3 Reasons to Take Tours and Visit Historic Sites Multiple Times

3 Reasons to Take Tours and Visit Historic Sites Multiple Times

Jun 29, 2023

Why would you visit the same places multiple times? I have 3 reasons.

There may be more, but these reasons are why I do it! If you really want to know the things that make American history, dig deeper and never stop learning.

Reason 1: Different guides have different interests and stories.

I honestly do not know how many times we've visited specific sites like the Governor's Palace and the Capitol Building and every time we seem to have a new guide.

And every guide has their own interests, favorite stories, and way of sharing the stories we may have heard before.

Some select a favorite story about a person, an artifact, or even architectural design. After countless tours of the Governor's Palace, I was drawn to new stories over my last few visits- each heard by a different interpreter.

  • Lady Dunmore sitting at her dressing table looking at the unrest happening on Palace Green.
  • A teenage James Monroe pushing a wheelbarrow of weapons out of the Palace and over to the Powder Magazine.
  • Enslaved Will and Cesar changing the candles on the chandelier in the supper room.
  • How chandeliers were referred to as lumineers.
  • The Chippendale chairs in the Dunmore daughters' room intentionally being painted and carved to look like bamboo.

And many more!

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The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg does this well.

They have a daily tour in which a docent shows you three items. With literally thousands on display, you can see how this 20 minute tour highlights something new every time!

One of my favorites was about space. We got to learn about the first telescope in the Colonies as well as see an orrery (model of the solar system) tucked towards the back of a display case.

On a recent 20-minute tour, the silver trophy below was pointed out; it's another object I could easily have missed wandering on my own and one that spurred discussion on my next visit to our silversmith. Which led him to tell me about his favorite pieces which I'll be looking for when I hit the museum again!

Reason 2: Being around new visitors, means there could be new questions.

Clearly, many minds are better than one. As each of us has a different perspective and background, the questions that come up when you are around others create new opportunities for learning.

As I was visiting Ewing Field in CW recently, a farmer was also visiting. He asked detailed questions about irrigation of the ground where tobacco was planted and, honestly, I never would've thought to ask them. Much discussion was had on depletion of nutrients in the soil caused by tobacco.

While taking a tour of the Raleigh Tavern around the holidays, someone asked about the greenery decorating the tavern and why it was up after Christmas. We were told by our guide that indoor greenery was traditionally kept up through 12th night in the 18th century, while outdoor decorations weren't common.

Reason 3: As you learn more, you may have new questions.

(this can lead to new ideas, and more questions!)

Remember my post about sheep? What a perfect example. Beyond that, I want to ask more questions about livestock that had an impact on our independency in the United States.

But honestly, it's in everything. For example, listening to Bryan Austin's podcast sharing history from Benjamin Franklin's perspective, gives me ideas and questions I want to dive into. After listening to the episode embedded below, I want to learn more about moments in time during the childhoods of other founding fathers.

And now that I've visited the kitchen on Jamestown Settlement's site, I want to dive deeper into the evolution of food and agriculture here even more than I did before as a foodie!

Demonstration kitchen at the Jamestown Settlement.

Places I want to visit again!

Truly, there are many. A few that come to mind immediately nearby:

  • Maymont in Richmond: the grounds alone are an amazing place to wander (get your walking shoes on!) and take photos, but a house tour is a must. It displays the Gilded Age in all it's glory!
  • Shirley Plantation: one of my favorites- it was established in 1613! I've been a couple of times but not since we moved to Virginia in 2021~ I still remember seeing the girls' carvings in the window glass with their engagement diamonds. I will say I've eaten at the new winery, but not been on a house tour recently!
  • Mount Vernon: seeing it again, now that I've learned so much about Washington, his wife, and his family will make it extra special.

Several that will require some more travel on my part:

Main reason: I've learned so much about history and will be looking at it all through updated eyes. And I want to go for the architecture and artifacts as much as the stories!

  • The Breakers: we didn't get inside when we were in Newport, Rhode Island so I hope to do it someday! The significance of this property to understanding the culture of the wealthiest Americans during the Gilded Age, people who made fortunes growing our economy, fascinates me.
  • Mission San Juan Capistrano: and let's expand that to more missions. When in southern California, visit one! These are a wealth of information on some pivotal moments in American history out west. And simply beautiful landscaping, architecture and art.
  • Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House: I stopped here while I was traveling in my corporate job and since I passed it to or from a meeting, it was after hours. It's one that stuck with me. When you read a book like Little Women, seeing the place and being in the setting takes the experience to a whole new level.

Where have you visited that you want to visit again?

Have you been to any of the places I want to go?

Have you been anywhere multiple times?

Please share any and all in the comments!

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There is a huge practical disclaimer to the content on this blog, which is my way of sharing my excitement and basically journaling online.

1) I am not a historian nor an expert. I will let you know I’m relaying the information as I understand and interpret it. The employees of Colonial Williamsburg base their presentations, work, and responses on historical documents and mainly primary sources.

2) I will update for accuracy as history is constant learning. If you have a question about accuracy, please ask me! I will get the answer from the best source I can find.

3) Photo credit to me, Daphne Reznik, for all photos in this post, unless otherwise credited! All photos are personal photos taken in public access locations or with specific permission.