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February 29, 2008

Young guests to Museums of Colonial Williamsburg get close encounters of the whimsical kind during family programs

Want to learn about secret codes used during the American Revolution? Interested in seeing mermaids, griffins and unicorns? Families can participate in these spring programs and more at the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and Bassett Hall. Running from March through mid-June, most of the programs involve audience participation and include hands-on activities that make history a fun and creative experience for children.

The schedule includes:

The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum

  • Highlights from the Collection. Tour with a museum volunteer and learn about some of the masterworks on exhibit. 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Feb. 28, 29, March 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and daily March 17-June 15.
  • Focus on Furniture. Rare baroque, rococo and neo-classical furniture of the 18th and early 19th centuries are the focus of this specialized tour. 2:15 and 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Feb. 28, March 4, March 6, March 13 and March 18-June 12.
  • Art Stop: Prints & Portraits. Explore the galleries for portraits and then create a bookmark using an 18th-century image. 2:30-4 p.m. Feb. 29.
  • Toys! Life in Miniature. Explore dollhouses on exhibit and then create a dollhouse from recycled objects. 2:30-4 p.m. March 1.
  • Small Wonders­. Tour the exhibition “A Child’s Eye View” and marvel over toys including trains, dolls and dollhouses. 2:15 and 3:30 p.m. Mondays and Saturdays, March 17-June 14.
  • Ceramics Up Close. This in-depth, 45-minute look at the museum’s ceramics includes interesting stories about the craftsmen, their creations and the functions for which they were used. 2:15 and 3:30 p.m. Fridays and Sundays, March 21-June 15.
  • Art Stop: Signs of Spring. Drop in and create a note card inspired by the beauty of spring, then explore the galleries for other signs of spring. 2:30-4 p.m. April 4.
  • Toys! Mice in the Galleries. Explore the exhibit “A Child’s Eye View” and count the mice you see, then drop in and make your own marble mouse. 2:30-4 p.m. April 5.
  • Art Stop: Still Life. Drop in and create a still life inspired from museum objects, then explore the galleries for still life paintings on exhibit. 2:30-4 p.m. April 11.
  • Toys! Yikes, Snakes! Explore the galleries for snakes, then drop in and decorate your own wooden snake to take home. 2:30-4 p.m. April 12.
  • Art Stop: Memory Art. Drop in and create a memory necklace to commemorate your visit, then explore the galleries for memory art. 2:30-4 p.m. May 9.
  • Toys! Adopt a Toy Dog. Drop in and create supplies to care for your own toy mini pet. 2:30-4 p.m. May 10.
  • A World Turned Upside Down. Explore the exciting events leading to the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution and create a patriotic souvenir to take home. Geared for ages 10 and up. 10:30 a.m. March 28 and April 11 and 5 p.m. May 14.
  • Art Stop: Artist Trading Cards. Explore the galleries for symbols of the American Revolution, then drop in and create an artist trading card using 18th-century images. 2:30-4 p.m. May 16.
  • Crack the Code. Join us as we investigate secret codes used during the Revolution and see if you can “crack the code.” Geared for ages 8 and up. 3 p.m. March 26, April 9 and June 11, and 10:30 a.m. May 17.
  • Toys! A is for Animal. Explore the galleries for beasts of all sizes, then drop in and create a beast of your very own. 2:30-4 p.m. June 7.
  • Mini Masterpieces. Create an artist trading card to commemorate your visit. Space limited to 35. 10:30 a.m. June 13.
  • Toys! Trains and Carts from Garbage Parts­. Explore the galleries for vehicles, then drop in and create a vehicle from recycled objects. 2:30-4 p.m. June 14.

    The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

  • An Introduction to Folk Art. Enjoy a guided tour of whimsical and fascinating selections from Mrs. Rockefeller’s original collection for which the museum was founded. Noon and 2 p.m. daily March 17-June 15.
  • Wee Folk. Geared toward children ages 3-7 and their adult friends, this program explores the museum galleries via fun stories and activities. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays March 19-June 11.
  • Stitch Detectives. Explore textiles and express your creativity with a hands-on activity. 3 p.m. March 2, 23, 30, April 6, May 11, 18 and June 8.
  • Magical Creatures. Explore the galleries for griffins, phoenixes, mermaids, dragons and unicorns while recording your discoveries in a book to take home. 10:30 a.m. March 1, 22, 29, April 5, 12, May 10, June 7 and 14.
  • Art Adventures. Travel back in time to 1845 on this tour geared for families as you explore transportation of the day. Afterwards, create your own travel journal. 3 p.m. April 13 and May 17.
  • Drawing on George. Celebrate patriotism as you tour the galleries for flags, bald eagles, George Washington and Lady Liberty, then make a keepsake to take home. 1:30 p.m. June 7 and 14.
  • Folk Art Adventures: Memory Art. Folk art often preserves a memory from the past. Explore the galleries for examples of memory art on a guided tour, then make a memory book for your memories. 3 p.m. June 15.

    Bassett Hall

  • Abby’s Art. During this drop-in program, young guests can create a piece of folk art to take home. 1:30-3:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 4.

    A valid Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or Good Neighbor Card provides access to all museum collections, special exhibits and programs.

    Programs are subject to change without notice.

    The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Entrance to The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg is through the Public Hospital of 1773 on Francis Street between Nassau and South Henry Streets. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information and reservations call (757) 220-7724.

    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 – while historic tradespeople research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®” -- a daily dramatic live street theater presentation -- is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. 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 Web site at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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