Living History August 2000

By Michelle Taute Premium


Before Camp David

Everyone’s heard of Thomas Jefferson’s Monricello, but few people know about Poplar Forest — his personal retreat in Forest, Va. Jefferson began building an octagonal house on the estate during his presidency as an escape from the onslaught of visitors at Monticello. It’s here that Jefferson spent time with his grandchildren and wrote large portions of his only book, Notes on the State of Virginia. You can take a tour of the house and grounds, which are currently undergoing restoration, from April through November. For more information, call (804) 525-1806 or see <>.


A Royal Good Time

Find out what it was like to live among kings and queens at the Central Coast Renaissance Festival in Morro Bay, Calif. You can watch jousting, archery and storytelling, or, if you’re feeling brave, take a fencing lesson. There will also be period performances of all sorts, including acting, juggling and demonstrations of crafts such as weaving, metalworking and woodworking. The festival takes place July 15-16. For more information, call History Revisited at (800) 688-1477.


Tractor-Free Farming

If you’ve got a farmer or two in your family tree, you won’t want to miss the chance to visit Living History Farms. This 600-acre open-air museum in Des Moines, Iowa, allows visitors to experience old-fashioned farm life firsthand. You can watch period-clothed interpreters work the land at the 1850 or 1900 farm, visit the bustling 1875 town of Walnut Hill or see how the state’s first farmers worked the land at the 1700 Ioway Indian Village. Depending on the time of year, you’ll see food canning, wool spinning, animal birthing, planting and much more. A new multimedia theater illustrates the history of 20th-century rural life. For more information, call (515) 278-5286 or see <>.



With more historic museums, houses and sites than almost anywhere else in the country, Philadelphia is a great place to explore the nation’s roots. You can visit Independence Hall, where the founding fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence and drafted the US Constitution. Other hot spots include the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross’ House and nearby Valley Forge National Historical Park. For information on attractions, call the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation at (215) 599-0776, or see <>.



For those looking to stay close to home, log on to Unpacking on the Prairie: Jewish Women in the Upper Midwest, an online exhibit at <>. There you’ll find an in-depth look at the lives of the Jewish women who began immigrating to the United States in the 1880s. The site explores how these women preserved and changed their heritage as they struggled to set up home in a strange land. Created by the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, the exhibit is complete with historical photos.


The Other Dublin

The Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio, boasts the best Irish dance, music and culture this side of the Atlantic. Highlights include a genealogy exhibit, step-dance performances and live music ranging in style from Celtic rock to dance tunes and ballads. There’s also a Wee Folk Area with crafts and games for children and the Fun Zone, which features activities aimed at teenagers. You can partake in the fun August 4-6. For more information, call the city of Dublin at (614) 410-4545, or check out the Web site at <>.

From the August 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine