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Democracy Weekend

July 27 & 28

Jamestown Settlement’s “Origins of American Democracy” theme month culminates on July 27 & 28 with a special weekend of themed tours, interpretive programs and military exercises honoring the first General Assembly, the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, as 20 “burgesses” convened at Jamestown in 1619.

Discover New Stories

Page one of “Proceedings of the First General Assembly, July 30, 1619,” showing names of the Burgesses. On loan from The National Archives, UK, CO 1/1.

Take a journey of historic proportions with an up-close look at the original minutes of the first legislative assembly that convened July 30, 1619 — returning to America for the first time in 400 years since leaving Jamestown — and immerse yourself in recently refreshed permanent gallery exhibits and experiences that incorporate new historical research and technology presented in innovative ways. As a year-round stage for the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, these new galleries expand on historical events marking 400-year milestones, such as the first legislative assembly in the New World, the first recorded Africans in Virginia, and the influx of English women to the Virginia colony, all which occurred in 1619.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside Jamestown Settlement’s expansive gallery exhibits, history is at your fingertips with two different interactive activities designed for all ages and led by education staff in the permanent galleries. Put your leadership skills to the test and discover:

Get Hands-On with History

Take an active role in living history alongside costumed interpreters with a range of historical presentations and enhanced programming in our outdoor areas. Join in a drill to defend the colony at the re-created James Fort, discuss the “Laws Divine Moral and Martial” in the governor’s house, learn about the rule of law from inside the church and head to the re-created village to explore Powhatan Indian politics at the werowance’s yehakin.

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Visit the Werowance’s Yehakin to explore Powhatan politics and examine the complex relationships between English colonists, the Powhatan Indians and other Virginia Indian tribes.

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
In 1609, the Virginia Company obtained a new charter authorizing the appointment of a governor with “full and absolute power and authority.” Explore the Governor’s House to see how someone of his station lived and learn about the “Laws Divine Moral and Martial” that would rule the colony for much of its early years.

10 a.m./3 p.m.
Calling all musketeers, pikemen and targeteers! Grab a musket, join in a 17th-century military drill and march your way for firsthand training in Defending the Colony!

11 a.m./1 p.m./4 p.m.
Learn about the Rule of Law from inside the re-created Anglican church, exploring the various forms of governmental rule that evolved at Jamestown and lead to the formation of the first representative legislative assembly in 1619.

12 p.m./2 p.m.
Learn about Powhatan Government and the methods used by paramount chief of the Powhatan Indians, Wahunsonacock, as he consolidated more than 30 tribes into a loose chiefdom under his rule and expanded his power far beyond that of his predecessors.

Jamestown Settlement Jamestown Settlement, an official partner of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, is a year-round stage for special exhibitions, events and programs honoring the 400th anniversary of key historical events in Virginia in 1619.

Jamestown Settlement, administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, features world-class exhibitions, immersive galleries and films, and interactive living-history experiences in re-creations of a Powhatan Indian village, three 1607 ships and a 1610-14 fort. The museum connects visitors with the lives of the Powhatan, English and west central African cultures that converged at 17th-century Jamestown.

Located on State Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg, Virginia and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (until 6 p.m. June 15-August 15), museum admission is $17.50 for adults, $8.25 for ages 6-12, and free for children under 6. A value-priced combination ticket with the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is $26.00 for adults and $12.50 for ages 6-12. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including College of William and Mary students, receive free admission with proof of residency. Parking is free. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838.