Sign Up for W.A.L.T. Classes – Fall Registration Opened Sept 6, 2014

The Williamsburg Area Learning Tree (WALT) is a a not-for-profit education program covering a wide range of topics. Williamsburg is rich with people who know a lot about a lot of subjects, whether they’re associated with the College of William and Mary, local businesses, or are retired from careers covering every conceivable subject.  Check out their catalog and find something you’ve always wanted to learn about:

Celebrate VA Archaeology Month at Historic Jamestowne

If you can’t make it to the special dinner on Jamestown Island Thursday night, you have another option on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to learn about the most recent discoveries at James Fort during the 2011 field season. This special day will include historic trades demonstrations, ranger and archaeologist tours, and kids’ activities. Admission is $10 for adults, free for children under 16.

Special evening at Historic Jamestowne

Enjoy beautiful scenery and learn more about Jamestown and the Civil War at a special dinner on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. The program begins at 5:00 p.m. and includes a picnic dinner. Historic Jamestowne’s web site says you’ll “explore the story of Fort Pocahontas, one of five Civil War-era forts constructed on Jamestown Island … hear first-person accounts of Confederate soldiers stationed at the fort … and enjoy an update with Jamestown Rediscovery Senior Archaeologist Dave Givens on the most recent findings from the fort’s excavated bomb shelter.”


Carravaggio, Michelangelo, and Fra Angelico Lectures

If you love Italian painting, consider attending the Muscarelle Museum‘s “3rd Thursdays” lectures this fall. Art historian John T. Spike, the distinguished scholar in residence at the College of William & Mary, will explore the topics listed below.

The lectures are included with the regular $5 admission to the museum on the campus of the College of William and Mary, or you might consider becoming a member if you want to attend all three. After 5:00 p.m. you can park in the faculty & staff lot next to the museum with no worries.

5:30 p.m., Thursday, September 15, 2011

Caravaggio’s Ambiguities

The brilliant 17th century Italian painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610), depicted religious themes in contemporary settings with a style based in visible reality. Habitually transgressing the boundary between the sacred and the profane, Caravaggio is renowned as one of the greatest religious painters of all time. His early successes, however, were also based on his genius for treating themes of deception, trickery, and disguise.  Like his contemporary, Shakespeare, Caravaggio combined realism with artifice in ways that have resulted in a puzzling diversity of interpretations.  In this lecture, Caravaggio’s delight in calculated ambiguities is viewed in its cultural context.

5:30 p.m., Thursday, October 13, 2011

Young Michelangelo: The Path to the Sistine

From the apprentice who at the age of thirteen draws copies that are indistinguishable from his master’s originals; to the miracle of the Pietà; to the completion of the David, a task considered impossible; to the young man’s return to Rome at the age of 33 to undertake the vast ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Young Michelangelo probes the formative years of a genius, underscoring his personal rivalries and fascination with the eternal contrasts of pagan/sacred, perfect/imperfect, colossal and impossible.  

5:30 p.m., Thursday, November 17, 2011

Secret Messages of Faith: Fra Angelico’s Frescoes at San Marco

Called Angelico for his exquisite depictions of paradise, the paintings of the 15th century Dominican friar, Fra Angelico, have been beloved for centuries. The more than 40 frescoes Fra Angelico painted to decorate the walls of the monastery of San Marco remain one of the highlights for any visitor to Florence.   Arranged out of sequence in comparison to the Biblical narrative, the fresco program has long frustrated scholarly interpretation.   In this lecture, Spike unravels their secret messages, showing that Fra Angelico drew upon the mystical writings of the early church fathers to describe a non-linear journey towards union with God.

Great Deals on Good Books at Bruton Parish Church

Bruton Parish Church’s annual used book sale begins at Noon on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011 and ends Sunday, Sept. 4. Hardcovers are $2, paperbacks are $1, CDs & DVD and puzzles are $2. It’s a major fundraiser for the church and you’re sure to find great bargains.

Note that the sale takes place in the parish hall, which is next to Barnes & Noble on Merchants Square at 331 Duke of Gloucester Street, a block and a half from the historic church.

African American Perspective at Jamestown, Williamsburg Museums Aug. 13-14

"Am I Not a Man and a Brother?" Anti-slavery campaign medallion  by Josiah Wedgwood, 1787

"Am I Not a Man and a Brother?" Anti-slavery campaign medallion by Josiah Wedgwood, 1787, photo courtesy of Wikipedia

“In Pursuit of Equality”  is a series of presentations August 13 – 14, 2011 at Historic Jamestowne (on the island) and Colonial Williamsburg that will explore the stories, struggles, and triumphs of colonial Africans and African-Americans. With programs such as  “Faces of Rebellion” and “The Curse of Ham,” you’ll be challenged to think deeply about America’s complicated history of race and class. Themes of this special two-day event will include:

* the paradox of  a democratic society denying rights and liberties to African Americans
* issues of personal identity
* society’s perceptions of race
* the continuance of a thriving culture from Africa to the colonies

Call 1-800-HISTORY for more information.



Make your own holiday wreath

After you attend the Williamsburg Christmas Parade and buy your handmade girl scout ornaments Saturday morning, head over to New Quarter Park from Noon to 2 p.m. for a special program where you’ll learn to make your own decorations from pine, boxwood, apples, and other live material. [Read more…]

Stargazing at New Quarter Park, Nov. 13

More than 200 people attended last month’s stargazing event, according to New Quarter Park’s web site. [Read more…]

CW Forum to Discuss Issue of Literacy in the Enslaved Population

Colonial Williamsburg’s program “Equiano Forum on Early African American History and Culture: Confronting Historical Myths of African American Literacy” will include a special tour of the Peyton Randolph House on Oct. 29 called “Johnny … can read and write tolerably well,” and a forum with discussion following on Oct. 30, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the DeWitt Wallace Museum. Any CW ticket will admit you to the Peyton Randolph House tour, and the program at the DeWitt is free, but requires a reservation. Call 1-800-HISTORY to reserve. [Read more…]

BackStory with the American History Guys

Growing up in Williamsburg, I have a natural interest in early American history. The story of a bunch of colonials getting the radical idea to break away from one of the most powerful nations on Earth is pretty compelling to me. That’s why I don’t understand why the average American knows so little about history – if you believe Leno and various education surveys, that is. [Read more…]