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Origins of American Democracy

July 1 - August 1, 2019
Jamestown Settlement Commemorates the 400th Anniversary of the 1619 First Legislative Assembly with Exhibits, Lecture, Monthlong Programs & Events

Public Invited to See Original ‘Proceedings of the First General Assembly’ on Loan from National Archives of the United Kingdom

This July, Jamestown Settlement will offer monthlong interpretive programs, interactive experiences and events exploring the origins of American democracy and a special three-month exhibit commemorating the 400th anniversary of the 1619 first General Assembly, the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere.

Origins of American Democracy” monthlong programs July 1 to August 1 will feature museum gallery exhibits and interpretive living-history programs exploring the various forms of governmental rule that evolved at Jamestown leading to the formation of the first representative legislative assembly in 1619.

Page 1 'Proceedings of the First General Assembly ,' July 30, 1619, Courtesy of the National Archives of the UK

“Proceedings of the First General Assembly,” July 30, 1619, by John Pory. Courtesy of the National Archives of the United Kingdom.

An exhibit featuring the original minutes of the first legislative assembly that convened July 30, 1619 — on loan for the first time in America in 400 years from The National Archives of the United Kingdom — will be available for public viewing at Jamestown Settlement from July 1 through September 30.

The month culminates with “Democracy Weekend” on July 27 and 28 that will allow visitors to take part in themed tours, interpretive programs and military exercises honoring the first assembly of 20 “burgesses” who convened at Jamestown. Discuss Powhatan Indian politics in the re-created village, learn about the rule of law at the re-created Anglican church or join in a drill to defend the colony at the re-created James Fort.

Daytime special programs and events, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., are included with museum general admission: $17.50 for adults and $8.25 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. Tickets and packages are available with other Williamsburg attractions. Admission for local residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including the College of William and Mary.


Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement, an official partner of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, is a year-round stage for special exhibitions, events and programs honoring the 400th anniversary of key historical events in Virginia in 1619.

Jamestown Settlement, administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, features world-class exhibitions, immersive galleries and films, and interactive living-history experiences in re-creations of a Powhatan Indian village, three 1607 ships and a 1610-14 fort. The museum connects visitors with the lives of the Powhatan, English and west central African cultures that converged at 17th-century Jamestown.

Located on State Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg, Virginia and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (until 6 p.m. June 15-August 15), museum admission is $17.50 for adults, $8.25 for ages 6-12, and free for children under 6. A value-priced combination ticket with the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is $26.00 for adults and $12.50 for ages 6-12. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg, including College of William and Mary students, receive free admission with proof of residency. Parking is free. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838.