For the past eight years, the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Florida have presented historical programs for local middle school students.
On Wednesday, more than 700 fifth-grade students from Duval County Public Schools took a field trip to the Main Library to see and hear two accomplished actors portray John Adams, the first vice president and second president of the United States, and his wife, Abigail.
Adams was portrayed by Peyton Dixon, who has been playing the role for more than 14 years. His credits in the role include the PBS documentary "First Freedom, the Fight for Religious Liberty" and in A&E's biography of Adams.
Kim Hanley portrayed Abigail Adams. She worked with the founders of the American Historical Theater Group in the role of Martha Washington before taking on the role of Abigail Adams 15 years ago. Hanley makes historically accurate costumes for herself and other historic re-enactors.
The project is underwritten by the Roger L. and Rochelle S. Main Charitable Trust. The series has presented portrayals of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Lewis and Clark.
More than 1,500 students, teachers and chaperones in North Florida attended four performances Tuesday and Wednesday at the Main Library.
Programs also were presented this year at James Weldon Johnson College Preparatory and Lakeshore middle schools through an American history grant received by Duval County Public Schools.
The programs fulfill one of the main missions of the Colonial Dames – to encourage patriotism built on knowledge of the self-sacrifice and heroism of the men and women of the American colonies, said Winfield Duss, program chair.
To learn more about educational programs at the Main Library, visit jpl.coj.net.