'Pocahontas Imagined'

Jamestown Settlement Special Exhibition Through January 28, 2018

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., – Four hundred years after the 1617 death of Pocahontas in England, her image and legend live on. Using depictions of Pocahontas from across the centuries, Jamestown Settlement presents “Pocahontas Imagined,” a special exhibition through January 28, 2018, that illuminates the reasons behind her enduring legacy as well as her impression on popular culture and art.


Pocahontas’s image has been used to market merchandise, from oranges and cranberries to tobacco and coal. Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation collection. 

The renowned Powhatan Indian who befriended English colonists in Virginia in the early 1600s has been immortalized in art, song and story. Born about 1596, Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan, chief of more than 30 tribes in coastal Virginia. Several years after converting to Christianity and marrying Englishman John Rolfe, Pocahontas became ill and died at Gravesend, England, in March 1617.

In “Pocahontas Imagined,” visitors encounter Pocahontas as a real Powhatan Indian girl, who in life became a symbol of successful colonization and who in death has inspired myths and images to promote a range of unrelated causes.

The special exhibition features portraits and sculptures inspired by Pocahontas, as well as memorabilia, advertisements and interactive experiences, including opportunities for visitors to step into a cutout of an oversized 1907 postage stamp featuring Pocahontas’s image. Visitors can see her likeness and portrayal in the 20th century through a variety of media. Her image has been used to market merchandise, from oranges and cranberries to tobacco and coal.

A special children’s area in the exhibition allows young visitors and families to experience Pocahontas’s life as a little girl in a Powhatan Indian village and try art-related activities, such as weaving, decorating clay pots on a chalkboard wall, and learning about hunting and gathering.

Young visitors also can receive an activity card that they can take outdoors to explore artistic patterns, lines and colors in objects in Jamestown Settlement’s re-created Powhatan Indian village, three 1607 English ships and colonial fort. The exhibition is supported in part by a grant from James City County.

“Pocahontas Imagined” also features a public lecture series in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Three lectures will begin at 7 p.m. in Jamestown Settlement’s Robins Foundation Theater:

September 5: “Pocahontas in Image and Myth” – Karen Sherry, Art Historian and former Curator of American Art for the Portland Museum of Art in Maine and Associate Curator of Art at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

September 13: “Reel Indian: The Portrayal of Native Americans in Film” – Jeffrey Allison, Paul Mellon Collection Educator and Statewide Manager, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

October 3: “Corrective Lens: Native Women Photographers and the Debunking of the ‘Vanishing Race’ Myth” – Johanna Minich, Adjunct Curator of Native American Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Jamestown Settlement is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round. 2017 admission is $17.00 for adults and $8.00 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. A value-priced combination ticket with the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, is $23.00 for adults and $12.00 for ages 6-12. Parking is free. Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 near the Colonial Parkway in James City County, just southwest of Williamsburg and adjacent to Historic Jamestowne. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or visit jyfmuseums.org.


Media images: https://jyfmuseums.org/jamestown-settlement/pocahontas-imagined/pocahontas-imagined-media-images/