The students have departed and the 2014 Pre-Collegiate Summer Program in Early American History has come to a close. The final week of the program for any session is a whirlwind of emotion and activity as students hustle to finish their essays and savor the last days spent with new friends. For the final blog entry of the 2014 Pre-Collegiate Program, allow us to forgo the extended explications. Images capture memories better than words. Here is the last week of the 2014 Pre-Collegiate Program as seen through the eyes of our students and RPAs. Enjoy.
“Next to good-breeding,” said [Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773)], “is genteel manners and carriage,” and the best method to acquire these is through a knowledge of dance. “Now to acquire a graceful air, you must attend to your dancing; no one can either sit, stand, or walk well, unless he dances well.” Source: Joseph E. Marks III, American Learns to Dance: A Historical Study of Dance Education in American Before 1900 (New York: Exposition Press, 1957), pp. 47-48.
Week 2 of the Pre-Collegiate Program presented several challenges for both students and staff. Students – especially those in the “Civil War” course – traveled farther than they ever imagined we would take them. And a rainy day forced students in the “Colonial” course to rearrange two day whole days, combining two trips into one. When it was all said and done, the students adapted well and still brought their A-games to every discussion. Here are some of the highlights from Week 2…
By all accounts, the first week of the Pre-Collegiate Program is the most challenging. The students find themselves in unfamiliar environments surrounded by 60+ strangers. But Pre-Col students persevere. Driven by the desire to meet new people and a willingness to let our instructors turn everything they know about American history on its head, they take it in stride and keep moving forward. The reward? New friends, new stories, and a deeper understanding of history. Here’s a look at just a few of the places they went in that first week:
Session 2 of the 2014 Pre-Collegiate Program has officially begun. But before we sent our 50 new students out in the NIAHD vans, we whet their appetites for history with an introduction to historical interpretation by Jim Holloway, Director of Museum Education Services and Operations at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. Mr. Holloway returns every session with an engaging presentation. Using photos and reproduction artifacts, he presented history in a fashion that made the students begin thinking like expert historians. Here are just a few of the highlights from Mr. Holloway’s presentation:
At last, after two weeks of referring to this group of 24 students as the “Civil War” group, they finally got to move beyond the Antebellum era and begin studying the events and places that were directly affected by the Civil War.
For two weeks, “Colonial” students have tracked early American history over the course of almost 200 years beginning with the founding of Jamestown. In the last week, they moved into the last decade of the colonial period leading to the American Revolution. Never content to focus on only one aspect of any historical event, the sites visited encouraged students to look at the Revolution from every angle.
Students have been on the move since Day 1 of the Pre-Collegiate Program. They have been to so many places and done so many new and exciting things, but it’s still hard to believe their time at W&M is almost up. With Week 3 coming a close, allow us to reflect on aspects of the Program that go beyond field trips and classroom discussion. After all, one of the things that sets the NIAHD Pre-Collegiate Program apart from others is our dedication to a comprehensive, pre-college experience.
The academic core of the NIAHD Pre-Collegiate Program is learning through experience. Readings and lectures provide background and context, discussions hone ideas; but, the students’ true understanding of history comes from seeing it for themselves. Virginia is rich with historical treasures. While many of these treasures can be found right here in Williamsburg, sometimes our students have to travel a bit further.