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May 13, 2008

CW receives Gold Award from American Association of Museums for interactive role-playing game

The American Association of Museums has awarded its 2008 Gold “MUSE” Award in the Games category to Colonial Williamsburg’s “Betwixt Folly and Fate,” a role-playing game in the new three-disc DVD/CD ROM set “A Day in the Life.” The game is an immersive 3-D role-playing experience that places players in 1774 Williamsburg as one of four characters: an enslaved house servant, a free black carpenter, a midwife’s assistant or a young gentleman.

“Colonial Williamsburg seems to have looked deeply into the essence of its mission,” said the judges in their review of the game. “It has parlayed its mastery of storytelling to bring players right into some of the stories it finds most profound. And those stories are likely to stay with its players long after the game is done. The game makes the player think and feel and wonder as he or she assumes the role of a character in the Williamsburg of 1774. Some judges were engaged and emotionally affected, and some spent hours assuming new roles or exploring the ramifications of alternate choices…”

In each role, players face the challenges of daily life in early America, while learning about the social classes and customs of the time. As players pursue the goals of the characters, they explore a large portion of 18th-century Williamsburg roaming the streets and meeting people in shops, taverns, the courthouse and homes. The town is populated with dozens of characters, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. Players may also bargain for goods with shopkeepers and try their hands at colonial games. “Betwixt Folly and Fate” is part of “A Day in the Life,” a DVD/CD ROM set featuring various stories of 18th-century Williamsburg residents for students in grades four through eight.

Museum professionals across the country judge the entries, which came from museums in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. The MUSE Awards recognize excellence in all varieties of media programs produced by or for museums.

As the nation’s leading educational resource for early American history, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation uses the Internet and interactive television technology to bring the 18th century to life for more than one million students throughout the United States each year. Colonial Williamsburg produces seven electronic field trips each school year on a wide range of American history topics and helps teachers make history exciting and engaging for students through its Teacher Institute, a weeklong onsite history immersion program held every summer for 19 years. Colonial Williamsburg’s content-rich main Web site,, provides extensive educational materials, children’s activities and teacher resources. Colonial Williamsburg also publishes a host of classroom lesions, media applications, hands-on history kits, books, music and performance CDs and DVDs.

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 trades people 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:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280