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June 17, 2005

Capture the American Spirit during Colonial Williamsburg's Summer Coolers

Williamsburg saw the birth of a nation in the 18th century. The principles of freedom and democracy, and their relevance in 21st-century America, are reflected in the 2005 Colonial Williamsburg Summer Cooler series. Guests are invited to discover the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, meet the residents who lived in Williamsburg on the eve of the American Revolution and escape the heat from June 13 through Labor Day. Programs will be held in the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum’s Hennage Auditorium and include:

  • Saving the National Treasures, 1 and 4 p.m. Mondays June 27 through Aug. 29. This videotaped program from the PBS science series, NOVA, gives the audience a fascinating glimpse of cutting-edge preservation technology of America’s priceless charters of freedom--the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It also explores the background and meaning of these documents, particularly the Declaration of Independence, whose significance changed over time from a simple catalog of grievances against the English king to a stirring proclamation of the rights of all people. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition, “Principles of Freedom: The Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution.” 1 hour.
  • Whoop and Holler, 2 and 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Aug. 30 (except June 28 and July 5). The banjo, long associated with country music and bluegrass, is actually an immigrant to America from Africa. It was in Virginia, however, that it began to evolve from an instrument played by slaves into the banjo familiar to modern audiences. This program replicates the sounds of the banjo that early Virginians would have heard. Musician and historian Carson Hudson performs historical 19th-century minstrel banjo music from the years before the Civil War, demonstrating the instrument's changing sound from African-American slaves to the early circus, minstrel stage and parlor. 1 hour.
  • Created Equal but Treated Differently, 4 p.m. Wednesdays July 6 through Aug. 31. Lydia Broadnax, a domestic slave in the 18th-century household of George Wythe, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, reflects on her life. Meet Lydia as she works as a cook during the years when the Wythe household was filled with revolutionary talk. Find out how she felt about being freed in 1787 by Wythe, and then experience the frustration of her final years when she was not permitted to testify at Wythe’s murder trial simply because she was black and the accused white. 45 minutes.
  • The Spirit of Liberty, 4 p.m. Thursdays June 23 through Sept. 1. Meet former slave Gowan Pamphlet in 1793 when he was granted his freedom. Pamphlet was a slave belonging to Jane Vobe, the operator of the King's Arms Tavern, and he was one of the founders of the African-American Congregation in Williamsburg, today known as the First Baptist Church of Williamsburg. He offers his perspective on slavery, religion and freedom as he recalls events of the year 1776. 45 minutes.
  • Women in Trades, 3:30 p.m. Fridays July 1 through Sept. 2. Join some of the talented women from Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Trades Department for a discussion of the challenges they face as women pursuing what are often seen as men’s trades. 45 minutes. Or The Adventures of Margaret Brodie Mathews, 3:30 p.m. Fridays July 1 through Sept. 2. Join Janea Whitacre, journey woman and supervisor of Colonial Williamsburg’s Fashion Trades, as she spans two centuries to share the research, clothing and trade experience that enables her to tell the story of Margaret Brodie Matthews, who worked as a mantua-maker in 18th-century Williamsburg, married a British spy and was caught in the midst of the Revolution. 1 hour.
  • Conversation for Young Patriots, 2 p.m. Saturdays June 25 through Sept. 3. Meet Patrick Henry or Thomas Jefferson. They will discuss their childhood and children will have the opportunity to ask questions. This program requires a free reservation, which is available at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket location including the Museum Shop. 45 minutes.
  • A Conversation with a Founding Father, 3:30 p.m. Saturdays June 25 through Sept. 3. Talk with Patrick Henry or Thomas Jefferson about issues that transcend time. This program requires a free reservation, which is available at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket location including the Museum Shop. 45 minutes.

    In addition, enjoy some special concerts during the summer in the Hennage Auditorium:

  • Echoes of Christmastide, 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday, June 26. Cool off with a touch of Christmas at the start of summer. The Colonial Singers of Williamsburg invite you to celebrate the release of their new Christmas CD, “Echoes of Christmastide,” and enjoy a sampling of 18th-century catches, glees, part-songs and a few seasonal favorites sure to bring back treasured memories of the holidays and family gatherings. The Colonial Singers are sopranos Judy Vogan Boone and Ellen Petko Fischer, alto Norma Champion, tenor Don Willhoitte and baritone Ryan Fletcher. 45 minutes.
  • The Art of Military Music, 3 and 5 p.m. Sunday, July 3. Barry Bauguess and his New Bern, N.C.-based Baroque trumpeters are joined by Colonial Williamsburg’s Drum Major Lance Pedigo for a special program highlighting military signal instruments interspersed with classical repertoire from the 16th through 18th centuries, utilizing trumpets, kettledrums, and fifes and drums. This program requires a free reservation, which is available at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket location including the Museum Shop. 1 hour.
  • Sounding Strings, 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 5. Join Celtic harpist Ardie Boggs for a relaxing concert that traces the history of the Celtic harp and the Celtic people. Learn how their lack of freedom resulted in many of them coming to America to gain the freedom they so desired. 1 hour.

    Programs are included in museum admission. Reservations are needed where indicated. For more information, call (757) 220-7724.

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121



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