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January 28, 2010 

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Artifacts from Virginia’s original “capital” city, on museum display for the first time, and a rare July 1776 broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence are among the treasures in store for visitors to Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center in 2010.

The two year-round living-history museums tell the story of America’s beginnings, from the 1607 arrival of America’s first permanent English colonists in the midst of Virginia’s Powhatan chiefdom to the emergence of a new nation almost two centuries later with the promise of the American Revolution realized in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

“Werowocomoco: Seat of Power,” a six-month special exhibition opening May 15 at Jamestown Settlement, will feature for the first time in a museum setting archaeological artifacts from the site that served as a Virginia Indian political and social center for centuries and was the principal residence of Powhatan, the paramount chief of 30-some Indian tribes in Virginia’s coastal region at the time English colonists arrived in 1607.  The exhibition will examine the relationship between material culture and political authority in the region from prehistoric times through the early years of the 17th century and what Werowocomoco means to descendent Virginia Indian communities today.  “Virginia Indian Heritage Day” will be held June 26 in conjunction with the exhibition, featuring panel discussions and presentations of intertribal dancing and drumming.

Jamestown Settlement’s expansive permanent exhibition galleries and introductory film chronicle 17th-century Virginia in the context of its Powhatan Indian, English and west central African cultures and examine the impact of the Jamestown settlement.

A recently acquired early broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence is on exhibit at the Yorktown Victory Center along with other American Revolution period artifacts in the museum’s permanent exhibition galleries.  The historic document was printed in Boston soon after the Declaration was adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, and before an engrossed, or handwritten, copy on parchment was signed by members of Congress on August 2, 1776.

Historically based outdoor interpretive areas – re-created Powhatan Indian village, 1607 English ships and 1610-1614 fort and a seasonal riverfront discovery area at Jamestown Settlement, and re-created Continental Army encampment and 1780s farm at the Yorktown Victory Center – are settings for daily demonstrations and interaction with costumed historical interpreters as well as periodic special events.

Three events mark important milestones in the nation’s history.  “Jamestown Day” at Jamestown Settlement on May 15, jointly sponsored with Historic Jamestowne, commemorates the 403rd anniversary of the founding of America’s first permanent English colony.  At the Yorktown Victory Center, “Liberty Celebration” on July 3 and 4 salutes the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and “Yorktown Victory Celebration” on October 16 and 17 is held in conjunction with the 229th anniversary of the decisive military victory of the American Revolution.

The popular annual event “Military Through the Ages,” with re-enactment groups spanning the centuries, will take place March 20 and 21 at Jamestown Settlement.  Both Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center will feature historical Virginia foodways during “Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia” November 25-27 and 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions during “A Colonial Christmas” December 1 through January 3, 2011.
During three months, interpretive programs will focus on themes:  “From Africa to Virginia” at Jamestown Settlement in February and, at both museums, “Tools of the Trade” in June and “Pastimes of Colonial Virginia” in August.

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 value-priced combination ticket for both museums, offering close to 20 percent off separate admissions, is $19.25 for adults, $9.25 for ages 6-12.  Jamestown Settlement admission is $14.00 for adults, $6.50 for ages 6-12.  Yorktown Victory Center admission is $9.50 for adults, $5.25 for ages 6-12.  An annual pass also is available.  Parking at the museums is free.

Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 South at the Colonial Parkway next to Historic Jamestowne, administered by Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service.  The Yorktown Victory Center is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown near Yorktown Battlefield, administered by the National Park Service.  The museums are a short distance from Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and Museums, and other attractions. 

Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center admission is included in several Williamsburg area joint tickets and vacation packages.  A free seasonal shuttle service connects the Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown destinations.

For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838 or visit hif.ciniva.net.