At Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia — the largest living history museum in the U.S.— you can interact with historical figures. Sometimes in very interesting ways.
The bewigged gentleman wearing spectacles leans over his demitasse at Charlton’s Coffeehouse in Williamsburg, the capital of the colonies, points to a visitor’s cellphone, raises his eyebrows and declares, “That looks like the work of the devil, madam.”
This from the politician who recently risked treason because he successfully argued in Virginia’s House of Burgesses for the repeal of the Stamp Act. At Charlton’s the year is 1766, a decade earlier than the rest of Colonial Williamsburg. Revolution is still a whisper, but Mr. Henry speaks freely in private chambers with other legislators and often—but not always—mingles with fellow citizens over coffee in Charlton’s public room in the afternoons from 3 to 5 p.m.
Eyeing the device that receives messages and conjures voices out of thin air, the patriot, who will later gain fame for declaring “Give me liberty, or give me death,” informs the guest that she’s lucky the witch codes were repealed in 1736, “else you would be hung by your neck or whipped.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Henry investigates the supernatural contraption. Intrigued, he states “1766 is a 4-mile-an-hour world. The Stamp Act was repealed in March, but we did not learn of it until 2 months later. Even with a good wind and a calm sea, it takes 6 weeks for news to cross the Atlantic.”
The Stamp Act was repealed in March, but we did not learn of it until 2 months later. Even with a good wind and a calm sea, it takes 6 weeks for news to cross the Atlantic.”
Smiling, the possible sorceress taps the screen, showing the future rebel how the tool can instantly capture her image without the need for artist, oils or canvas. Amazed, Mr. Henry gives in to temptation. He raises the otherworldly mechanism carefully and, with a renegade’s smile, takes a selfie.