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403rd Anniversary of America's First Permament English Colony Observed May 15 at Historic Jamestowne & Jamestown Settlement

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., April 26, 2010 – Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement will mark the 403rd anniversary of the 1607 founding in Virginia of America’s first permanent English settlement with ceremony, military and maritime demonstrations, and traditional music, dance and entertainment.

“Jamestown Day,” on Saturday, May 15, is jointly sponsored by Historic Jamestowne, site of the original 1607 settlement administered by Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service, and Jamestown Settlement, a living-history museum of 17th-century Virginia administered by the state’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

“Jamestown Day” at Historic Jamestowne includes a special ceremony with descendants of Virginia Indians and Jamestown colonists commemorating the peoples present at the 1607 founding, a program of early 17th-century European music by the Wren Masters and 17th-century military demonstrations.  Visitors can also experience the work of craftsmen at the Glasshouse and James Fort as they demonstrate the attempt to establish industries at Jamestown.  Historic Jamestowne includes a Visitor Center with museum and multi-media theater presentation, the ongoing archaeological excavation of the original 1607 James Fort, the reproduction 1608 Glasshouse, and walking and driving tours of the historic site.

Highlights of “Jamestown Day” events at Jamestown Settlement are the mid-morning departure of the Godspeed, a replica of one of the three ships that brought colonists to Virginia in 1607, to sail in the James River, dedication of a sculpture depicting wind-blown sails in the museum’s Quadricentennial Plaza, and showings of the A&E Television Networks History documentary “Godspeed to Jamestown.”  Family entertainment – puppet shows, games and music of the 1600s – will be presented, as well as visitor-participatory military drills.  May 15 also marks the opening of “Werowocomoco: Seat of Power,” the first museum exhibit of artifacts from the site that was the capital of the Powhatan chiefdom in 1607.  Jamestown Settlement museum offers a film, expansive indoor gallery exhibits and outdoor re-creations of a Powhatan Indian village, an English fort, and the three ships that brought the settlers to Virginia – Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery.

Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement are located along Route 31, Jamestown Road, just ten minutes from Williamsburg.  Operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  Admission to Historic Jamestowne is $10.00 for people over age 15, free for people under 16.  Jamestown Settlement admission is $14.00 for adults and $6.50 for ages 6 through 12, free for children under 6.  A combination ticket is available for Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Battlefield and the Yorktown Victory Center.  Parking is free.  Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown are connected by the free Historic Triangle Shuttle.  Free transportation between the Jamestown sites is available on the Jamestown Area Shuttle and among Yorktown sites on the Yorktown Trolley.

For more information about Historic Jamestowne, call (757) 898-2410 or visit www.historicjamestowne.org.  For more information about Jamestown Settlement, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or visit hif.ciniva.net.



All Day:  Explore Historic Jamestowne-America’s Birthplace.  Discover the story of Jamestown by touring the Visitor Center exhibition gallery and the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium Museum, visiting the Memorial Church and archaeological site and exploring the streets and waysides of New Towne.

All Day:  Free Enterprise and Early Industries.  Experience the work of craftsmen at the Glasshouse and 1607 James Fort site as they demonstrate the attempt to establish the glassmaking and iron smelting industries during the earliest part of Jamestown’s history.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.:  “The Buried Truth.”  Share in the moment of discovery when you walk through the palisade as archaeologists uncover the rediscovered original 1607 James Fort site.  Interpreters will be on duty at the excavation site throughout the day to provide information.

10 a.m., noon and 2:00 p.m.:  Meet Early Settlers.  Meet John Rolfe and Mistress Joan Pierce for a walking tour to learn about the settlement’s bleak early years through improving conditions and the meeting of the first General Assembly.

11 a.m., 1 and 2:30 p.m.:  English Firelocks.  Watch the St. Maries Citty Militia, a 17th-century re-enactment group, as they demonstrate weapons used by the English colonists.  Hear the crack of the musket fire and see the battlefield smoke these weapons create.  Demonstrations also will be presented on Sunday, May 16.

2 p.m.:  Early Music.  Visit the Memorial Church as the Wren Masters perform a program of early baroque music of 17th-century Europe that provides a sharp contrast of England’s refinements to the grave realities of the New World.

3 p.m.:  Virginia Indian Presentation.  Falling Water Drum, an intertribal Native American group, performs traditional and authentic drumming and chanting.

4 p.m.:  Jamestown Commemorative Ceremony.  Guest speaker Stephen Adkins, chief of the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, will address visitors and a gathering of descendants of Virginia Indians and Jamestown colonists during a special ceremony commemorating the peoples present at Jamestown’s founding.


All Day:  Museum Galleries and Special Exhibition.  Expansive gallery exhibits tell the Jamestown story in the context of the Powhatan Indian, English and African cultures that converged in the 1600s.  More than 500 artifacts from 17th-century Europe and Africa and Virginia archaeological items are shown. The six-month special exhibition “Werowocomoco: Seat of Power” debuts, featuring recent archaeological research at the site that was the early 17th-century capital of Virginia’s Powhatan Indians.

All Day:  Hands-on History and Interpretive Demonstrations.  Visit the re-created Powhatan Indian village, 1607 ships and colonial fort, and a riverfront discovery area to experience hands-on programs and presentations, including canoe making, navigation and musket firing.

All Day:  17th-Century Pastimes.  Join in fun and games of the 17th century, including hoop rolling, hobby horse racing, whirligigs, bowls, ninepins, stilt walking and quoits.

9:15 and 11:15 a.m., 1:15 and 4 p.m.:  “Godspeed to Jamestown.”  A documentary from A&E Television Networks History chronicles the construction of the replica Godspeed from 2004 to 2006.

9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.:  Militia Drill.  Join the militia to learn how to drill the 17th-century way.

10 a.m.:  Godspeed Sets Sail.  A cannon salute signals the departure of the replica Godspeed from the ships’ pier to demonstrate sailing maneuvers in the James River.  (Weather permitting.)

10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.:  Music from City, Court and Country.  Learn about and listen to English music of the 17th century with Renaissance music performer and scholar John Tyson on recorder and Miyuki Tsurutani on harpsichord.

11 a.m.:  Quadricentennial Plaza Sculpture Dedication.  A massive bronze sculpture depicting three ship masts and wind-blown sails, with sculptor David H. Turner on hand, will be dedicated at Jamestown Settlement’s Quadricentennial Plaza, an outdoor flag-lined space adjacent to the museum entrance.  The sculpture is located in a circular fountain, where jets of water splash up toward the sails.

11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.:  17th-Century Fair.  Music, juggling and magic culminate in a 1600s-style puppet show.

11:45 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.:  17th-Century Music.  David Gardner, award-winning fiddler, performs popular music of the 17th century.

1 and 2:30 p.m.:  Artillery.  Drill with a 17th-century swivel gun crew, then step back and cover your ears as the historical interpreters fire the weapon on the museum mall.  (Weather permitting.)

2:15 p.m.:  The History of Spirituals.  Guitarist Calvin Earl performs spirituals of the Old South and recounts their history.