Jamestown Settlement Gallery Exhibits Get a Touch of Technology
WILLIAMSBURG, Va., 2017 – At Jamestown Settlement, visitors this year are experiencing new interactive gallery exhibits exploring the Powhatan Indian, English and Angolan cultures that converged in Virginia in the 1600s.
As part of a phased gallery enhancement, an interactive technology wall allows visitors to compare and contrast each culture’s language, religion, government, economy, family structure, recreation and art. Visitors encounter personal stories on monitors and life-size screens throughout the gallery.
Jamestown Settlement’s expansive gallery exhibits debuted in 2006 in time for America’s 400th Anniversary commemoration in 2007, and are now being refreshed a decade later with new technology and new information.
“We want to engage visitors in a more active way,” explained Bly Straube, a Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation consulting curator assisting with the Jamestown Settlement gallery enhancement. “New research and archaeological evidence over the past 10 years will be integrated in gallery exhibits, along with better lighting and larger exhibit labels.”
The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation worked with Cortina Productions of McLean, Va., to develop new innovative technology to incorporate in Jamestown Settlement gallery settings. Cortina Productions produced the films and interactives in exhibition galleries that debuted in October 2016 at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. HealyKohler Design and Design and Production, both of Washington, D.C., are supporting design and fabrication of gallery enhancements.
In the first section of the Jamestown Settlement gallery, a new interactive game introduces visitors to cultural aspects of the Powhatan Indian, English and Angolan before the three groups met in Virginia. An overhead monitor displays the image or activity on a center screen, allowing educators and tour guides to share the experience with large groups.
One of the exhibit cases incorporates a transparent monitor that allows visitors to select layers of information about the displayed items. Nine objects representing each culture’s jewelry, music and artistic expressions are exhibited behind the interactive screen that, with a tap, visitors can manipulated to access digitally-enhanced content.
Films with short vignettes from the lives of individuals representing each of the three cultures at Jamestown are shown in select areas of the galleries. A film projected on a life-sized screen in the partial re-creation of the Susan Constant, the largest of the three ships to carry English colonists to Jamestown in 1607, allows visitors insight to the experiences of passengers on the initial voyage. Smells, sounds and a room – crowded with bedding, cargo and a cannon – add to the visitor’s immersive experience. Midway through the gallery, visitors encounter one of the English characters from the ship, a Powhatan Indian woman and an Angolan man and learn about life in 1620 Virginia.
The first phase of the gallery enhancement is $2 million, funded through the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation maintenance reserve. The second phase of the gallery project, to be completed in time for the 2019 Commemoration, will incorporate enhancements to the permanent gallery, including a large-scale multi-media presentation.
The 2019 Commemoration will mark the 400th anniversary of the first representative legislative assembly in the New World, arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, observance of the first official Thanksgiving, and the expanding impact of women on the Virginia Colony.
Jamestown Settlement is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round. 2017 admission is $17.00 for adults and $8.00 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. A value-priced combination ticket with the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, is $23.00 for adults and $12.00 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.
Tracy Perkins, (757) 253-4114
Bob Jeffrey, (757) 253-4011