2016 Session 1: Week 2 Recap

As the second week of NIAHD comes to a close, we of the blogosphere write to give you a short update on the exciting adventures the students had over the past week.

EthanThe rain did not deter the NIAHD kids from venturing out on July 4th and many spent their time enjoying the events put on by Colonial Williamsburg. While some students took the opportunity to explore the various tradesmen shops, others stood by and watched the tug-of-war game on Duke of Gloucester Street or spoke with the likes of the Marquis de Lafayette, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. The annual showing of 1776 was still a hit and we would not be surprised if those songs are stuck in the students’ heads for months (if not years) to come. The rain did not stop a spectacular fireworks display from rounding out the evening.

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This week the Colonial students went to sites that mostly concerned class and commerce. On Tuesday the students stopped at two sites: Christ Church—where they talked about bricks on the outside and social structure on the inside—and the ruins of Rosewell—one of the grandest homes in all of colonial Virginia that burned down in 1916. Wednesday and Friday brought the students to two other grand plantation homes situated on the James River—Westover Plantation (dated circa 1750) and Shirley Plantation (established in 1613). Despite the heat, the students enjoyed exploring the grounds and the outbuildings, including a five-person outhouse! The rest of the week’s fieldtrips involved multiple trips to Colonial Williamsburg, where the students ran into our friend TJ. He signed multiple pocket Constitutions and Declarations and referred to our intrepid student travelers as his “old friends.

While the Colonial students took many trips to Colonial Williamsburg, the Civil War students took multiple trips to Richmond to look at sites dealing with the theme of Southern Honor. The students visited the homes of prominent lawyers of the early Federalist period, Supreme Court Justice John Marshall and John Wickham, where they got into a discussion about potential similarities between the current election and the election of 1800. On Wednesday the students took a walk along the canals in Richmond, visited the Tredegar Iron Works, and the Lumpkin Slave Jail to discuss the industrialized South and its economic ties to slavery. While at the canal, the students got the chance to get into a replica of a box that a slave shipped himself to freedom in to better understand the lengths that individuals took to secure their humanity. On Thursday the students adventured to Somerset Plantation in North Carolina where they heard a tour that discussed all the different forms of power possessed by the slavocracy. After a short ferry trip on Friday, the students visited some of the original slave cabins on the grounds of Bacon’s Castle in Gloucester County.

Other highlights of the week included a game of 18th century cricket (in full costume!) and a talk from the Thomas Jefferson interpreter, Bill Barker. Thomas Jefferson entranced the students for over an hour conversing about topics ranging from his school days to his love-hate relationship with the Federalists (thanks Hamilton! for reminding us about how Burr was not “in the room where it happened). Even if students tried to trip Mr. Jefferson up with complicated questions, he always had a well thought out answer.

Even though the final week approaches (perhaps with a tear), do not fear! We still have many exciting adventures and plans in store!

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Article contributed by Emma Rothberg

Published in: on July 10, 2016 at 12:56 pm Comments (0)