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November 9, 2010

What If There Were No Bill of Rights?

Colonial Williamsburg’s award-winning Electronic Field Trip series explores a world in which the rights of citizens are not protected by the federal government in the Nov. 18 premiere of “The Bill of Rights.”

The program follows fictional student Ashley Harding as she is suddenly immersed in a modern world where the 18th-century constitutional amendments known as the Bill of Rights were never ratified. She explores this oppressive alternate reality in her own school and discovers a world without the protection of individual liberty where censorship of materials is allowed in the school library and her family’s home computer is confiscated.

The program also features a scene from history in which George Mason, George Washington and Jonathan Dayton debate the Bill of Rights at the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787. “The Bill of Rights” reveals the relevance of these 18th-century debates to the lives of 21st-century American students.

Produced by Colonial Williamsburg’s division of production, publications and learning ventures, electronic field tips are broadcast one Thursday each month from October through April at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern time on participating public television stations and cable channels across the country. Targeted to grades 4-8, the distance learning programs pan a broad range of historical subjects about people, issues and events from the colonial period to the present day.

Each electronic field trip is supported with lesson plans, interactive student resources, program scripts and other materials to help teachers make history exciting and relevant for their students. All materials have been developed by teachers, historians and museum educators and meet state standards for history, technology, art and literacy. Selected program also correlate to additional state standards related to the program’s subject.

Students in participating schools may submit pre-recorded video questions, share a project via live video Web chats, and e-mail or call in questions to costumed interpreters and historians during the live televised broadcast. Registered users also may view electronic field trips and use teacher and student resources via the Internet on demand any time during the school year.

As the nation’s leading educational resource for early American history, Colonial Williamsburg uses the Internet and live interactive television broadcasts to bring American history to life for more than one million students and four million other viewers each year. For more information and pricing, or to subscribe to the electronic field trip series, visit, call 1-800-761-8331, or e-mail The Electronic Field Trip series is supported in part by the William and Gretchen Kimball Young Patriots Fund.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural institution dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. 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. Philanthropic support from individuals, corporations and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg 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 website at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280