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November 2, 2007


 WILLIAMSBURG, Va.–The third cycle of the special exhibition “The World of 1607,” in place until mid-January at Jamestown Settlement, explores the parallel development of the cities of Edo (Tokyo) and Paris, scientific measurement, perspectives on people from distant lands, the transmission of knowledge, the impact of theater on British identity, the beginnings of museums as cabinets of curiosity, and literature promoting colonization.

The one-year exhibition, introduced with a short video presentation, debuted in April at Jamestown Settlement, a state-operated museum of 17th-century Virginia, as a signature event of the 400th-anniversary commemoration of the founding of Jamestown.  “The World of 1607,” which runs through April 9, 2008, was developed in collaboration with internationally recognized scholars who explored aspects of the intellectual and cultural life of peoples around the globe at the beginning of the modern era for 28 themes.  The exhibition is divided into four cycles, each approximately three months in duration. 

More than 70 artifacts on loan from museums and private collections in Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States illustrate the seven themes in the third cycle.  A Japanese tea cabinet, a European narwhal tusk goblet, a West African ivory trumpet and a South American feather head-garland are among an assortment of objects from the 17th-century Royal Danish Kunstkammer provided by the National Museum of Denmark.  Examples from English “cabinets of curiosities” also are in the exhibition.  “A cravat, a shass or girdle, and a small pair of gaiters of curious work, by the inhabitants of the north-west … of America …” – as described by 17th-century collector John Bargrave – from the Canterbury Cathedral are exhibited alongside North American objects collected by the Tradescant family, from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

Seventeenth-century Paris is brought to life with a group of engravings depicting tradespeople and an oil painting of the Place Royale, whose construction was authorized by King Henri IV, from the Musee Carnavalet.  Period maps illustrate the size and complexity of the cities of Paris and of Edo at the time the Virginia colony was becoming firmly established.

The exhibition features a 1600 portrait of the Moorish ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I, on loan from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and a circa-1700 portrait of Pocahontas, probably after a contemporary engraving, from the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. 

A late 17th- or early 18th-century copy of the famous “Chandos” portrait that may depict English playwright and poet William Shakespeare has been loaned by the Folger Shakespeare Library along with the first published collection of Shakespeare’s plays.  A circa 1595-1605 painting “The Actors,” showing Italian actors from the Commedia dell Arte, is on loan from the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. 

Etchings by Wenceslaus Hollar, most from the Folger Shakespeare Library, depict individuals from Europe, Africa and North America.

An assortment of 16th- and 17th-century books on scientific, botanical, religious, historical and exploration subjects, many on loan from the Library of Congress, are exhibited.  A South American knotted fiber quipu dating to 1400, from the Logan Museum of Anthropology at Beloit College, illustrates how people of the Andes recorded information.

The Istituto e Museo de Storia della Scienza in Florence, Italy, has loaned a replica of one of two surviving telescopes of Galileo Galilei, as well as a mariner’s astrolabe from 1608 and other measuring instruments.        

The third exhibition cycle of “The World of 1607” will continue until mid-January.  Jamestown Settlement is located at State Route 31 and the Colonial Parkway adjacent to Historic Jamestowne, site of the 1607 settlement.  Jamestown Settlement is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  Admission is $13.50 for adults, $6.25 for children ages 6-12.  A combination ticket and annual pass are available with the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution.  For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838 or visit hif.ciniva.net.