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Jamestown Settlement Exhibition Galleries Refreshed With New Experiences

Experiential Theater, Immersive Displays Enhance the Story of 17th-Century Virginia
Before Jamestown_Powhatan Statue

A statute of Powhatan greets visitors to Jamestown Settlement’s immersive gallery exhibits, refreshed in 2019.

New experiences and engaging exhibits await at Jamestown Settlement, as the stories of real people and events unfold in refreshed permanent exhibition galleries that incorporate new historical research, immersive design and innovative technology to connect visitors with an expanded storyline of early Virginia.

As part of a large-scale $10.6 million phased renovation to the 30,000-square-feet exhibition space completed in 2019, Jamestown Settlement features a new 4-D experiential theater with multi-sensory special effects tells the story of “Bacon’s Rebellion,” a 1676-armed rebellion of Virginia colonists led by Nathaniel Bacon against the rule of Governor William Berkeley.

Expansive gallery exhibits, which debuted on the eve of America’s 400th Anniversary commemoration in 2007, explore the Powhatan Indian, English and west central African cultures that converged in Virginia in the 1600s through artifact-filled cases, dioramas and short films. More than a decade later, new historical research, an expanded collection and technology have been incorporated to gallery exhibits to present history’s events to visitors in new ways.

New Experiences in Jamestown Settlement Exhibition Galleries

Enhanced galleries explore the convergence of Powhatan Indian, English and west central African cultures in 17th-century Virginia, from before the 1607 founding of Jamestown through 1699, when the Virginia capitol moved to Williamsburg. Six major themes are presented: Before Jamestown, Three Cultures, Virginia Company of London, Founding of Jamestown, 1619, and Jamestown 1699.

Bacons Rebellion Theater at Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement’s new 4-D experiential theater with multi-sensory special effects tells the story of “Bacon’s Rebellion,” a 1676-armed rebellion of Virginia colonists led by Nathaniel Bacon against the rule of Governor William Berkeley. The film is shown every 20 minutes throughout the day.

Exhibits feature an expanded collection of more than 500 period objects from Virginia, Europe and Africa – some on display for the first time – including portraits, documents, furnishings, toys, ceremonial and decorative objects, tools and weapons, and archaeological items.

Dioramas and short films are accompanied by engaging interactives that allow visitors to compare and contrast each of the three cultures, examine the impact of 1619 historical events, and hear personal stories shared on monitors and life-size screens.

A new exhibit features Werowocomoco, Virginia’s original “capital” city and the principal residence of Powhatan, paramount chief of 30-some Indian tribes in Virginia’s coastal region at the time English colonists arrived in 1607. In the existing “From Africa to Virginia” theater, three-dimensional panels have been 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.

In November, an innovative exhibit and period artifacts was added to the permanent gallery space to explore the real story of Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, as well as her legend and myth in popular culture.

About the Gallery Refresh

DLR Group of Washington, D.C., served as lead architect, and Gallagher & Associates of Silver Spring, Md., was exhibit designer. Capital Museum Services of Mannassas, Va., was exhibit fabricator. Cortina Productions of McLean, Va., produced the films and interactives in both phases of the project, 2017 and 2019.

The entire gallery enhancement project is funded by a public-private partnership by the Commonwealth of Virginia and private contributions to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc.

About the Museum

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.

Jamestown Settlement, located on Route 31 just south of Williamsburg, is open year-round 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 2020 admission is $17.50 for adults, $8.25 for ages 6-12, and free for children under 6. A value-priced combination ticket and annual pass with the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, is $27.50 for adults and $13.50 for ages 6-12. Parking is free.

For more information about Jamestown Settlement, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or visit historyisfun.org.

Media Contact: Tracy Perkins, (757) 253-4114 or tracy.perkins@jyf.virginia.gov

Images of Jamestown Settlement Gallery Refresh: https://bit.ly/2lkF23H


January 2020