Here I am at last, in Colonial Williamsburg. I've been wanting to visit here for a long time. I knew it to be one of the premier costumed historic sites. It has certainly lived up to that reputation. They do interpret history so well here.
For those who don't know, Williamsburg was the capital of the fledgling colony of Virgina and the Revolution ended near here at Yorktown, when Cornwallis surrendered, ending British rule of the colonies. It was the beginning of America. But you can read all about that elsewhere and I'm sure you remember your Grade 8 history!
The site is huge and the interpretation fantastic. We saw tableaus played out in first person: George Washington talking about the next move toward Independence, slaves talking about their life and hardships. I liked the way these juxtapositions were brought forward. It wasn't liberty for slaves, that's for sure.
Best of all for me, my friend Tina from the Museum of Civilisation in Ottawa connected me to Mark Hutter, who gave us a back stage tour of the Millinery shop. In this workshop, period techniques are used to create clothing, stays and hats. That means stitched by hand, folks! These garments are used as part of research and museum displays. They have an intern and apprenticeship programme to train people in these historic arts. As someone who worries about the future of my industry, this was comforting.
Today, I get to meet with the costume production facility staff, who make the clothing worn by the interpreters on the streets. I expect the approach to be similar to methods I use in costuming.
Pictures to follow. I can't add them while on the road. It's been a great trip!