Blue Star Museums Blog (Archive)

Blue Star Voices

Washington, DC

Historic trades on view at Colonial Williamsburg include basketmaking, silversmithing, and spinning. Photo by Steve Francis Photography

This week's Blue Star Voices features not one but two visits to Colonial Williamsburg, an interactive, living history museum campus in central Virginia. First up, here’s a "postcard" from Karen Francis.

Last weekend, we spent a wonderful day exploring Colonial Williamsburg. The tickets for this attraction are NOT cheap, but thanks to the NEA and Blue Star Families, we got in FREE! We called ahead, to make sure that we didn’t need to get something from MWR---to get other discounts you do---but, at least for Colonial Williamsburg, we didn’t. All we needed was our ID cards, and we all have those on us at all times. We got there early because this solstice weekend has been HOT here in the Virginia area. It was very simple. We told the very nice lady that we were there to get the Blue Star Families tickets and showed our ID cards. She asked a couple of questions and voila, two tickets, for the entire weekend.

The interpreters are craftspeople. The silversmith has been doing this for years, has some gorgeous pieces to show off, and is actually working on pieces as he chats with you, teaching you about the apprentice system. The weaver/spinner folks [also have] a ton of knowledge, and one of the spinning women gave a wonderful mini-class on yarn and textiles. . . . all for a first grade teacher’s video camera. Another interpreter talked about the various dyes and what they were made of. Everyone welcomes questions and all had answers; these people are experts in their various crafts and are well versed in what would have been available, and methods used in the colonial period.

The Capitol tour had us all elected as members of the House of Burgesses, and we ended up showing ourselves to be traitors to the crown and voting for independence, while the Peyton Randolph house tour was led by a retired teacher who taught us all about the slaves who were living in the house on the Green in 1775. There are reenactments on the road through the town, which are interesting and a lot of fun for the children.

Read the complete recap of Karen’s visit on the Blue Star Families blog here

After a previous visit to Historic Williamsburg, eight-year-old Grace Galvez was intrigued by all things colonial and how children lived then. So her grandmother sewed her a dress for her birthday, and Grace insisted on wearing it on the family's recent Blue Star Museums trip. Photo by Michelle Galvez.

Michelle Galvez and her family also visited Colonial Williamsburg, choosing it as the perfect place to spend some quality time over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

We had a whole long weekend over Memorial Day when all members of the household would be present and accounted for so we thought we'd head out of town, but not too far and not spend too much money. Those might be hard requirements to meet but thanks to the Blue Star Museums initiative, Busch Gardens' "Here's the Heroes" program, and a military discount at a local Hampton Inn we were able to do just that in Williamsburg, Virginia.

We have three children, and sometimes what's fun for one is a drag for another. But all three---and Mom, Dad, and Grandma---thoroughly enjoyed Colonial Williamsburg's outdoor, indoor, living, and interactive museum for FREE (a significant savings, BTW). We toured all the houses and restored buildings, sampled the authentic-to-the-period beverages at the restored coffee house, learned to dance in a parlor, picnicked on the grounds of the Governor's Palace, wrote our names with a feather pen, and came to appreciate our history a bit more (especially how they could have born the Southern humidity in those days without A/C and in a corset). A special touch was the "Honoring Service" notation on our admission badges. Several people stopped our family to thank us for our service and sacrifice.

Read Michelle’s complete post on the Blue Star Families blog here.

What’s your Blue Star Museums experience? Drop us a line or leave a comment and let us know!

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