Colonial Williamsburg Interpreter


Colonial Williamsburg Interpreter


The Colonial Williamsburg Interpreter was a newsletter published July 1980-September 2009 by the education and research departments of Colonial Williamsburg and authored mainly by staff researchers and interpreters. Its purpose was to disseminate information germane to the current interpretive focus of the Historic Area uniformly across the various departments involved with historical interpretation. Some of the articles sprang from the need to impart new research or interpretive information to staff while others were inspired by employee questions or suggestions. In the earlier issues, standard sections include “The King’s English” which explained various words or terminology encountered in 18th century life, “Occurrences” which noted different programs and events of interest to employees and visitors, and “The Exchange” which was a guest column that offered the perspective and knowledge of non-research department employees on various subjects. Later issues had regular columns about historical subjects, archaeology, gardening, new books at the Foundation library, “Cook’s Corner” about foodways, “Interpreter’s Corner” concerning issues of interpretation, and a Q & A section. The number of issues published per year varied as did the length of the newsletter.

Several supplemental publications sprang from the Interpreter including Fresh Advices, Questions & Answers, and A Cultural Time Line & Glossary for Williamsburg in the Eighteenth Century. Fresh Advices offered discussions of recent research conducted by the Foundation and opportunities for applying it in the Historic Area. It was published infrequently from 1981-1987. Questions & Answers began and ended as a column in the Interpreter, but also existed as a supplemental publication from 1980-1989. It functioned as a means to answer common interpreter questions to the research department about eighteenth-century history and culture, Williamsburg area history, and Colonial Williamsburg itself. The one-time 1990 publication A Cultural Time Line & Glossary for Williamsburg in the Eighteenth Century consisted of a oversize poster-sized timeline and a glossary booklet. The time line included notable events in the Age of Enlightenment in the categories of politics, philosophy and religion, education, science and technology, fine arts and architecture, and performing arts and literature. The glossary was an expansion on selected entries from the time line to give more information on people and events that directly or indirectly influenced the development of colonial Virginia society.

An index to the Interpreter and its supplemental publications may be found here: Colonial Williamsburg Interpreter Index, 1980-2009.

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