February 10, 2014
This week’s Black History Month events include special programs in the Historic Area and the DeWitt Wallace Museum. In addition, President’s Day weekend programs will highlight early presidents’ views on slavery. Here are some of this week’s events. Check our calendar for new and updated information.
African American Artist Tours: Take a guided tour of the DeWitt Wallace Museum’s collection of 18th- and 19th-century folk art created by African Americans and explore their cultural heritage. Tours will take place Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:30-11:15 a.m.
Princes Without a Palace: Learn about enslaved African nobility in colonial Virginia on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at the DeWitt Wallace Museum’s Hennage Auditorium.
Harsh World, This World: Classrooms can explore the realities of slavery by learning traditional proverbs from Colonial times. This Electronic Field Trip will broadcast at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday.
His Chosen Master: Meet Bristol, a slave whose late master’s will determined that Bristol should choose a new master for himself. Bristol will discuss his decision this Thursday at the Mary Stith House from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
Duty and Faith: Meet Robert Carter III, a wealthy planter who attempted to free his nearly 500 slaves after he converted to evangelical Christianity. Robert will speak this Thursday at the Raleigh Tavern at 1 p.m.
Daniel’s Dilemma: Meet Daniel, an enslaved foreman whose responsibilities as a plantation supervisor conflict with his allegiance to the enslaved community. Daniel will share his story this Friday at 10:30, 11, and 11:30 a.m. at the Mary Stith Shop.
God Save the King: Joe and Dick, two runaway slaves, will speak about their quest for freedom this Saturday at the Public Gaol at 10:15, 10:45, and 11:15 a.m.
The Great Men in Williamsburg: This tour, beginning at the House of Burgesses and ending in the General Court, will allow visitors to hear George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison speak on their experiences in Williamsburg. Come hear their stories this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.
The Examination of Joe and Dick: Watch the trial of Joe and Dick, two runaway slaves, this Saturday at the Courthouse at 1, 1:45, or 2:30 p.m.
“Wolf by the Ear- Thomas Jefferson and the Pursuit of Freedom”: Join Thomas Jefferson in 1820, as waits to hear news of Missouri joining the Union as either a free or slave state. Jefferson will explain why this decision was such a crucial one for America’s future this Saturday at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at the DeWitt Wallace Museum’s Hennage Auditorium.
– Claire Weaver
January 28, 2014
Volunteers are hard at work recreating a wedding garment for the spring wedding re-enactment between Pocahontas and John Rolfe at Historic Jamestowne. They are embroidering the recreation of a special jacket that she is believed to have worn.
“I have about 50 volunteers so far,” said Brenda Rosseau, manager of the costume design center, “but I just sent out 60 more packets.” The packets are small swatches of linen that are sent out to people who want to volunteer their embroidery skills for the project. They are asked to send back their sample embroidery swatch as an “audition” for the project.
Volunteers come in to the costume design center at Colonial Williamsburg and work on frames, which are stretched linen panels with drawings of the outlined design to be embroidered. Eventually, five frames will be in the works, with two to three embroiderers working around each one.
The designs are from a 17th-century book depicting small plants and animals that would have been known in eastern Virginia at that time. The embroidery and sewing would have been done in the homes of the local English women, rather than in a millinery shop.
“They did have access to linen and silk,” said Rosseau. “If you look at the original jacket, you can see that there were a lot of different hands involved in the project. I like it because it has a human touch.”
The completed costume will belong to Historic Jamestown and will remain in its collection.
Volunteer embroiderers of all skill levels are invited to contact Julie Zellers-Frederick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-856-1259.
– Photo, story by Karen Gonzalez
Listen to the podcast Marrying Pocahontas
More about the Pocahontas wedding jacket
January 15, 2014
Colonial Williamsburg’s latest Electronic Field Trip, “The Amazing Trade Shop Math Race,” premieres Jan.16.
Electronic Field Trips (EFT) are Emmy-Award winning, live Internet events and television broadcasts for fourth through eighth grades. The program is designed so that classrooms around the world can experience interactive history lessons from Colonial Williamsburg.
In “The Amazing Trade Shop Math Race,” Colonial Williamsburg’s tradespeople help two teams of students race against the clock to help the Continental Army. Quirky “Professor Eddie” helps students use their math skills to make shirts, bread, cartridge boxes and more.
“The challenge before The Amazing Trade Shop Math Race design team was to create a fast-paced, zany, history based, math skills competition utilizing Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Trades,” said Abigail Schumann, director/producer of the latest EFT.
“Associate Producers Leslie Doiron Clark, Annie Lewis and Jen Garrott rose to that challenge, working hand in hand with representatives from five participating trades, military programs, and an expert on colonial surveying. All of the challenges were reviewed for math content by Rose Burwell, a local teacher and math specialist, who will also appear on air during the live broadcast.”
Schumann said the Amazing Trade Shop Math Race is designed to reinforce math-based standards of learning for grades 4 through 8 while illustrating the volume and variety of work necessary to supply the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
Students from local schools appear in the program; they were selected during an audition last year.
Electronic Field Trips — which are broadcast monthly during the school year — cover civics and history topics, including the Bill of Rights, the three branches of government, 18th-century trades and the Continental Army, the complicated relationships between slaves and their masters, Civil War ironclads, and the War of 1812.
Broadcasts air at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on participating public broadcasting stations and cable channels. For the first time, tomorrow’s broadcast is being offered via web-streaming for free. Click here to view the web-streaming broadcast.
– Karen Gonzalez
Learn more about Electronic Field Trips
Video: What’s an EFT?
See the schedule
View the broadcaster list
Subscribe to Electronic Field Trips
December 30, 2013
Mounting evidence points to the location of Virginia’s first school for the education of black children in an overlooked 18th-century Williamsburg structure. Relocated from its original footings and concealed by subsequent renovations, the little house at 524 Prince George Street has a big story to tell. First uncovered by William and Mary’s Professor of English Terry Meyers, growing clues shore up the theory that the Bray school may yet survive.
This week on the podcast, Staff Archaeologist Mark Kostro shares his excitement about the developing narrative. He says of the partnership with William and Mary’s Professor Terry Meyers: “When archeology is at its best is when it’s done in conjunction in tandem with archival research.”
December 11, 2013
By Claire Weaver
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is looking for actors to portray characters in its next Electronic Field Trip production, “Working Children.”
Electronic Field Trips are Colonial Williamsburg’s Emmy-winning television broadcasts designed to bring history to life in fourth- through eighth-grade classrooms. The upcoming production will tell the stories of real working children from the past.
The scriptwriters based each character on a primary source image, such as a photograph or an etching, of a child at work in the 18th through 20th centuries.
“Some of the stories are sadder than others,” says co-producer Leslie Clark. “Some of the children are being exploited for factory labor. Others help their mothers complete piecework at home. There are also slaves.”
For each story, the scriptwriters begin with information that is known about these children, and then fill in the gaps with appropriate historical fiction. Together, the child labor stories form an anthology that is tied together by the narration of Lydia, the 12-year-old street vendor.
The filming will take place in February and March, in and around Williamsburg. Each character’s story will take one to two days to film.
The production needs African American, Hispanic and Caucasian children ages 5 to 18 or 19 years old. Those who wish to audition should call Leslie Clark at 757-565-8432 or email her at email@example.com.
Auditions will take place Dec. 13-14 in the auditorium at Colonial Williamsburg’s Bruton Heights School offices, and will involve reading from the desired character’s script. Registration will be accepted up until auditions start, provided there are still audition spots open. All auditions require an appointment.
Claire Weaver is a Williamsburg-based writer.
Learn more about Electronic Field Trips:
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.