Education and lifelong learning for seniors in Williamsburg VA

Why do older adults want to continue learning as they age? According to an AARP study they want to keep up with what’s going on in the World, continue their personal growth, and have fun learning something new.

Incorporating education in your activities means that your mind will be more stimulated, your points of view will be sharper, and the social interaction will enrich your life. A healthy mind is critical to getting the most out of life at any age.

Imagine the experience of learning about Scottish Poetry, Digital Photography, Conversational Italian, and England’s Tudor Monarchs. There is little doubt that such an experience could spice up your life. The good news is that this is available to you thanks to a large array of educational opportunities in Williamsburg.

Osher Institute at W&M consists of people from a variety of backgrounds who wish to continue to study and learn after retirement.  A common interest is shared in continuing learning experiences and intellectual stimulation.  There are no tests or grades.  Members participate purely for the joy of learning.  The organization is sponsored by The College of William and Mary but is self-supporting.

Courses and activities are planned and operated by the members and occur at various locations throughout the area.  Members design the curriculum and arrange for volunteer instructors from The College of William and Mary faculty (current and retired), from the membership and from the community at large.

Membership in the Osher Institute at W&M  also provides an opportunity for a variety of social interactions. Class breaks offer members a chance to greet old friends and make new ones over coffee, tea and cookies.

Find more details on membership and its benefits here http://Osher Institute at W&M

Other area educational and lifelong long learning offerings available in the Williamsburg VA area include :

Auditing College Courses: In Virginia Senior citizens age 60 and older are  encouraged to take advantage of tuition-free* courses at Virginia Colleges including William and Mary and Thomas Nelson Community College.  Seniors over 60 may enroll in credit courses for credit if their Virginia taxable income did not exceed $15,000 for the preceding year, and may enroll in credit courses for AUDIT (no credit) regardless of income. Senior citizens eligible for free tuition will register on the day a session begins on a space-available basis at the Admissions and Records Office.  Admission to a course is on a space-available basis after all tuition-paying students have been accommodated. In general, this means that this form will be processed on or after the first day of classes. W&M  info here, TNCC info here

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation offers a range of special onsite learning opportunities for the public, students, teachers, and scholars.

  • Archaeological Field School - Archaeological field school students get a hands-on opportunity to learn excavation techniques and recording, along with an introduction to laboratory analysis and 18th-century material culture. The field school is jointly sponsored with the College of William and Mary.
  • Fellowships - The John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library offers short-term residential fellowships to support research on topics related to British America, the American Revolution, and the Early Republic.
  • Tours - Learn more about the Foundation’s research initiatives through behind-the-scenes tours.

Seasonal Garden Programs in Colonial Williamsburg

Williamsburg is known to have been a hub of gardening enthusiasm and knowledge in the 18th century. A number of professional and amateur gardeners lived in the colonial capital, actively sharing horticultural information as they molded the landscape around them. Today we continue to mold the landscape and share information as we gain more knowledge about colonial gardens.

To learn more about this aspect of Williamsburg, take a garden tour from those listed below or visit our Colonial Garden and Nursery or Meet the Gardener as noted below.

The Colonial Garden and Nursery is an interpretive and sales site across from Bruton Parish Church in The Revolutionary City. Using 18th-century gardening techniques and reproduction tools, our garden historians operate a colonial nursery that, like its colonial historical counterpart, sells authentic plants and seeds, and other garden related items. The Colonial Nursery is open the last week in March through the Christmas Season. Go to the Colonial Nursery.

Through the Garden Gate - Learn about archaeological and historical documentation used in re-creating Colonial Williamsburg gardens. This one-hour walking tour is available to Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket holders from April through September.

The Gardens of Gentility Walk - Explore how gardens reflected 18th-century lifestyles and ideals. This one-hour walking tour is available to Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket holders from April through September.

Meet the Gardener - Meet with landscape volunteers to ask questions and learn about period plants and their care in The Revolutionary City gardens. Available April through October.

Tall Treasures - See the diversity of trees that grow in the Revolutionary City. Guides identify street trees of interest and discuss the tree’s characteristics and colonial uses. Available to Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket holders in the fall.

The Williamsburg Library offers a variety of classes in computer classes Find out more here

They also host lectures on a variety of topics.  

Including Eat Local: Community Gardening, Boxwood Williamsburg Workshop, Butterflies-How to Invite Magic to Your Garden, Talks@2: The Musical Legacy of Ella Fitzgerald, Africa’s Vanishing Wilderness, The Year of the Bird: Birds of the Colonial Historic Triangle, Antiques at WRL, Solar Power in Williamsburg and more.