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May 29, 2007

CW's interactive family programs allow young guests to learn what life was like on the eve of the American Revolution

Want to learn a trade while your countrymen fight for independence? Interested in helping the colonial gardeners with their crops? Guests to Colonial Williamsburg can learn about this and more during the educational programs offered through “A Kid’s Summer Program.” Running June 18 through Aug. 27, the programs are offered seven days a week and take place in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

The programs center around three main themes. “Nation Builders: We the People” focuses on the lives of Williamsburg’s colonial residents, from slaves to silversmiths to educated politicians. The second theme, “The Collapse of the Royal Government: Life Goes On,” explores the everyday occurrences in the lives of people during this confusing political period before the Revolutionary War. Finally, “Citizens at War: Life is Hard” takes you on a journey through what life was like during the Revolutionary War, demonstrating its effects on the daily lives of Williamsburg’s residents. Also offered on certain days are special programs and activities that supplement the programs of the three themes.

The programs run on specific days, and a schedule of events can be obtained in the Visitor Center. The schedule includes:
Nation Builders: We the People (Mondays)

  • Colonial Garden-From Founding Fathers to enslaved African Virginians, everyone needs to know something about gardening. Stop by and see what’s up in the garden, then lend a hand with the work. (Weather permitting)
  • Wythe House-George Wythe, Quiet Patriot and Man of Science. George Wythe was a lawyer, teacher, patriot and lifelong learner. His finest student, Thomas Jefferson said of him, “No man ever left behind him a character more venerated than George Wythe.” He was one of two members of the committee who designed the state seal of Virginia, which reads “Sic Semper Tyrannis” or “Thus Ever to Tyrants.” Come and design your own seal at the home of this Nation Builder.
  • Geddy House-Silver and Success. James Geddy is a silversmith with a large family. Experience his “sterling” family and successful business, and find out how they are affected by the recent troubles.
  • Magazine-A Hub of Military Activity. A quiet place in times of peace, the Magazine is very busy as the conflict builds. Are you prepared for the war? (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  • Great Hopes Plantation-Land and Slaves. Most free and enslaved families in Virginia lived on small farms like the one at Great Hopes. These people are the new nation. Learn how Pompey, Molly Roberts, Sukey and other enslaved people lived and worked with their young middling masters, Benjamin and Sarah Valentine. Find out how they affect and are affected by the events taking shape in Williamsburg and beyond.

    The Collapse of the Royal Government: Life Goes On (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays)

  • Colonial Garden-From Founding Fathers to enslaved African Virginians everyone needs to know something about gardening. Stop by and see what’s up in the garden, then lend a hand with the work. (Weather permitting)
  • Wythe House-George Wythe, Quiet Patriot and Man of Science. George Wythe was a lawyer, teacher, patriot and lifelong learner. His finest student, Thomas Jefferson said of him “No man ever left behind him a character more venerated than George Wythe.” He was one of two members of the committee who designed the state seal of Virginia, which reads “Sic Semper Tyrannis” or “Thus Ever to Tyrants.” Come and design your own seal. (Closed Tuesdays)
  • Governor’s Palace Kitchen-No matter who the governor may be he still has to eat. Stop by the kitchen and see what’s likely to be on Lord Dunmore’s or Governor Henry’s dinner table.
  • Geddy House- Silver and Success. James Geddy is a silversmith with a large family. Experience his “sterling” family and successful business, and find out how they are affected by the recent troubles.)
  • Magazine-A Hub of Military Activity. A quiet place in times of peace, the Magazine is very busy as the conflict builds. Are you prepared for the war? (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  • Great Hopes Plantation-Land and Slaves. Most free and enslaved families in Virginia lived on small farms like the one at Great Hopes. Learn how Pompey, Molly Roberts, Sukey and other enslaved people lived and worked with their young middling masters, Benjamin and Sarah Valentine. Find out how they are affected by the events taking shape in Williamsburg and beyond.
  • Powell House-Benjamin Powell, From Carpenter to Gentleman. Mr. Powell is a successful builder. He even built part of his own house. How did he get where he is today and where will he be at the end of the war? Visit the Powell House and experience the rhythm of the day and the Powells at play.

    Citizens at War: Life is Hard (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays)

  • Colonial Garden-Crops don’t stop even with a war on. With so many men away fighting, the gardeners need your help. Stop by and see what chores need to be accomplished. (Weather permitting)
  • Wythe House-George Wythe, Quiet Patriot. If Wythe had accomplished nothing more than signing the Declaration of Independence and teaching Thomas Jefferson, he would have earned a place in history but his life was crowded with achievement! Wythe proposed to fight in the Revolution, but his true service remained in government. George Wythe was one of two members of the committee who designed the state seal of Virginia, which reads “Sic Semper Tyrannis” or “Thus Ever to Tyrants.” Come and design your own seal.
  • Governor’s Palace Kitchen-No matter who the governor may be, he still has to eat. Stop by the kitchen and see what’s likely to be on Lord Dunmore’s or Governor Henry’s dinner table.
  • Geddy House-A Lack of Custom. James Geddy is a silversmith with a large family. As a luxury service during a time of war and laboring under the Non-Importation Act of all British goods, James Geddy’s business falters and his profits dwindle. Discover what James Geddy must do to preserve his family in this time of crisis. (Closed Wednesdays)
  • Magazine-A Hub of Military Activity. The Magazine is quiet no more. As a center for supplies for the growing army it is very busy as the war heats up. Are you prepared for battle? (9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
  • Powell House-Benjamin Powell, Through the War. Benjamin Powell does well as he, too, becomes a citizen at war. He is named to the Williamsburg Committee of Safety and profits nicely from army contracts, building barracks and supplying wood. War and independence change his and his family’s life, but one thing must be remembered—family life goes on, no matter what. Come help with the day-to-day, season-to-season activities that must still be done.
  • Great Hopes Plantation-Duty for All. What choices did enslaved people, like Joe, have in serving the patriot or loyalist cause? In 1779, Benjamin Valentine performed his civic duty in the militia, leaving his wife, children and enslaved people behind. What role did Sarah Valentine play in protecting the home? What could the children do to help? (Closed Wednesdays)

    Special Programs and Activities

  • The Apprentice Tour-On this guided tour, visit three trade shops and decide just what you want to be when you grow up. The tradesmen and women “sell their trades,” providing an exclusive, interactive experience to prospective “apprentices.” Tickets cost $15 for adults and children age 6 and over and $7.50 for children under 6. (Offered 9:15, 9:25 and 9:35 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday starting June 20. Space is limited.)
  • The Apprentice! Goes to the Farm-A special edition of this popular tour takes young guests and their families where most of the free and enslaved population lived in Virginia before, during and after the American Revolution. At Great Hopes Plantation, there are many skills to acquire as you work the land, build your barns and tend the stock. Young guests will receive the description of the trades they experience. Tickets cost $15 for adults and children age 6 and over and $7.50 for children under 6. (Offered Fridays, July 27-Aug. 25)
  • Work and Play, All in Day-Join us for a special tour at the James Geddy House and discover what kinds of work and play make up the day of this middling family’s children. (Tuesdays, 9 to 10:30 a.m. every 15 minutes.) (Space is limited.)
  • KAPOW!-Kid’s and Parents Orientation Walk-Start your visit off with a bang! Join us for a 30-minute interactive orientation walk just for kids and their families. Get an overview of the kid-friendly sites and figure out what suits your schedule and interests. Adults must be accompanied by a child. (Offered 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Greenhow Lumber House)
  • Delightful Diversions for Families-Walk down the path and have a seat. You never know whom you may meet. The programs change from day to day. A different 20-minute program is repeated three times a day. (2, 2:30 and 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Charlton Coffeehouse)
  • Dancing at Home-Want to learn the most popular styles? Join in a dance lesson and learn how to be in step with your friends in the 1700s. The war can’t last forever and there are still things to celebrate. Make certain you can do it in style!
    2-3:30 Mondays at Geddy House;
    2-3:30 Tuesdays at the Benjamin Powell House;
    2-3:30 Wednesdays at the Wythe House; and
    2-3:30 Thursdays at the Great Hopes Plantation.
  • Kids’ Corner-There are places throughout Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area that offer games, toys and other activities geared toward children and their families. Join us 10:30 a.m.-noon Monday through Thursday for dancing in the Revolutionary City. From 2-4:30 p.m. daily, girls and boys can enjoy games and toys on Palace Green.

    A Colonial Williamsburg ticket is required to attend these programs. A separate ticket is needed where indicated.

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution 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. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at www.ColonialWilliamsburg.com.

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121



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