Enjoy Interpretive Programs and Period Musical Performances Safely this Holiday Season
WILLIAMSBURG, Va., December 11, 2020 — Celebrate the holiday season with historical festivities during “Christmastide in Virginia” December 19-31 at Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Experience 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions through interpretive programs and demonstrations, and enjoy festive fun with period musical entertainment, all from a safe social distance.
Outdoor living-history areas at both museums are open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, and expansive indoor exhibition galleries, interactives and films are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At Jamestown Settlement, special interpretive programs will compare and contrast English Christmas customs of the period with how the season may have been observed in the difficult early years of America’s first permanent English colony.
Outdoors, Christmastide activities allow visitors to learn about the Jamestown colony’s early years as well as the English colonists’ Christmas at sea in December 1606, and the Powhatan Indian hospitality shown to Captain John Smith’s trading party in 1608 during a winter storm. In the re-created Paspahegh Town, historical interpreters will present ongoing demonstrations on typical winter activities, including food preservation and hunting tools and techniques. At the re-created James Fort, visitors can see wattle-and-daub buildings decorated with greenery and demonstrations of fancy cooking.
Period musical entertainment, offered at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day in the center of the fort, will be interspersed with appearances by the Lord of Misrule, known in England as the “grand captain of all mischief.” Performances will feature fiddler David Gardner on Dec. 19-20, 24, 26, 30 and 31, along with caroling and period music by Rebecca Suerdieck on Dec. 21-23 and 27-29.
At the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, visitors to the outdoor living-history areas can hear accounts of Christmas and winter in military encampments during the Revolutionary War. Learn about winter camp life in the Continental Army encampment, including cooking rations over an earthen kitchen, and observe flintlock musket demonstrations throughout the day.
At the Revolution-era farm adorned with greenery, historical interpreters will compare and contrast 18th-century holiday traditions with those of modern times and demonstrate a variety of holiday activities, including setting the farmhouse table for a holiday feast and open-hearth cooking of period dishes in the farm kitchen.
At 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day, visitors can enjoy the sounds of Christmas through traditional carols and musical performances, featuring the Fifes & Drums of York Town on Dec. 19, 22-24, 26, and 30-31, and musician Carson Hudson on Dec. 20-21 and 27-29.
Special event activities are made possible in part by James City County, York County Arts Commission and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc. Annual Fund.
Holiday Shopping in Museum Stores
In time for holiday shopping, museum gift shops extend the visitor experience and offer a unique selection of books, prints, museum reproductions, hand-made gifts, educational toys, games and souvenirs relating to the 17th and 18th centuries. Admission is not required to visit the museum gift shops, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and online shopping is available at shophistoryisfun.com.
Visit the Museums
“Christmastide in Virginia” event activities are included with general admission and have been adapted to ensure the health and safety of everyone with new protective protocols. Admission tickets can be purchased online on the eStore or in person, and a variety of tickets are available with Williamsburg area attractions.
In 2020, a value-priced combination ticket to both museums is $27.50 for adults and $13.50 for ages 6-12, and when purchased online, offers seven days of unlimited admission. Single-site admission to Jamestown Settlement is $17.50 for adults and $8.25 for ages 6-12, and to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is $15.25 for adults and $7.75 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. Admission is free for residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg with proof of residency. Private tours are available at both museums for 14 people or less with advance reservations. Parking is free at both museums.
Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed Christmas and New Year’s days. Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 near the Colonial Parkway in James City County, just southwest of Williamsburg and adjacent to Historic Jamestowne. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown, near Yorktown Battlefield and Historic Yorktown. For more information, call (757) 253-4838 or visit jyfmuseums.org.