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New Discovery Joins Jamestown Settlement Fleet

February 13, 2007 


WILLIAMSBURG, Va.–Following a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, February 17, Jamestown Settlement’s new Discovery will open for the first time to museum visitors.

The Discovery is a re-creation of the smallest of three ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607 and, along with the Susan Constant and Godspeed, is an exhibit at Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia operated by the state’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

The dedication event at the Jamestown Settlement ships’ pier will include brief remarks, an artillery salute and raising of the ship’s flags.

The $1.97-million Discovery was built for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation by Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  Last year a new Godspeed joined the Jamestown Settlement fleet and participated in the inaugural event of “America’s 400th Anniversary,” sailing to six East Coast ports.  The designs of both new vessels were based on research of 17th-century ships commissioned by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and the historically documented cargo capacities of the original Discovery and Godspeed.  Private gifts and grants – including grants from the Robins, Norfolk and Mary Morton Parsons foundations and federal transportation enhancement grants awarded through the Virginia Department of Transportation – and Virginia state funds underwrote the research, design and construction of the two new ships.

The re-created Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery will travel to the Chesapeake Bay in late April and will be located off First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach April 26 and 27 during an event commemorating the 400th anniversary of the first North American landfall of the original three ships in 1607.  The ships also will sail in the James River on May 12, during “America’s Anniversary Weekend” (May 11-13), within sight of visitors at Jamestown Settlement.

The Godspeed will make goodwill visits to 15 Virginia ports in 2007, from Richmond to Onancock.

The new Godspeed’s predecessor, renamed Elizabeth, a ship known to have made several voyages from England to Virginia between 1613 and 1625, will remain at Jamestown Settlement throughout 2007 for visitors to board and explore.

The new Discovery and Godspeed are elements of a revitalization of Jamestown Settlement’s living-history areas in time for the 400th anniversary commemoration of the founding of Jamestown.  Significant enhancements have taken place at the museum’s re-created 17th-century Powhatan Indian village and 1610-1614 English fort.  A riverfront discovery area introduced in 2003 compares technology of the Powhatan, English and African cultures that converged in 17th-century Virginia.  A new introductory film and 30,000-square-foot exhibition galleries debuted in October 2006.

Jamestown Settlement, located on Route 31 southwest of Williamsburg, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  Admission is $13.50 for adults and $6.25 for children ages 6 through 12.  A separate admission ticket is required for Jamestown Settlement and special transportation arrangements apply during “America’s Anniversary Weekend,” May 11-13.  For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838.