Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Videos

I had a vague memory from junior high of videos from Colonial Williamsburg Foundation about colonial craftsmen, and I thought that I might find one or two that would be of interest to the class.  I found several short videos done in a docudrama style here.  This collection is more factual; here is one showing colonial chocolate making.  Another one there shows the casting of a small cannon.

At the Boise State library, I found Gunsmith of Williamsburg (1965), showing the making of a rifle.  Some parts of it are up on YouTube as well.  It is, perhaps, a bit boring by modern standards.  I can think of a number of ways to jazz it up so that it would hold the attention a bit better.  (This is one of the few cases where some more talking heads would actually help--explaining the social significance of firearms in the period.)  Still, it is well photographed, and if you are old enough, you may recognize the voice of one of the narrators.  Yes, it is David Brinkley, for many years, one of the two anchors of the NBC nightly news show.  I can't imagine any of the current NBC news anchors narrating something so awful--you know, with guns and other icky things in it.

I also watched Silversmith of Williamsburg which is, in its own way, quite equivalent.  However, silversmithing isn't quite as important to the Revolution, or the development of post-Revolutionary manufacturing techniques, so I am not using that one.

Another one that I watched was The Musical Instrument Maker of Williamsburg (which I can't find ordering information for on the CWF website, for some reason) in which we watch the making of a spinet and a violin. (And we get to listen to them as well--very elegant.)  For the same reasons as above, while done to comparable quality as the Gunsmith of Williamsburg, I elected not to use it, since spinets and violins were not significant factors in the victory over the British, nor did they play much of a role in developing our industrial capacity.

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