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February 10, 2012

Thomas Jefferson Visits Four Dallas Area Schools in February

Students at four Dallas area schools will “meet” Thomas Jefferson when he pays them a visit this month. They will actually meet Colonial Williamsburg’s Bill Barker, who has been portraying Jefferson for more than 20 years, but Barker’s appearance, manner of dress, speaking and total immersion into the character cause those who see him to believe he is the third president of the United States in the flesh.

Mr. Jefferson will speak at school assemblies and answer questions from the audience. Barker as Jefferson is a hit with students from elementary to university age, using a first-person technique he has perfected through years of research and practice, conversing as if it were the 18th century, and feigning surprise and confusion at cell phones and Twitter – all the while making the lessons of the American Revolution clearly relevant to today’s students.

While in town, Jefferson also will appear at private events at the Dallas Women’s Club and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden as the guest of Cheryl and Steve Coke, chairman of the board of directors for the Dallas Arboretum. Mr. and Mrs. Coke are members of Colonial Williamsburg’s National Advisory Council, a nationwide group of leaders who have a strong commitment to the well-being of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The Cokes helped with arrangements for the school appearances for Thomas Jefferson.

Barker as Jefferson will visit Eubanks Intermediate School in Southlake Wednesday, Feb. 22; Plano West High School and Renner Middle School in Plano, Thursday, Feb. 23; and Shelton School in Dallas, Friday, Feb. 24.

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 by 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