Jamestown Settlement Exhibition Galleries Refreshed for 2019
Experiential Theater, Immersive Displays to Enhance the Story of 17th-Century Virginia
WILLIAMSBURG, Va., January 2019 – At Jamestown Settlement, exhibit cases in one-third of the museum’s 30,000-square-foot gallery space are undergoing the second phase of a $10.6 million refresh. Curators and registrars have carefully removed some of the museum’s centuries-old treasures and loaned artifacts in sections of the galleries in advance of work that by mid-2019 will expand the storyline of 17th-century Virginia.
Jamestown Settlement is a year-round stage for the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, with a new gallery to expand on historical events marking 400-year milestones, such as the first legislative assembly in the New World, the first recorded Africans in Virginia, and the influx of English women to the Virginia colony, all which occurred in 1619.
Jamestown Settlement’s expansive gallery exhibits, which debuted on the eve of America’s 400th Anniversary commemoration in 2007, explore the Powhatan Indian, English and Angolan cultures that converged in Virginia in the 1600s through artifact-filled cases, dioramas and short films. A decade later, new historical research and new technology are being incorporated to gallery exhibits to present history’s events to visitors in innovative ways, including interactive touch screens, immersive exhibits and a multimedia experiential theater.
The story of “Bacon’s Rebellion” — a 1676 armed rebellion of Virginia colonists led by Nathaniel Bacon against the rule of Governor William Berkeley — will unfold across multimedia screens in a 124-seat Rebellion Theater. Similar to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown’s Siege of Yorktown Theater, visitors will experience the story through multi-sensory special effects and will smell smoke and gunfire, feel arrows fly, feel the heat from the fire burning Jamestown, and hear the sound of a swarm of flies seen as an omen before the rebellion.
In the existing “From Africa to Virginia” theater, three-dimensional panels will be added along with new information on the arrival of the first recorded Africans in 1619 and the growth in slavery through 1699, when Virginia’s capital moved inland to Williamsburg. Exhibits also will include new research about Powhatan’s capital at Werowocomoco and Pocahontas.
The first phase of gallery enhancement, completed in 2017 for $2 million, featured the addition of an interactive technology wall that allows visitors to compare and contrast each culture’s language, religion, government, economy, family structure, recreation and art, as well as hear personal stories shared on monitors and life-size screens. The second phase is estimated at $8.6 million.
DLR Architects of Washington, D.C., is lead architect. Gallagher & Associates of Silver Spring, Md., is exhibit designer. Cortina Productions of McLean, Va., is producing the films and interactives in the exhibition galleries during both phases of the project.
Jamestown Settlement is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round. 2019 admission is $17.50 for adults and $8.25 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. A value-priced combination ticket with the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, is $26.00 for adults and $12.50 for ages 6-12. Parking is free.
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. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or visit www.historyisfun.org.