November 18, 2013
In a reconstructed town famous for 88 original 18th-century structures, the hint of the discovery of an overlooked colonial building is a powerful temptation for historians and archaeologists alike at Colonial Williamsburg.
At 524 Prince George Street, a new mystery is unfolding as architects, archaeologists, historians and one mightily curious English professor pull back the layers that time has laid over the long-forgotten Dudley Digges house.
Cloaked in years of renovations and additions and severed from its original context, the building holds tantalizing tales of a colonial structure. The historic record begins to suggest that the home — remarkable enough in its survival alone — may have been one location of the Bray School, a school for the education of black children.
Calling the school a “bright spot in what is an otherwise complicated and painful history,” The College of William & Mary’s Professor Terry Meyers details how the little Bray school might provide a tiny drop of absolution for the many sins committed during antebellum pro-slavery zeal.
November 11, 2013
After years of research, archaeology and architecture, the vision of Anderson’s Armoury is finally realized. A complex of buildings, the Armoury site changes the face of the Revolutionary City and opens a new narrative of the 18th-century town: a story of industry.
Newly reconstructed buildings speak of purpose-built architecture, and the needs of the men who were their sooty denizens. From structures and construction, to workmen, trades and foodways, each aspect shows revolutionary Williamsburg in a new light and examines the war from a fresh perspective.
Listen to the podcast this week as Blacksmith Ken Schwarz and Garland Wood reflect on a project completed and a vision fulfilled.
November 4, 2013
Most Americans are stumped when it comes to listing the three branches of government that keep our nation’s powers in balance. Can you name them?
Balance of Power, an Electronic Field Trip premiering Thursday, Nov. 7, answers the question with a memorable metaphor executed in three acts. A baseball game played across the ages illustrates the powers in play and the umpire who keeps them in check. Will Thomas Jefferson score a run? Will John Adams steal home? The characters help present governmental balance of power in a way that will help viewers learn an unforgettable piece of history.
This week on the podcast, one of the show’s producers, Cash Arehart, joins host Harmony Hunter to discuss the playful new show.
October 28, 2013
October 21, 2013
A joint project between Colonial Williamsburg and the Museum of the American Revolution undertakes the reconstruction of one of the war’s most ubiquitous, yet most ephemeral artifacts: a camp tent.
No ordinary tent, this marquis was home, office and sanctuary in the field for General George Washington during eight years of the Revolution. The project’s leaders refer to the suite of tents as “The First Oval Office.”
Listen this week as Mark Hutter, supervising tailor at Colonial Williamsburg, and Scott Stephenson, director of collections and interpretation at The Museum of the American Revolution, explain what an examination of Washington’s life under canvas can teach us about the war and the man himself.
October 14, 2013
War affected those in the Colonial era in many more everyday ways than it affects people today. For example, shortages of food and goods reached critical proportions. Items popular with colonists — sugar, rum, gunpowder, textiles, tea and china — were hard to find.
But, as historian Lou Powers explains, colonial Americans became quite creative in finding substitutions for popular goods — including “upcycling” and recycling, as we would call it today.
Join host Harmony Hunter as she talks with Powers about wartime shortages and American ingenuity in this week’s podcast, Wartime Deprivations.