Saturday, October 31, 2009

Williamsburg Field Trip - Part III

Friday morning we headed over to the Visitor Center for Colonial Williamsburg where we caught the bus into Williamsburg.

Our first stop was the Governor's Palace, where Lord Dunmore served as the last Royal Governor. We had a really great docent giving the tour. He was funny and entertaining, and kept the three girls interested as we walked through the palace. I have to say the decorations left a bit to be desired. I think he had enough guns and swords on the walls to outfit half the colonial army.

When Lord and Lady Dunmore evacuated the Palace they took 13 wagons of goods with him. Yet, there were enough valuables left that when Patrick Henry took possession of the palace as the first governor of Virginia, he had a "yard sale" to raise money for the Patriots.

Capital, where the House of Burgesses meet.

Emily fell in love with the Hotch Potch alphabet blocks in the Wythe house. She bought a copy of the Hotch Potch doll with her money.

Here we are visiting the Printer. DH's grandfather ran a print shop, that while a little more mechanical than this one, still required the type to be set and was similar.

After the Printer we stopped by the Blacksmith.

They were busy making pieces for the new coffee shop that will be opening next month. We enjoyed our conversation with the Blacksmith.

The girls stopped by the Bakery to get some fresh baked cookies while I took a little break. Then we walked down the the Millinery shop. Mary fell in love with a yellow and blue silk dancing dress. The shopkeeper was very interesting and explained how there were no patterns and the material was not often cut. Instead it was wrapped and folded around the lady and then sewed. I couldn't get over the white baby dresses that all children wore until they were 5 or 6. White....seriously.

We stopped by the capital building, but it was crawling with school groups and did not feel like waiting until the next tour. We will hit it on another visit.

We made one last stop at the Jail.

We learned that almost any offense could get you hung, but most offenders were not hung. Most offenders were pardoned by the priest. The only two unpardonable offenses were murder and stealing a horse.

Then we caught the bus back to the Visitor Center and our car. Time to drive to Yorktown.

We did not visit the Yorktown Battleground, but went to the Virginia Museum. similar to the Jamestown, there was a very well done indoor exhibit through the timeline of the Revolutionary War. Many stories told through journal entries.

Scout Mary
DH talking with the doctor.
I think I need one of these signs above my laundry room.
Keeping track of all the supplies.
American army encampment

From the defeat of the British army we move on to what would have been an average 1780s farm.

All too soon it was time to re-enter the 21st century and head back home.

The trip was wonderful. Almost no crowds and could generally avoid the school groups. We got to talk extensively to almost everybody we meet. And, learned quite a bit back ground information. We will go back again in a few years, when US History study rolls back around.

We are already planning next fall's trip. It will be near the time we study the Civil War and we will go back to Virginia to visit the battlefields and DH wants to go to Gettysburg, PA.



Williamsburg Field Trip - Part II

The Jamestown Settlement Museum is just down the road from the National Park. It is run by the Virginia Commonwealth as a teaching, living history museum. The first part is a gallery exhibit, no photographing, that spans the period from pre-settlement to the end of the colonial era. You can compare the three different cultures (Native, English, and African) that would come together to form the American colonies. Learn where different goods were imported from and how they got there.

After the gallery you walk out into a Native American village.

Inside they have tried to recreate living quarters as realistically as possible. And, everything is there to be touched and held. Mary tried her hand at grinding the corn for that day's meal.

Here, Mary is seeing how difficult it was to scape a deer-hide using only an oyster shell.

Katie is throwing a corn-cob dart through the hoops. A game all natives played to practice their hunting skills.

Just down the path is the dock with the three ships that brought the first Englishmen to Jamestown.

Aboard the Constance Marie, they learned just how tight the space was for the 50+ men that traveled for several weeks aboard the ship.

Officer's bed, just the right size for a ten-year-old girl.
Crews' bunks can fit a 4-year-old.

Goods carried down below.
Bathroom facilities
Helping the mate close the gunwales for the night.
Now, that is a rudder.
The ships always seem much bigger in books and movies.

From there we walked up to the Jamestown settlement.

Passing by a dugout canoe and the garden the Natives would have helped them plant.

Once inside the walls we found the armor. Child-sized, but still heavy.

Then off to explore the simple houses that the wealthy men lived in.

Basic cooking

How many men could fit into one room?

One last stop by the armory to get outfitted...

At this point we had pretty much closed down the museum for the day. It was time to drive back to Williamsburg, find some dinner and go swimming before bedtime.

Our visit to Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown will be continued in Part III.


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.