Which fiery orator supported, even helped start, the American Revolution, but refused to sign the American Constitution? Who tried and failed at two separate occupations before becoming a successful attorney (by way of a bartender)?
This weekend was kind of a giant sigh of relief for us, in more ways than one. Students enjoyed the break from classes, of course, while all of us were grateful that last weekend’s wild weather did not repeat itself!
The First Session of the NIAHD Pre-Collegiate program is particularly special because the Fourth of July falls precisely in the middle of the three-week course. Other than Philadelphia, is there any better place to celebrate this uniquely American holiday? The students braved the crowds in Colonial Williamsburg (aka CW) to see the programs offered specially today. They dressed to the nines in reds, whites, and blues, and a few students even wore period garb. A popular program in CW is the reading of the Declaration of Independence by several historical interpreters at the Capitol Building at the far end of the Historic Area.
* This was jointly written by Nichole Lidstrom and Amelia Butler.
Some of our aspiring archaeologists woke up bright and early Saturday morning to help excavate the site of Fairfield Plantation. Fairfield was a large manor house built in 1694 by one of colonial Virginia’s most esteemed families, and it survived all the way to the 1880s when it burned down. Archaeologists Dave Brown and Laura Buchannan from the Fairfield Foundation taught our students to use objects in the ground to piece together the story of the people who lived there over two hundred years of the house’s existence, especially those who didn’t make it into the historical record such as enslaved Africans. Through dirt and sweat, NIAHD students are helping to find pieces of the archaeo-historical puzzle.
On Friday, the Colonial class visited Bacon’s Castle, one of the oldest (if not the oldest) surviving houses in America. It is, as students quickly learned, neither a castle nor the abode of Nathaniel Bacon, but it is nevertheless a fascinating architectural artifact. Students learn how to ‘read’ a house, looking for the ‘ghosts’ of structures or features that no longer exist. It also displays a beautiful decorative feature known as a Flemish Gable, one of the very few left in America! (more…)
Fantasmagorical–I did not make up that word! It came from the mouth of Thomas Jefferson, or at least Bill Barker, who portrays Jefferson for Colonial Williamsburg, when he spoke to our students yesterday afternoon. Though the Oxford English Dictionary does not recognize it as a word, fantasmagorical (fantastic, amazing, magical) sums up the Pre-Collegiate Program for the past two days.