Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Historical Strangers

Paul : Aboard the Susan Constant : James River : Jamestown, Virginia

Picking up my 100 Strangers series again, these are just a couple of the volunteers in and around Jamestown and Williamsburg. They're known as historic interpreters and are sometimes referred to as reenactors. They dress in period clothing and provide visitors with important historical information and guidance as we step back 400 years and discover the beginnings of America. This fellow is a guy named Paul who gave us the goods on how 104 men and boys navigated three ships across the Atlantic in 1606-1607 to land in Virginia. I think Paul was from South Africa, because he had the loveliest lilt. What was great about him is, he very obviously loves what he does. His enthusiasm and knowledge were infectious.

Spinner : Whyte Plantation : Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

I didn't get the name of the historic interpreter in Williamsburg who was spinning linen in the weaver's building behind the estate of George Whyte. Whyte was one of America's lesser known, but significant, signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was also Thomas Jefferson's law tutor. In Colonial America, there were no law schools, so colonialist had to "read the law" with someone who had studied law in Europe. Jefferson read the law with Whyte. Getting back to the weaver's building, though: The reenactors in this building spin and weave blankets and linens and such, which are on display behind and above this spinner.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 02/09

5 comments:

nessabates said...

they have reinactment at the forts here too and I have never made it there on the weekends when they are there. I hope to one day. These are awesome

D.C. Confidential said...

Nessa: Reenactments can be fun. And when a historical site has historic interpreters, it's especially interesting. You should definitely go out one weekend and visit your local forts. Besides, think of all the great pictures you'd get for your blog...

nessabates said...

yeah I know...dang it! I always seem to miss it! We have a big photography meetup in St Augustine in April and going to the Fort there is one of our stops. I have been there many times but I have never been inside the fort for some reason. I am looking forward to the trip :)

Cele said...

Places with history hold my interest more than tourist traps. Being able to see a visual impression of what life was like or how battles went down is really a gift. As much as they might seem commerical more Americans should embrace the opportunities to see where we've been.

D.C. Confidential said...

Nessa: That photography meet-up in April in St. Augustine sounds like it will be fun! I've heard St. Augustine is Florida's most beautiful city. Never been there, but that's the rumor. Can't wait to see your pictures from that.


Cele: I agree. The commercialization is disturbing, but the larger matter to appreciate is that we have opportunities to see our history in ways that, as the History Channel declares, "Makes the Past Come Alive!"