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April 5, 2013

“The Industrious Tradesmen” Profiles 18th-century Small Business Owners

In the electronic field trip, “The Industrious Tradesmen,” Colonial Williamsburg introduces three young journeymen fresh from their apprenticeships in trades and business as they discover how skill, opportunity and war impact their careers. A changing economy and war disrupt their dreams with increased prices and lower demand for goods, but war also created opportunities they had not considered.

“The Industrious Tradesmen” tells the story of how America’s colonial heritage of self- sufficiency and skilled craftsmanship formed the basis of the principle of entrepreneurship and a free market economy. Students learn how women and slaves in the trades fit into the economy and discover how one young man believes he is abandoning his lifelong dream of working in the trade he loves to join the army, only to learn his trade is exactly what the army needs in time of war.

Internet activities for “The Industrious Tradesmen” extend students’ understanding of the hardships and responsibilities of learning a trade and running a business. The program’s website includes comprehensive lesson plans, a glossary, suggested Web links and a bibliography. Students can take a quiz to learn what trade would best fit their personality and interests and what trades were most common for women in the 18th century. Teacher resources provide tools for teachers to help students make the distinction between working and owning a business.

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 or ask questions via email or phone 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.

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.

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown