WILLIAMSBURG — From women’s rights to 18th-century fashion, Colonial Williamsburg is exploring the many contributions of women this March in honor of Women’s History Month.
“Women’s contributions to society are often undervalued or erased by those who write history,” said Katharine Pittman, who portrays Colonial Williamsburg Nation Builder Martha Washington. “By bringing attention to the women of the past, we have an opportunity to make their lives and their work visible and to help our guests see themselves in American history.”
According to Colonial Williamsburg, women make up over 50% of the Foundation’s staff, in departments ranging from finance and public safety to coach and livestock and blacksmithing.
“Our extensive historic trades research in particular has revealed that while discrimination was frequent, no trade was off-limits to women on the basis of their gender,” added Chris Strum, journeyman silversmith. “Mothers and daughters, sisters and wives often helped with the family business, no matter what it was; or took their fate into their own hands as necessary or desirable. A close look at the facts can change the way you think about history, ultimately changing the way you think about the future.”
Highlights for the special programs to celebrate Women’s History Month at Colonial Williamsburg include:
Wednesdays (March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29):
- Excavation to Programming — A Colonial Williamsburg archaeologist and a Nation Builder discuss what recent archeological findings reveal about women in the 18th century. Hennage Auditorium, 1:30 p.m.
Thursdays (March 2 and 9):
- She Had on When She Went Away — A collaboration between actor interpreters and the Miliner and Mantua-maker who used runaway ads from 18th-century newspapers to explore the material culture and lives of self-liberated Black women. Hennage Auditorium, 1:30 p.m.
Fridays (March 3 and 10):
- Nation Builders Discuss the Rights of Women — Two Nation Builders discuss how they viewed and debated the rights of women in 18th-century Williamsburg. Hennage Auditorium, 1:30 p.m.
Saturdays (March 4, 11, 18, 25):
- Tour: Women in the Trades — A walking tour in the Historic Area focused on women’s labor, skills, and rights in 18th-century Williamsburg and beyond. Historic Area, 11 a.m. (additional ticket required).
- From Freedom to Slavery (March. 4, 11 only) — A museum theater piece exploring the story of Methotaskee, an adopted Shawnee Indian who is brought back into slavery. Hennage Auditorium, 1:30 p.m.
For a full list of Colonial Williamsburg events, visit the official website.