As part of the Halloween fun, you and your family can create your own creatures to take home at our Art Museums on Oct. 30 – 31. All you need is your Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or pass!
“Creep, Crawly, Create”
Oct. 30 – 31
2:45 – 4:15 p.m.
In the exhibition, “Birds, Bugs and Blooms: Observing the Natural World in the 18th Century,” young guests can experience flora and fauna that the British saw for the first time when they stepped into the New World.
That’s where Christina Westenberger, Assistant Manager of Museum Education at the Art Museums, received her inspiration for the family program, “Creepy, Crawly, Create.”
During this program, your family can decorate wooden snakes or color copies of 18th-century prints of moths or butterflies. Your children are encouraged to go where their imaginations take them and make their own creepy creations to take home!
“Wild, Weird and Spooky”
Colonial bathroom habits are one of the topics of the “Wild, Weird and Spooky” tour. The chamber pot or bourdaloue was made for women. “It gives us a chance to talk about 18th-century lifestyles,” Christina said. “Most people lived in two-room houses. Everyone in that house knew what was going on. Today, we go to the bathroom in a room with a door. In terms of the 18th century, you probably went to the bathroom in front of everybody.”
Christina draws on the “Birds, Bugs and Blooms” for another artifact in the “Wild, Weird and Spooky” tour. A letter between friends tells the tale of discovery in the New World. John Frere, who lived in England, exchanged correspondence with John Norton in Yorktown. Frere asked Norton for two things from the colonies—seeds from new plants and trees and birds. Frere gives specific instructions on how to preserve the dead birds for transport back to England.
The “In Memoriam” tour explores mourning customs and view examples of mourning jewelry, art and textiles. Christina talks about mourning rings. One gentleman who passed away arranged to give mourning rings to his pallbearers who “performed the last rite of friendship.”
A handkerchief on display depicts George Washington on his deathbed, with his wife Martha by his side and a doctor attending him. Angelika Kauffman painted a picture called “Fame Decorating Shakespeare’s Tomb,” which became the inspiration for mourning art and became really popular here in America after the death of George Washington. “When people saw the image of George Washington, they wondered if a prominent citizen or even a family member could be honored with this type of art,” Christina said.
Guests are also invited to see these spine-tingling programs that weekend:
- “Murder or Misfortune? The Tragic Death of Robert Routledge,” 5 p.m., Oct. 30, Hennage Auditorium. In June 1766, Virginia merchant Robert Routledge was stabbed in public by Colonel John Chiswell. Or was he? Was it murder or was it a tragic misfortune? Join historian Carson Hudson for an interactive recreation of the most controversial crime in 18th-century Virginia.
- “Things that Go Bump in the Night” Concert, 4 p.m., Oct. 31, Hennage Auditorium. Join Henley Fork for a spooky Halloween concert of songs and tales about ghosts, hauntings, and other uncanny happenings from the time of Jamestown to the present day.
- “Witchcraft in Colonial Virginia,” 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30 – 31, Hennage Auditorium. Historian Carson Hudson discusses how colonial Virginians shared a common belief in the supernatural and the existence of witches with their northern neighbors. Throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries, they conducted several witchcraft inquiries. Copies of his book, “These Detestable Slaves of the Devill,” will be available in the Museum Store with a book signing to follow.
Welcome Penna Rogers to the Making History Team!
Penna has worked at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for 19 years. As editor for the Colonial Williamsburg News, Retiree News and the Intranet, she has spent much of her career getting to know employees who make the Foundation run. From the Historic Area to hospitality and museums to products, she has enjoyed telling the stories of employees who keep guests returning to Colonial Williamsburg. Now she can add blogger to her list of accomplishments.
She lives with her husband Jerry and their cat in Surry County on his family’s Century Farm, a designation given to farms that have stayed in a family 100 years.