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MAY 2, 2011


"The Monstrous Absurdity"

One of the defining moments of the American Revolution was Williamsburg's Gunpowder Incident of 1775. Before dawn on April 21, 1775, British marines, acting on orders from Royal Governor Lord Dunmore, removed the colonists' gunpowder from the Magazine. The next morning, when residents of Virginia's 18th-century capital discovered that the gunpowder was missing, they took to the streets and threatened retaliation against the governor. The series of events surrounding the removal of the powder has become known as the Gunpowder Incident.

Primary Source of the Month

Williamsburg Magazine.
Williamsburg Magazine. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Buildings can also be primary sources. They can tell stories about their purpose, location, and the people who used it. The history of the Magazine in Williamsburg has many twists and turns—perhaps most famously, its involvement in the Gunpowder Incident of 1775.

A More Perfect Union EFT
The Next Electronic Field Trip
is A More Perfect Union
October 13, 2011

Downloadable American History
Lesson Plans from ABC-CLIO
and Colonial Williamsburg

Teaching News

Looking for Funding Resources for Electronic Field Trips?
If you are searching for federal funding sources to help purchase Electronic Field Trips we can help. Download the helpful "Federal Funding Resources Chart" from our website. The Electronic Field Trips Series is a unique distance learning content experience that blends media and downloadable print (PDF) resources for your classroom! Don't miss out on this great opportunity!

New Interactive George Washington Portrait
A new and improved interactive version of Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of George Washington has joined the Kids Zone! Discover the symbols hidden in this famous American portrait and decode their meanings. Also compatible with iPad and iPhone.

May Podcasts
May Podcasts
05/02: Immortal Bricks and Mortar
(podcast and vodcast)
05/09: Women in Wartime
05/16: What Makes a Good President?
05/23: Making History Live
05/30: Pirates of the Past

The Idea of America
The Idea of America
A digital American history program that inspires and prepares high school students for active citizenship, developed by Colonial Williamsburg and distributed by Pearson Education.


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Colonial Williamsburg for Teachers


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2011–2012 Electronic Field Trip Scholarships


Teaching Strategy: Perspectives on the Gunpowder Incident

History can be described as a series of individual choices coming together to create events. In this lesson, students will examine the Gunpowder Incident from the perspectives of five different historical characters. They will discuss their characters' actions in small groups, and then present their characters' point of view to the class and take notes on each others' presentations. Those notes will be used to help students as they draw comic strips depicting what they think really motivated the Gunpowder Incident.

Colonial Williamsburg Teaching Resources for Your Classroom

2011–2012 Teaching Resources Catalog

Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of quality instructional materials about American history topics, including:

  • Story of a Patriot (DVD)
  • Soldier's Haversack (Hands-on History Kit)
  • Life in the Continental Army (Lesson Unit)

Check out our special offers!

Kids Zone: History, Games & Fun
Games, activities, and resources about life in colonial America.

2010 Distance Learning Award
21st Century Award
for Best Practices in Distance Learning, preK–12
United States Distance Learning Association, 2010

Finalist, Distinguished Achievement Award, Association of Educational Publishers, 2011

Quotation of the Month

"The monstrous absurdity that the Governor can deprive the people of the necessary means of defense at a time when the colony is actually threatened with an insurrection of their slaves ...has worked up the passions of the people there almost to a frenzy."

Dunmore's justification for the incident, mocked in the June 6 edition of the South Carolina Gazette

Reminder to EFT subscribers:

The 2010-2011 Electronic Field Trip materials will be removed from the website on August 31 to make way for our exciting new season! Please download or print any teacher and student materials you may need.

The Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trip Series is supported in part
by the William and Gretchen Kimball Young Patriots Fund.

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