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October 2, 2012

Premieres Headline Colonial Williamsburg Interactive History Programs

Colonial Williamsburg’s 17th season of Electronic Field Trips includes three premieres that employ 21st-century technology and cultural phenomenon to teach 18th-century history lessons.

“Colonial Idol” presents a talent showcase featuring 18th-century music that shaped public opinion and even changed history. The “Research Rescue Squad” works to defeat an evil mastermind by conducting solid research instead of relying on questionable sources. In “The Global Economy” puppets are used to portray an adventurous rat traveling the international trade routes of the 18th century.

The season begins Oct. 11 with a rebroadcast of “The Will of the People.” The program examines the presidential election of 1800, one of the most bitter in U.S. history, and provides a surprising lesson for a 21st-century student. Thomas Jefferson explains how negative campaigning, partisan politics and contested elections have been a part of our political system since the earliest days of the republic.

Colonial Williamsburg’s Electronic Field Trips are meticulously researched, non-partisan programs that tell the stories of our country’s founding and span a broad range of historical subjects from colonial times to the present. These distance learning programs, written and produced by Colonial Williamsburg, are created especially for grades 4–8. Electronic field trips 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.

Each electronic field trip is supported with multi-disciplinary lesson plans, interactive student resources, program scripts and other materials to help teachers make history exciting and relevant for students. These Web-based resources have been developed by teachers, historians and museum educators and address national standards for civics education and 21st-century skills as well as state standards for social studies, technology and language arts. Selected programs also correlate to additional state standards.

Students in participating schools may submit pre-recorded video questions, e-mail or phone 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. Participating schools also have continuing access to technical support and teacher tutorials.

Additional electronic field trips scheduled for broadcast in 2012-2013:

  • Emissaries of Peace – During the French and Indian War, the Cherokee people struggled to preserve their independence. In 1762, Cherokee leader Ostenaco and Virginian Henry Timberlake make a long and historic journey in search of a lasting peace. (Nov. 8)
  • Colonial Idol – (premiere) Students can vote for their favorite outstanding musical performance in an exciting talent showcase featuring 18th-century music that shaped public opinion and even changed history. (Dec. 13)
  • Research Rescue Squad – (premiere) Someone is stealing books, removing footnotes and confusing students with false information. The Research Rescue Squad saves the day as they work to defeat an evil mastermind by conducting solid research. (Jan. 17)
  • The Slave Trade – This program explores the U.S. law of 1807 that abolished the transatlantic slave trade. Viewers learn about the people involved in or influenced by this pivotal legislation – slaves, plantation owners, ship captains and crews, naval officers and antislavery activists. (Feb. 14)
  • The Global Economy – (premiere) The modern global economy is actually centuries old. Maggie the adventurous rat travels on ships using international trade routes to make her way from England to the American colonies and along the way discovers the inner workings of the 18th-century mercantile system. (March 14)
  • The Industrious Tradesmen – Journeymen fresh from their apprenticeships in trades and business learn how skill and opportunity will impact their careers. (April 11)

    For more information about electronic field trips, visit call 1-800-761-8331, or email Colonial Williamsburg’s Electronic Field Trip series is supported in part by the William and Gretchen Kimball Young Patriots Fund.

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit center for American history, citizenship and democracy, encouraging audiences at home and around the world to learn from the past. Colonial Williamsburg demonstrates its commitment to expanding its thought-provoking programming as well as its dedication to cultural and historical authenticity on-site and online through the preservation, restoration and presentation of 18th-centry Williamsburg and the study, interpretation and teaching of America’s founding principles. 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., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

    Media Contact:
    Barbara Brown
    (757) 220-7280

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