Colonial Williamsburg®

History.org: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

CW Foundation navigation

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger

June 10, 2008

CW's interactive family programs invite youngsters to learn what life was like on the eve of the American Revolution

“A Kid’s Summer Program” offers a wide range of programs for the budding revolutionary. Young guests to Colonial Williamsburg can learn how families lived on the eve of the American Revolution. Running June 16-Aug. 24, 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 turbulent political period before the Revolutionary War. Finally, “Citizens at War: Life is Hard” takes participants 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 select 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 may 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. (Open daily, weather permitting)
  • Wythe House-George Wythe, Quiet Patriot and Builder of a Nation. 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.” From 2:30-4:30 p.m., meet with Lydia, the cook to the Wythe family, and discover how, black and white, enslaved and free, all participate in building a nation.
  • 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 endure recent troubles.
  • 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. Experience daily activities of agriculture, gardening, carpentry and livestock, including chickens, oxen and horses. 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.

    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. (Open daily, 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.” From 2-4:30 p.m., 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 endure recent troubles.
  • 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 help. Stop by and see what chores need to be accomplished. (Open daily, 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.” From 2-4:30 p.m., 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. (Closed Wednesdays)
  • Geddy House-Silver and Sacrifice. 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)
  • Powell House-Benjamin Powell, Through the War. Benjamin Powell 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 Mrs. Powell 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)

    “A Kid’s Summer Program” is enhanced by special programs and activities. New programs offered this year include Get Revved! Revolutionary City for Young Patriots. Families meet with a person of the past and find out how to be a part of Revolutionary City. There are special scenes everyday just for families. The program is held daily at 10:30 a.m. at the Coffeehouse backyard.

    Two orientation programs help families get the most out of their visit. KAPOW!-Kid’s and Parents Orientation Walk start guests’ visits off with a bang! There’s a lot to do so let us make it easier for you. 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. The program is held at 10 and 11:30 a.m. daily at the Greenhow Lumber House Ticket Office. Too late for KAPOW!? Check out OH,WOW! Orientation Hangout, Williamsburg Our Way and find out where and how to enjoy all the sights and activities especially for families. To get started, you can try putting a bucket together, practice writing on a slate or give a toy or game a try. This program is offered 2-3:30 p.m. daily at the Greenhow Lumber House Ticket Office.

    Guests can get to know the Nation Builders behind the American Revolution during Meet a Nation Builder: Anne Wager. Meet the mistress of the Bray School for Negro Children and learn about her hopes and aspirations for her scholars’ academic achievements at 1-2 p.m. Mondays at the Mary Stith House.

    Additional activities that are back by popular demand include:

  • 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 share some of the arts and mysteries of their trades providing an exclusive interactive experience to prospective “apprentices.” You receive a bag with descriptions of the trades you visit, along with a marbled paper cover to bring them all together. Each trade you visit provides you with a memento to take home. At the end of the tour you will have what you need to decide what trade you want to pursue. Tickets cost $15 for adults and children age 6 and over and $7.50 for children under 6, in addition to any Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket. All children must be accompanied by an adult. See ticket for starting location. 9:15, 9:30 and 9:45 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • 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 receive a bag with descriptions of the trades they visited, along with a marbled paper cover to bring them all together. Tickets cost $15 for adults and children age 6 and over and $7.50 for children under 6, in addition to any Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket. All children must be accompanied by an adult. See ticket for starting location. 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Magazine-A Hub of Military Activity. Stop by the Magazine and discover what goes on in the army as the nation prepares for, enters and experiences the War for Independence. 2-3:30 p.m. daily.
  • Dancing at Home-Join in a dance lesson and learn how to be in step with your friends in the 1700s. June 23-Aug. 14.
  • 2:30 and 3 p.m. Mondays at the Mary Stith House;
  • 2-3:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Geddy House during tours;
  • 2, 2:30 and 3 p.m. Wednesdays at the Raleigh Tavern; and
  • 2-3:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Powell House during tours.
  • Delightful Diversions for Families-A different program every day. You are welcome in every way. 2:30 and 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Charlton Coffeehouse. (Weather permitting)
  • Work and Play, All in A Day-Join us for a special tour at the James Geddy House and discover what kinds of work and play make up the day for the silversmith’s children. 9-11 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays every 15 minutes. (Space is limited.)

    A Colonial Williamsburg ticket provides access to 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 – 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 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 www.history.org.

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121



  • Footer