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May 28, 2004

Summertime means hands-on summer family fun in the Historic Area and Museums of CW

As families, with and without young children, embark on a vacation of a lifetime to Williamsburg this summer, Colonial Williamsburg gets children hooked on American history through fresh, interactive family programs that let young guests experience a key period in Williamsburg’s colonial history. Here in the restored capital of colonial Virginia families are swept back in time to the daily life of a bustling 18th-century city.

Feel your heart pound with pride as Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry defend your right to independence. Greet shopkeepers, slaves, patriots, outspoken loyalists and other “people of the past” as they go about their daily business.

Help tend the garden and then dine in an authentic tavern where the finest Virginia victuals are served. Share in your children’s fun as they play games with their colonial friends, lend a hand at the Governor’s Palace kitchen or experience a colonial “time-out” with a turn in the stocks and pillories. Summer 2004 hands-on programming includes:

  • Family Life at the Benjamin Powell Site – Try your hand at a variety of 18th-century household tasks in a setting where you are encouraged to help with the daily activities like gardening and food preparation. Special emphasis is given to interpreting 18th-century childhood and exploring how varied seasons and times of day affect the family’s activities.

  • Family Life at the Geddy Site – Learn about family life of an 18th-century tradesman and children’s daily activities. Hands-on activities such as 18th-century children’s games are offered outside, weather permitting. At the Geddy Foundry, just behind the Geddy House, tradesmen craft brass, bronze, silver and pewter castings.

  • Great Hopes Plantation -- This new activity-based interpretive site invites guests to watch and assist in the re-creation and evolution of an 18th-century plantation, learn about enslaved African-
    Virginians and their masters, and learn how they lived and worked together on a typical middle-sized rural Virginia farm in contrast to life in the city.

  • Military Life at the Magazine – Young guests can participate in hands-on activities and interactive discussions about 18th-century military life.

  • Rare Breeds of Livestock - See many of the new rare breeds of livestock that are similar to the type living in 18th-century Williamsburg, including Leicester Longwool sheep, American milking Devon cattle, American Cream draft horses, Canadian horses and several varieties of poultry. During the spring and early summer months, pastures around town are filled with new arrivals.

  • Brickyard – Colonial Williamsburg’s brickyard is one of several popular trade sites where young guests can get involved. Children can jump in feet first and experience how 18th-century bricks were made by assisting tradespeople tread or walk through clay to smooth it. They also may help the brickmakers clean the clay, move bricks from the table to the drying beds, stack bricks in the drying shed and dig fresh clay to fill the treading pit. Junior interpreters are onsite on a seasonal basis to help children get the most out of their visit.

  • 18th-century Dance – Costumed youth interpreters demonstrate, interpret and help guests learn about 18th-century dance in Virginia. Programs typically include dance demonstrations, third-person interpretation and visitor participation.

  • Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums – Colonial Williamsburg’s musical ambassadors – the Fifes and Drums -- perform in parades and military music programs daily.

  • Costume Rental - Children get a different perspective on history when they wear colonial costumes. Girls can don a white lawn dress with a colored sash and boys can sport a white shirt, haversack and imitation rifle. Costumes can be rented at Market Square in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area or at Williamsburg Marketplace at the Visitor Center. This program is recommended for youth between the ages of 5-10.

    Colonial Williamsburg’s family programs continue this summer with a rich and varied slate of evening programs that extend the 18th-century experience “after hours.”

  • A Grand Medley of Entertainments – This 18th-century “variety show,” a forerunner of modern circuses and vaudeville, includes music, magic, feats of strength and other amusements guaranteed to please audiences young and old.

  • Papa Said, Mama Said – Three 18th-century cultures—African, Native American and English--reflect on lessons learned through the stories told by their elders.

  • Colonial Kids on Parade - This evening program takes a look at the history of Williamsburg through the eyes of its children. Guests and their families have an opportunity to participate in this hour-long program that includes a puppet show, 18th-century dance, a fencing lesson, and African-American music and storytelling.

    The museums of Colonial Williamsburg offer families numerous hands-on summer opportunities to use their imaginations and creativity.

  • Explore Folk Art – At the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, guests are invited to explore the galleries on a tour geared just for families and create their own masterpiece to take home. 10:30 a.m. Saturdays, June 5- Aug. 28 except June 12.

  • Wee Folk -- This 45-minute program at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is geared to children ages 3-7 and their adult friends. Participants explore the galleries through stories and activities. 11 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, June 2 – Aug. 27

  • Art Stop -- Participants are encouraged to explore the galleries and create folk art and/or craft based on a daily theme during this family drop-in art program at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.

  • The Traveler’s Pocketbook – Explore the exhibit Lions & Eagles & Bulls, as you decide how to spend you 18th-century travel budget for food, lodging and entertainment. 3 p.m. Fridays, June 5 – Aug. 28.

  • Stitch Detective – Pockets, breeches, pocketbooks and samplers are just a few of the textile objects found in this program. Join us at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum for a “behind-the-scenes” look into the storage drawers of the textile gallery and then explore your creativity with a special hands-on activity. 1 – 2:30 p.m. Sundays, June 6 – Aug. 29

  • Map Quest – Journey through the award-winning exhibition “Degrees of Latitude: Maps of America” from the Colonial Williamsburg Collection and explore people, places and things as we discover what maps teach us about the past. 3 p.m. Wednesdays, June 2 – Aug. 25

    Colonial Williamsburg’s family programs vary from day to day and hour to hour. Please check the weekly guest guide, “This Week,” available at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket outlet, for program days, times and locations.

    Media Contact:
    Lorraine C. Brooks
    (757) 220-7280

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