WILLIAMSBURG, Va., December 7, 2021 — ’Tis the season to celebrate “Christmastide in Virginia” December 18-31 at Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
Experience 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions through interpretive programs and festive musical entertainment of the period. Outdoor living-history areas at both museums are open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, and expansive indoor exhibition galleries, interactives and films are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At Jamestown Settlement, special interpretive programs will compare and contrast English Christmas customs of the period with how the season may have been observed in the difficult early years of the Jamestown colony. Outdoors, Christmastide activities will allow visitors to learn about the English colonists’ Christmas at sea in December 1606 and the Powhatan Indian generosity shown to Captain John Smith’s trading party in 1608 during a winter storm. At the re-created James Fort, visitors can see wattle-and-daub buildings decorated with greenery and demonstrations of fancy cooking. In the re-created Paspahegh Town, historical interpreters will present ongoing demonstrations on typical winter activities, including food preservation and hunting tools and techniques.
Musical entertainment, offered at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day in the center of the fort (weather permitting), will be interspersed with appearances by the Lord of Misrule, known in England as the “grand captain of all mischief.” Musical performances will feature Barry & Lynn Trott (December 18 & 29), Carson Hudson Jr. (December 19), Rebecca Suerdieck (December 20, 22, 24, 27 and 31) and David Gardner (December 21, 23, 26, 28 and 30).
At the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, visitors to the outdoor living-history areas can hear accounts of Christmas and winter camp life in the Continental Army encampment, including cooking rations over an earthen kitchen, and observe flintlock musket demonstrations throughout the day. At the Revolution-era farm adorned with greenery, historical interpreters will compare and contrast 18th-century holiday traditions with those of modern times and demonstrate a variety of holiday activities, including setting the farmhouse table for a holiday feast and open-hearth cooking of recipes in the farm kitchen.
At 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day, visitors can enjoy the sounds of Christmas through traditional carols and musical performances, featuring The Fifes and Drums of York Town (December 18, 19, 21, 22, 27 and 30), Carson Hudson Jr. (December 20, 24, 26, 29 and 31) and Barry & Lynn Trott (December 23 and 28). Outdoor performances will be held weather-permitting.
HOLIDAY SHOPPING IN MUSEUM STORES
In time for holiday shopping, museum gift shops extend the visitor experience and offer a unique selection of books, prints, museum reproductions, hand-made gifts, educational toys, games and souvenirs relating to the 17th and 18th centuries. Admission is not required to visit the museum gift shops, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and online shopping is available at shopjyf.com.
VISIT THE MUSEUMS
Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed Christmas and New Year’s days. Parking is free. “Christmastide in Virginia” event activities are included with general admission and have been adapted to ensure the health and safety of everyone with protective protocols. Admission tickets can be purchased online on the eStore or in person, and a variety of tickets are available with Williamsburg area attractions. The special event is made possible in part by James City County, the York County Arts Commission and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc. Annual Fund.
ANNUAL PASSES, TICKETS & TOURS
A value-priced combination ticket to both museums is $28.90 for adults and $14.45 for ages 6-12 (when purchased online, a combination ticket offers seven days of unlimited admission). Individual admission to Jamestown Settlement is $18.00 (adults) and $9.00 (ages 6-12), and to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, $16.00 (adults) and $8.00 (ages 6-12). Children ages 5 and under are free. Admission for residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, is free with proof of residency throughout the year.
The American Heritage Annual Pass – makes a great gift for the holidays for visiting friends and family – is $44.00 (adults ages 13+) and $22.00 (ages 6-12) and offers unlimited admission to both museums from date of purchase and access to special exhibitions and daytime special events. Virginia residents can purchase an Annual Pass online for the cost of a single-day combination ticket.
Visitors can upgrade their experience with a Snapshots of History tour, offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays (except for December 24) at Jamestown Settlement and Tuesdays and Thursdays at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. These 90-minute tours cost $5 for adults in addition to museum admission and $3 for ages 6-12, and do not require advance reservations. Tours are limited to 25 people.
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. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown, near Yorktown Battlefield and Historic Yorktown. For more information, call (757) 253-4838 or visit jyfmuseums.org/christmastide.