Sunday, March 08, 2009

Where should we go today?

How 'bout Colonial Williamsburg on this nice, 75+ degree, Spring-like day ... and how's about we bring daddy, too?String Bean stands in front of the windmill that is not open yet .. but they're working on it. We took the footpath from the visitors' center to the Colonial part ... as we crossed the bridge, we passed over time markers which brought us from the 21st century back to the 18th.Our first stop was the Courthouse where we tested the stocks (remember, stocks = stockings and that's where only feet were secured to keep the prisoner from running away).

Then to the pillory (remember, pillory = pillow; this is the punishment for gossiping, etc where you would stand with your head and hands held still while all the neighbors saw you and your shame.
The courthouse itself is a grand building. But in this building, only the minor trials (for crimes like gossiping or missing service once a month) were held. The big trials (murder, piracy and horse theft) were held down at the Capitol with the King's (or Queen's) representative, the Royal Governor, presiding over the case.

Here is the clerk's room -- the most important man in this Court. After the courthouse, we headed down to the Magazine. This is the building where all the armaments, gunpowder, and military supplies were stored. Just prior to the formal Declaration of Independence, some students from William and Mary stole some of the supplies to keep them from the Brits -- go, Tribe ( I went to W&M for grad school back in the dark ages)!
On our way out, we stopped by the guard house to talk to the craftsman working there. He was sewing bits of cowhide over the pewter buttons to cover them and keep them from staining the jackets of the works.He then explained his tools (including the mallet) to the rather inquisitive Bambam.
Our next stop was to the blacksmith's shop where the men were making nails and shutter stops.

Here the smithy is "melting" two pieces of iron together, the too-short lengths from making nails. After he melds this into one long piece, he'll continue to make nails.
What's not to find interesting ... lots of noise, heat, smoke and really cool tools? The kids would agree!Off to the printery where we saw the interpreter making copies of the Virginia Gazette that heralds the unanimous vote for independence as voted on by the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1776. He explained the type-setting, inking and printing processes.
Here, he's getting ready to ink another sheet ... a colonial form of copy machine!
A quick snack and then off to the Capitol to check that out. Here is the clock tower, showing our tour is just about to start!Inside the Capitol what we would consider the 3 branches of government were all rolled into one: the judiciary (as evidenced by this grand court room where ALL the major trials for the colony were held ... since the Virginia colony included areas as far north as present-day Minnesota and as far west as present-day Kentucky (an area that would include 10 of the current states), this was a large task. The Royal Court would "sit" 4 times a year with the Royal Governor presiding and his 12 "cabinet" members assisting. The "house of lords" (made up of the same 12 "cabinet" members appointed by the Crown) and the "house of commons" were also housed in this building, making it the home of the legislative branch; and the executive branch -- with the Royal Governor getting advice from his 12 "cabinet" members -- were also housed in this building. The Capitol was NOT where the Governor lived ... he lived about 1/2 mile down in the "palace" (which we visited back in the Fall).
Queen Anne was the reigning monarch of England when the original of this building was erected (the current building was built in the 1920s when the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation was established). Here is her portrait. Throughout the Capitol are portraits of George the 2 and his wife Caroline, and his grandson, George the 3 and his wife Charlotte.
My camera battery started acting up so we don't have photos of our visit to the jail ("gaol") with the jailer's house and actual cells from the era. The kids were fascinated by the "privies" in each cell!

Off back into the heart of CW for a lunch and then home.

A well-spent six hours in one of the best learning sites we've visited this year. All enjoyed the "field trip" ... even String Bean's new Build-a-Bear rabbit, Clare. AND we got to see our first blooming daffodils of the season ... looks like Spring is headed our way.

Colonial Williamsburg runs various "home educator" days, weeks, and events throughout the year. We were going to come down last week (for String Bean's birthday), but yucky weather was forecast (and materialized) so we're glad we waited. What a day ... and only 2:15 from our house!

2 comments:

Anne (aussieannie) said...

They are great photos Mary! I really enjoyed them all, you must have had a wonderful time!

Carole in Wales said...

I just loved Colonial Williamsburg as did my dd (her American Girl doll is Felicity). I really enjoyed your photos, Mary. Now I want to return even more than before!