Making Sense of a Little Piece of Leather: Behind the Scenes with the Shoemaker’s Apprentice

Drawing shoes

Every apprentice shoemaker works his or her way through the same innocuous cardboard box. Printed on one side are the words “Protect from Freezing.” Inside, it’s filled with pieces of old shoes that date to the late 18th century.

Al Saguto, the Master of the Shop, has been using the box as a teaching device for years. This month it’s apprentice Rob Welch’s turn to draw the ancient footwear and earn a step forward on the path to journeyman shoemaker….

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A Mom’s Guide to Planning Your Colonial Williamsburg Vacation!

kids guide--pillory

Vacationing in Colonial Williamsburg is one of the greatest experiences a kid can have. I can say this as a little girl who did it and now, as a mom who does it with her own kids. I can also tell you with absolute certainty there are many, many employees you can walk up to and ask about their first time at CW. Their eyes will get big, they will smile, and they will gladly share the tales of their childhood family vacations. It is quite literally a life-changing experience….

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Riders Up! Horse Racing in 18th-Century Williamsburg

The races attracted large crowds during Publick Times and Court Days in Williamsburg.

George Washington lost four pounds playing the ponies as a 27-year old freshman legislator in Williamsburg in 1759. He wasn’t alone. Horse racing and gambling were favorite pastimes in colonial Virginia.

Large crowds turned out from Virginia’s earliest years to find out who had the fastest horse—and to bet on the outcome….

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Meet the Man with a Bold Vision for Our Coach & Livestock Department!

Paul Duke Dan

Paul Bennett has only been here a little more than six months, and already, the man with the thick English accent and deep passion for horses has launched quite a few initiatives for our Coach & Livestock department. Many are changes you’ve already seen out in the Historic Area and some will be rolling out in the coming weeks, just in time for your summer vacations!…

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A Labor of Love: Why I Appreciate the History of Midwives

KP, Nicole, and DeirdreAfter giving birth to my first child Deirdre, my obstetrician revealed that I almost died in the process. I hemorrhaged quite a bit and unbeknownst to me, when my firstborn decided to enter the world sunny-side up (babies are usually born head down), she fractured my pelvic bones. Six weeks later, I still couldn’t walk. Thanks to the amazing care of my obstetrician, Dr. Jawwad Khan (who was most certainly a midwife in a past life), I had a full recovery.

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The Art and Soul of African American Interpretation

Arthur Johnson

Back when he worked as an interpreter at Carter’s Grove, Art Johnson would intercept visitors as they crossed a bridge on the way to the mansion house. “Is anyone here related to the Burwells?” he would ask. When they acknowledged that they weren’t related to the mansion’s 18th-century occupants, Art had his opening, his chance to redirect their attention to the nearby slave quarter….

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Becoming Thomas Jefferson: My Journey Up Tom’s Mountain


I had my first Jefferson dream about two months ago. I was sitting, writing, at a cherry desk. The room was dim and I couldn’t see the entire space, but I could feel that it was small. On one dark wall was a bookshelf. A rug was on the wide planked floor. And in the corner of the room, eyes fixed on the pages of a book, was a boy. He was sitting with one leg under him and the other bent at his chest, absent-mindedly gnawing on his finger while the bulk of his attention was absorbed by whatever words were on the pages.

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Snapchat Face-Swap Kit: Founding Fathers Edition

Face Swap CollageSnapchat’s latest update allows users to face-swap with a photo from their device’s camera roll. Over the past week that’s produced a deluge of swaps with television and film star faces… but why not historical figures? And why not learn something new at the same time? Behold! Your newest Snapchat face-swap kit + reading material!…

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