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Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Victory Center Salute 'America's 400th Anniversary' with New Exhibits, Special Programs


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Joining with the nation to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the 1607 founding in Virginia of America’s first permanent English colony, Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center present engaging new exhibits, revitalized interpretive areas and an array of special programs. The two living-history museums are operated by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, a Virginia state agency.

Jamestown Settlement, which opened in 1957 for the 350th anniversary of Jamestown’s founding, is poised for the future with new permanent exhibition galleries, a new introductory film and an expanded living-history program. New exhibits chronicle the nation’s 17th-century beginnings in Virginia in the context of its Powhatan Indian, English and African cultures. More than 500 artifacts representative of the three cultures are integrated into a 30,000-square-foot gallery setting that features three-dimensional life-size structures, audio and lighting effects, and small-theater presentations.

Significant enhancements have taken place at Jamestown Settlement’s re-created 17th-century Powhatan Indian village, English ships and colonial fort, and the theme of three cultures is reflected in a recently developed riverfront discovery area. In all four areas, costumed historical interpreters describe and depict life in early 1600s Virginia.

A yearlong special exhibition, “The World of 1607,” opens at Jamestown Settlement April 27, portraying Jamestown and Virginia as part of an intellectual, social and economic “new world” that brought together peoples and ideas from around the globe. Among artifacts to be exhibited in one or more of four exhibit cycles are a 15th-century copy of Magna Carta, gifts exchanged among rulers of England, Spain and Japan, Virginia Indian objects that were brought to England in the 1600s, maps, engravings, paintings, and scientific and musical instruments.

At the Yorktown Victory Center, located in the town where the decisive battle of the American Revolution took place in 1781, a new long-term exhibition, “The Legacy of Yorktown: Virginia Beckons,” tells the story of people who shaped Virginia society, from the Powhatan Indians to Europeans and Africans who began arriving in the 1600s. The exhibition focuses on individuals and groups who came to Virginia over a 200-year period beginning in 1607 and incorporates the theme of creating a new national government with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Other gallery exhibits and an outdoor living-history Continental Army encampment and 1780s farm trace events that led to the Revolution and explore its impact on people of the era.

Tours, demonstrations and presentations at both museums in 2007 feature a different theme each month: religious freedom heritage in January; black history in February; women’s history in March; natural environment in April; Jamestown in May; cultures of Virginia in June; celebration of liberty in July; free enterprise/agriculture and industry in August; rule of law in September; Virginia history and archaeology in October; and Virginia Indian heritage in November.

The premier event of 2007 is “America’s Anniversary Weekend,” May 11-13, with cultural demonstrations and exhibits, historical pageantry, ceremonies and musical and dramatic performances at three locations: Jamestown Settlement living-history museum; Historic Jamestowne, site of the 1607 settlement; and Anniversary Park, adjacent to Jamestown Settlement.

Jamestown Settlement’s re-creations of the three ships that brought English colonists to Virginia in 1607 – Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery – will have an important role in commemorative events. Visitors will have a rare opportunity to witness the ships sailing together in the James River on May 12.

Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, until 6 p.m. from June 15 through August 15. A combination ticket for both museums is $17.75 for adults, $8.50 for children ages 6-12. Jamestown Settlement admission is $13.50 for adults, $6.25 for ages 6-12. Yorktown Victory Center admission is $8.75 for adults, $4.50 for ages 6-12. An annual pass also is available. Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center admission tickets are included in several Williamsburg area joint tickets and vacation packages available through the Williamsburg Hotel & Motel Association, (800) 494-8643 toll-free.

Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 South at the Colonial Parkway, next to Historic Jamestowne, administered by the National Park Service and APVA Preservation Virginia. The Yorktown Victory Center is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown, near Yorktown Battlefield, administered by the National Park Service. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or visit hif.ciniva.net.


Media contacts:
Debby Padgett, (757) 253-4175
Tracy Perkins, (757) 253-4114