Living History August 2004

By Lauren Eisenstodt Premium

Newport, Rhode Island

Learning Japanese

Immerse yourself in Japanese culture July 15-18 at the 21st annual Black Ships Festival. Presented by the Japan-America Society of Rhode Island, the festival commemorates the 1854 Treaty of Kanagawa, which was secured by Newport’s own Commodore Matthew Perry and established friendly trade relations between the United States and Japan. Festivalgoers can sample Japanese foods; watch sumo, sushi-making and calligraphy demonstrations; and purchase traditional arts and crafts. Event highlights include the Sushi and Sake Sail, a two-hour cruise aboard the 101-foot schooner Aurora (call ahead for tickets), and the Festival of Drums, a showcase of choreographed Taiko drum performances. Admission for most activities is free. To learn more, call (401) 846-2720 or visit <>.

Williamsburg, Virginia

Colonial Craftsmanship

It’s hard to imagine how our Colonial ancestors got by without the conveniences of modern technology. But visit the Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center throughout August, and you can learn all about the innovations that made their daily lives possible. Just a 25-minute drive apart, these living history museums will present a number of interpretive programs with the theme Tools of the Trade. At Jamestown Settlement, you can see the tools used by Powhatan Indians before the English immigrated to North America. Historical interpreters will demonstrate using bone, wood and shell to create garden tools, eating utensils and fishing hooks. Here, you also can climb aboard replicas of the Godspeed and Discovery, and try to use 17th-century navigational instruments. Within the re-created Colonial fort, explore the trades and tools of early English settlers. At Yorktown Victory Center, an American Revolution museum, discover 18th-century farm tools, weapons and medical implements and techniques. Admission to both museums costs $16.75 for adults and $8.25 for children ages 6 to 12. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 or visit <>.

Western Civilization

Casper, Wyoming

How did your Western ancestors make their homes on the range? Find out at the Fort Caspar Chautauqua, July 10 at Fort Caspar Museum & Historic Site. Re-enactors portraying Buffalo Bill, lynching victim “Cattle Kate,” homesteader Elinore Pruitt Stewart and other historical characters will paint a picture of early Wyoming settlements. Meanwhile, the Wyoming Old-Time Fiddle Association and Prickly Pair will set your toes tapping to traditional Western music, and the Fort Caspar Museum Association will serve up buffalo burgers. For more information about this free event, call (307) 235-8462 or e-mail

The Art of War

Sturbridce, Massachusetts

The American way of war has changed dramatically since the first colonists settled here. Aug. 7-8, Old Sturbridge Village will explore the evolution of American military equipment and uniforms with its program From Redcoats to Rebels. Re-enactors representing military groups from the 1600s through the Civil War will illustrate these transformations through mock battles and demonstrations of everyday military life. The event also will feature fife-and-drum music, hands-on activities and a close look at military artifacts from the museum’s collections. Admission, which is good for two visits within 10 days, costs $20 for adults, $ 18 for seniors and $5 for children ages 3 to 17. To learn more about the program and Old Sturbridge Village, call (800) 733-1830 or visit <>.

World Dance Party

Burley, Pocatello & Rexburc, Idaho

Hundreds of dancers from around the world will gather in Idaho July 26-Aug. 9 for the Idaho International Folk Dance Festival, an annual event combining ceremony, dance instruction, dance performance and multicultural awareness. The festival kicks off in Burley (July 26-28), then makes its way to Pocatello (July 30-31) and finally Rexburg (Aug. 2-9). The opening and closing ceremonies, street dance, parade, fireworks and workshops are all free, but you’ll have to purchase tickets for performances. To learn more, call (888) 463-6880 or visit <>.

From the August 2004 issue of Family Tree Magazine.