bring Colonial Williamsburg’s rich stories and cultural experiences to guests no matter where they are in the world. Through mobile technology, a new Colonial Williamsburg audience is engaged in the role Williamsburg played in the story of our nation’s beginnings.

For curious word enthusiasts, a shoat is a weaned pig; sippet is a crunchy garnish of toasted or fried bread; ragout is a flavorful stew of vegetables and chopped meat; a coxcomb is a flirtatious frivolous man and a firkin is a wooden cask equal in volume to one quarter of a barrel, or about nine gallons.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation.

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. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280