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'Jamestown Day' at Jamestown Settlement & Historic Jamestowne Marks 412th Anniversary of America's first permanent English colony

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., April 24, 2019 — On Saturday, May 11, Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne will offer a range of programs marking the 412th anniversary of the 1607 founding of America’s first permanent English settlement. “Jamestown Day” features one of Jamestown Settlement’s ships sailing in the James River and Historic Jamestowne’s ongoing archaeological discoveries of the 1607 fort. A variety of family-friendly interpretive programs on Powhatan and English culture and technology, as well as military and maritime demonstrations will take place at both sites.

“Jamestown Day” is sponsored by Jamestown Settlement, a livinghistory museum of 17thcentury Virginia administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, in partnership with Historic Jamestowne, site of the original 1607 settlement jointly administered by the National Park Service and Jamestown Rediscovery on behalf of Preservation Virginia.

While there is separate admission to Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne, a four-site value ticket to Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement, as well as Yorktown Battlefield and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, is available on “Jamestown Day” and throughout the year.

Jamestown Settlement's Godspeed at Jamestown Day - Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation photo

Jamestown Settlement’s Godspeed will demonstrate sailing maneuvers on Jamestown Day, May 11, weather permitting.

Jamestown Settlement

At the ships’ pier, visitors can see re-creations of the ships – designated “the official fleet of the Commonwealth” – that brought English colonists to Virginia in 1607. Weather permitting, an artillery salute on Saturday, May 11, will mark the 10 a.m. departure of the Godspeed to set sail in the James River. Visitors can board and explore the Susan Constant. Special programs and demonstrations will include 17th-century navigation, the evolution of the 1619 legislative assembly, military drills, and Powhatan Indian and English weaponry and fire-starting. Visitors can explore gallery exhibits, including interactive displays that compare and contrast the Powhatan Indian, English and Angolan cultures that converged in 1600s Virginia, and the yearlong special exhibition, “TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia,” a legacy project of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution.

In conjunction with the “TENACITY” special exhibition, Jamestown Settlement will present an evening premiere of “Mother Tongue,” an original play written by Abigail Schumann, at 7:30 p.m. May 10-11 and May 16-18. The play explores the stories of three women of Jamestown – Matoaka, Anne Burras Laydon and Angelo – as they come together to consider if, and how, the future will remember them and why it matters. “Mother Tongue” tickets are $20, and separate from “Jamestown Day” daytime admission.

Jamestown Day at Historic Jamestowne - Jamestown Rediscovery Project photo

Jamestown Day at Historic Jamestowne features a ongoing archeological discoveries of the 1607 fort site. Jamestown Rediscovery photo.

Historic Jamestowne

“Jamestown Day” at Historic Jamestowne on Saturday, May 11, will feature tours, demonstrations and ongoing archaeological excavations of the 1607 James Fort, allowing guests to share in the moments of discovery while interacting with archaeologists on site. Guests can meet English colonist Temperance Yeardley and interact with an American Indian interpreter. A variety of ranger tours and programs highlighting the history of the first settlement will be available throughout the day, including costumed glassblowers at the Glasshouse showcasing one of America’s first industries.

On Sunday, May 12, Historic Jamestowne will offer opportunities to tour the Visitor Center, the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium Museum, Memorial Church, Glasshouse, and, at 10 a.m., 12:30 and 3 p.m., take part in programs with a first-person interpreter portraying John Rolfe.

Separate Admission to Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne

There is a separate admission fee to visit Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement. Free parking is available at both sites. Admission to Jamestown Settlement, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, is $17.50 for adults and $8.25 for ages 6 through 12, and free for children under 6. 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.

Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Historic Jamestowne adult admission is $20.00 and includes Yorktown Battlefield. National Parks passes and Preservation Virginia memberships are accepted, but a $5.00 fee may apply for entrance to Historic Jamestowne. Children under age 16 are admitted free.

four-site value ticket, available at Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, is $46.00 for adults, $30.00 for ages 13-15 and $16.50 for ages 6-12 and offers seven consecutive days of admission to all four sites: Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and Yorktown Battlefield.

For more information about Historic Jamestowne, call (757) 856-1250 or (757) 898-2410 or visit www.historicjamestowne.org or www.nps.gov/colo.  For more information about Jamestown Settlement, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or visit jyfmuseums.org. For more information about the Jamestown Day event and activities, visit jyfmuseums.org/jamestown-settlement/jamestown-day/.



9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Explore Museum Galleries. Enjoy an introductory film, “1607: A Nation Takes Root,” and tour gallery exhibits, featuring period artifacts and interactive displays, which tell the Jamestown story in the context of the Powhatan Indian, English and African cultures that converged in the 1600s.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: “TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia” Special Exhibition. This yearlong 2019 Legacy Project explores little-known, captivating personal stories of real women in Jamestown and the early Virginia colony and their tenacious spirit and impact on a fledgling society. See rare documents and artifacts in America for the first time and interactives that bring their stories to life. 

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Living-History Interpretive Demonstrations. Visit the re-created Powhatan Indian village, 1607 ships and colonial fort where costumed historical interpreters present handson programs and demonstrations, including cooking, navigation and matchlock musket firing. 

10 a.m.: Jamestown Settlement’s Godspeed Sets Sail. An artillery salute from the Susan Constant signals the departure of the Godspeed to demonstrate sailing maneuvers on the James River through midafternoon. Best viewing is from the riverfront discovery area, weather permitting.

11 a.m.: The Rule of Law. Inside the Anglican church in Jamestown Settlement’s re-created fort, learn about the various forms of governmental rule that evolved at Jamestown during the Virginia Company period that led to the formation of the first representative legislative assembly in the New World in 1619.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Life in the James River. Visit with our friends from the Virginia Living Museum and help them discover some of the tiniest wildlife off the ships’ pier.

1 p.m.: Celestial Navigation. At the ships’ pier, take a “noon sighting” and learn how English sailors navigated across the ocean in the 17th century.

2 p.m.: Defending the Colony. At Jamestown, every man was also a soldier. In the re-created 1610-14 fort, join in with the soldiers to get first-hand training to defend the colony.

3 p.m.: Comparative Fire Starting. Fire was a crucial tool for daily survival in the 17th century. In the re-created Powhatan Indian village, discover the techniques that English colonists and Powhatan Indians would have used to spark a flame and start a fire 400 years ago.

4 p.m.: Comparative Weaponry. Musket or bow, tomahawk or sword? Jamestown Settlement historical interpreters compare and contrast 17th-century weapons in a field behind the re-created 1610-14 fort. 


9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:  Explore America’s Birthplace. Discover the story of Jamestown by touring the Visitor Center exhibition gallery and the Natalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium Museum, Memorial Church, and archaeological site of the 1607 James Fort, and the waysides of New Towne.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:  Free Enterprise and Early Industries. Experience the work of craftsmen at the Glasshouse and James Fort site as they demonstrate historic trades that were practiced during Jamestown’s earliest years. (Glassmaking from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; blacksmithing and coopering from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.: New Exhibit! “From Fort to Port: Legacies of 1619.”  Explore the tobacco boom in Virginia, Jamestown’s development from a fort to a port, as well as the exploitation of Africans, Virginia Indians, and indentured servants in this new gallery exhibit at the Natalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium Museum.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: New Exhibit! “In the Footsteps of Democracy.”  Visit the Memorial Church as our “re-interpretation” work continues to better showcase the site’s original 1617-18 church and its foundations – which was the meeting place for the first representative government in English America. Stand on the exact spot where the first General Assembly was held in 1619 and our nation’s democracy began.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Hands on the Past! at “The Ed Shed.” The Ed Shed is an interactive space where kids and families can share in the moment of discovery and examine real artifacts found at the site. Enjoy an array of hands-on activities, such as pottery mending or screening for artifacts, to learn more about the importance of archaeology and conservation.

10 a.m. to 12 noon & 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.:  Kid’s Dig Historic Jamestowne. This “field work” for children will be focused around a simulated archaeology dig. Here, kids will practice digging techniques, participate in screening activities and develop the knowledge necessary to identify archaeological features, artifacts and stratigraphy.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: “The Buried Truth.” Share in the moment of discovery at the original 1607 James Fort. Meet the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists and learn about ongoing excavations and the latest discoveries.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Native Lifeways of the Chesapeake. Meet Dan Firehawk Abbott of the Nanticoke people of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and learn about the material culture and life ways of the Tidewater Algonquians and their interactions with the settlers of Jamestown.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Forged in History. Blacksmithing was one of the earliest trades to be practiced at Jamestown. Join blacksmiths Shel Browder and Steve Mankowski for demonstrations and a discussion of the types of work that went on at the site of the original James Fort forge.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: A New Life in the New World. Learn first-hand about the trials of the first English settlers and their experiences exploring the Chesapeake from Anas Todkill, one of the settlers that explored the bay with Capt. John Smith.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “Hoops and Staves.” Join cooper Marshall Scheetz as he demonstrates traditional methods and tools in creating buckets, barrels and casks. While the technology of coopering (making wooden storage containers) has existed for over 3,000 years, at Jamestown casks were once used to transport precious cargo such as wine, beer, tobacco, sugar, and salt. Every household had a need for wooden buckets and tubs.

10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. Meet Temperance Yeardley. Join Lady Yeardley as she welcomes new colonists and shares the challenges of her past 10 years in Virginia. Arriving on the Falcon in August 1609, she was one of only 60 survivors of her first winter, referred to as “the starving time.” Having just returned from England with her husband Sir George Yeardley – the newly appointed (and knighted) Governor of Virginia, she may offer insights into rumored changes that the Virginia Company has instructed her husband to make… rumors of a representative government and land ownership!

11 a.m. and 1 p.m.: Archaeology Walking Tour of James Fort. Join an archaeologist for an in-depth tour of the 1607 fort site and learn about this season’s excavations and new discoveries.

11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.: Ranger Walking Tour. Take a guided Park Ranger tour to gain unique perspectives on the history of Jamestown. Tours also available at same times on Sunday, May 12.

2 p.m.: First Africans Walking Tour. This walking tour of “New Towne” will focus on the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia in 1619. Of the nine Africans listed at Jamestown by 1625, only one was identified by name – a woman named Angela, also referred to as Angelo in historical records. Recent archaeology has investigated the site of where Angela lived and worked. The story of African Americans at Jamestown goes beyond 1619.

3:15 p.m.: Angela’s Story. Meet one of the earliest Africans who lived on Jamestown Island as she recalls her former home in Angola and the new world she was brought to live in. Program follows the First Africans Walking Tour at the benches near the Hunt Shrine.