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July 26, 2012

What is This Thing Called Freedom?

Born into slavery in North Carolina, Betsy Costner, portrayed by storyteller and character interpreter Shelia Arnold, shares her life before, during and after the Civil War during the program “What is This Thing Called Freedom?” at 3 p.m. Aug. 4 and Aug. 11 in the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, 326 W. Francis St., Williamsburg, Va.

Guests learn about Betsy’s walk through the “second Middle Passage” which was a forced migration of slaves to the “Deep South.” This was due to the Deep South’s booming sugar cane and cotton industry coupled with a declining tobacco industry in the Tidewater area. During this one-hour program, guests also hear about Betsy’s interactions with Civil War soldiers and her struggles, excitements and fears of this thing called freedom.

Any Revolutionary City ticket, Annual, Good Neighbor or museum pass provides access to this program.

For more information, call 1-800-HISTORY or (757) 220-7724.

Programs and exhibitions at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

Colonial Williamsburg’s African American programming is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment of Humanities, Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Parsons, Douglas N. Morton, Marilyn L. Brown, the Norfolk Southern Corporation, the Charles E. Culpeper Endowments in Arts and Culture of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Altria Client Services, AT&T, Philip Morris, Dominion Foundation and IBM.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, with more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670–1830.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets in Williamsburg, Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization 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. 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 website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121