Mt. Vernon Register-News

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June 6, 2014

Village to hold special program

MT. VERNON — The Jefferson County Historical Village will host a special program on the life of former U.S. President George Washington at 2 p.m. June 14.

As part of the event, historical interpreter Paul Collins of Albion will portray Washington and provide information on his life and presidency, the Revolutionary War, the faith of the Founding Fathers and other “interesting facts,” Collins said.

“It’ll be a very patriotic program,” Collins said. “I really enjoy doing this.”

Collins is a retired school administrator and history teacher who has been performing as Washington for more than 25 years.

In the past, he has made such presentations at schools and for teachers’

workshops in an effort to “bring history alive,” he said.

More recently, Collins has performed as Washington for historical societies, churches and other groups.

A member of the Jefferson County Historical Society attended one of Collins’ recent presentations and “spoke highly of it,” said Jamie Wheeler, director of community relations for the Historical Society.

As a result, Wheeler asked Collins to perform at the Historical Village. The presentation, Wheeler said, should tie in nicely with an upcoming Revolutionary War program at the village July 12.

Wheeler added first-person portrayals can be quite compelling for the audience.

“It’s different when you see it acted out live in person,” Wheeler said. “(It’s) just making history interesting, bringing it alive for folks instead of just reading in a textbook.”

During his performances, Collins said he likes to talk about some of the stories and misconceptions surrounding Washington.

For example, Washington did not have wooden teeth, Collins said. The false teeth were actually made out of his own teeth, a portion of a cow tooth, ivory from a hippopotamus, metal and springs, he said.

Collins said he will also discuss the origin of the Washington cherry tree story, as well as the strong religious faith of the Founding Fathers.

“Our country was based on a Godly nation,” Collins said.

Admission to the June 14 program is free, but donations to the Historical Society will be accepted.

Wheeler said Collins’ program should last about 45 minutes to an hour.

For more information, contact the Historical Society at 246-0033.

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