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Make the Solar Eclipse a History Event at Jamestown Settlement, American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., August 17, 2017 – Looking for an eclipse activity rooted in history? Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, living-history museums of 17th- and 18th-century Virginia, will present eclipse demonstrations at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, August 21, minutes before the partial solar eclipse is projected across the North American continent to Virginia at 2:46 p.m. The programs are weather dependent.

Jamestown Settlement - 17th c. backstaff navigation tool

A Jamestown Settlement historical interpreter at the ships’ pier shows a visitor how to use a backstaff, a navigational tool used in the 17th century to measure the altitude of the sun or moon by the projection of a shadow. When observing the sun, users kept the sun to their back and observed the shadow cast by the upper vane on a horizon vane.

At the Jamestown Settlement ships’ pier and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown drill field, visitors can learn to make simple card projectors, using two pieces of paper and a thumbtack, to view the solar eclipse. Visitors are encouraged not to look at the sun, but face away from the sun and use the card or pinhole projector to safely view the solar eclipse.

During the 15-minute demonstration, historical interpreters will present historical accounts of eclipses and how astronomical discoveries advanced the understanding of celestial navigation and the ability to accurately pinpoint longitude on land and, more than a century later, how high and low pressure systems impacted weather patterns.

The program is included with general museum admission to Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

A value-priced combination ticket to both museums is $23.00 for adults and $12.00 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $17.00 for adults and $8.00 for ages 6-12 and, to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, $12.00 for adults, $7.00 for ages 6-12. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including College of William and Mary students, receive free admission to both museums with proof of residency. Parking is free.

Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown are administered by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, an educational agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 at the Colonial Parkway. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. For more information, call (757) 253-4838, or visit www.historyisfun.org.