LET THE FUN AND GAMES BEGIN!
‘PASTIMES OF COLONIAL VIRGINIA'
Ever spin a whirligig on a string or roll a hoop with a stick? “Pastimes of Colonial Virginia” – featuring games and amusements of the 17th and 18th centuries – is the focus of interpretive programs at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center throughout the month of August.
Play Period Games in Outdoor Living-History Areas
At Jamestown Settlement, visitors can try a variety of games and activities used by early Virginians not only to pass the time but develop important skills. In the re-created Powhatan Indian village, visitors can test their aim by pitching corncob darts through hoops. On board one of three replica ships, historical interpreters will discuss how America’s first permanent English colonists played games of draughts, or checkers, and wooden dice to amuse themselves on the 1607 voyage to Virginia, and visitors may try their hand at knotwork. In the re-created 1610-14 colonial fort, visitors can ride wooden hobby horses, roll a hoop with a stick, and play ninepins, a bowling game, and quoits, a type of ring toss. Optional 90-minute orientatino tours of the outdoor interpretive areas begin each hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
At the Yorktown Victory Center, visitors to the re-created Continental Army encampment can learn how soldiers used board games such as nine-men’s morris, cards and dice for entertainment during the Revolutionary War. Visitors also can learn how to play “shut the box,” a counting game. At the re-created 1780s farm, visitors can spin whirligigs on a string, try to scoop a ball into a cup, roll a hoop with a stick, jump rope and play trap ball. Visitors also can learn about and play the traditional African game mancala, and see demonstrations of fancy stitchwork of the 1700s, such as samplers.
View Artifacts of Colonial Pastimes in Museum Galleries
The two history museums feature extensive gallery exhibits that tell the story of America’s beginnings. At Jamestown Settlement, gallery exhibits describe traditional recreation and art of the Powhatan Indian, English and west central African cultures that converged in 1600s Virginia. An exhibit about children’s education and play compares examples of 17th-century and modern toys. Among the artifacts in the Yorktown Victory Center’s Witness to Revolution Gallery is a circa 1775 British game box used to play 18th-century card games of quadrille and ombre.
Take Home Your Own Period Game
Many of the activities and games, including corncob darts, nine-men’s morris, ninepins and mancala, are available for purchase in the Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center gift shops.
Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (until 6 p.m. June 15 through August 15). Visitors can save 20% on a combination ticket to both museums: $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 receive complimentary admission. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including the College of William and Mary, receive complimentary admission with proof of residency. Additional ticket and package options and online specials are available with other Williamsburg area attractions, including Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and Art Museums and Busch Gardens.