WILLIAMSBURG, Va., April 24, 2009 – From a morning ship departure and discovery program with a NASA astronaut at Jamestown Settlement to an afternoon commemorative ceremony at Historic Jamestowne involving descendants of 17th-century Virginia Indians and English colonists, events on Saturday, May 16, will mark the 402nd anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, America’s first permanent English colony.
“Jamestown Day” is jointly sponsored by Historic Jamestowne, site of the original 1607 settlement administered by Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service, and Jamestown Settlement, a living-history museum of 17th-century Virginia administered by the state’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. In 2007, both sites were central participants in the 400th-annniversary commemoration that drew national attention.
By May 1609, Jamestown had survived two full years despite great adversity. Four hundred years later, Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement observe that momentous accomplishment with maritime demonstrations, archaeology, first-person portrayals of early 17th-century people, entertainment of the time period, and educational programs on Powhatan and English contact, exploration and discovery.
“Jamestown Day” at Historic Jamestowne includes a special ceremony with descendants of Virginia Indians and Jamestown colonists commemorating the peoples present at the 1607 founding and a program of early 17th-century European music by the Cobham Consort. Visitors can also experience the work of craftsmen at the Glasshouse and James Fort as they demonstrate the attempt to establish industries at Jamestown. Historic Jamestowne includes a Visitor Center with museum and multi-media theater presentation, the ongoing archaeological excavation of the original 1607 James Fort, the reproduction 1608 Glasshouse, and walking and driving tours of the historic site.
Highlights of “Jamestown Day” events at Jamestown Settlement are the mid-morning departure of the Godspeed, a replica of one of the three ships that brought colonists to Virginia in 1607, to set sail in the James River, and an educational program featuring former NASA astronaut Roger K. Crouch that compares 17th- and 21st-century methods of exploration. Children’s entertainment and music of the 1600s will be presented, as well as artillery demonstrations and military drills. Jamestown Settlement museum offers a film, expansive indoor gallery exhibits and outdoor re-creations of a Powhatan Indian village, an English fort, and the three ships that brought the settlers to Virginia – Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery.
Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement are located at the western terminus of the Colonial Parkway, 11 miles southwest of Williamsburg. Operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission to Historic Jamestowne is $10 for people over age 15, free for people under 16. Jamestown Settlement admission is $14.00 for adults and $6.50 for ages 6 through 12, free for children under 6. A combination ticket for Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Battlefield and the Yorktown Victory Center is available at all four sites. Parking is free, and free transportation between the Jamestown sites is available on the Jamestown Area Shuttle and among Yorktown sites on the Yorktown Trolley.
MAY 16 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Explore Historic Jamestowne-America’s Birthplace. Discover the story of Jamestown by touring the Visitor Center exhibition gallery and the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium Museum, visiting the Memorial Church and archaeological site and exploring the streets and waysides of New Towne. Be sure to visit the Glasshouse and watch as costumed craftsmen demonstrate the first industry attempted at Jamestown.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: “Free Enterprise and Early Industries.” Experience the work of craftsmen at the Glasshouse and 1607 James Fort site as they demonstrate the attempt to establish the glassmaking and iron smelting industries during the earliest part of Jamestown’s history.
10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m.: Meet Settlers John Rolfe and Mistress Joan Pierce. Join early settlers Mistress Joan Pierce and her son-in-law, John Rolfe, for a walking tour to learn about the settlement’s bleak early years and the improving conditions thereafter. Joan will describe her experiences in the difficult early years of Jamestown's settlement, beginning with her arrival in 1609 through the Starving Time and the martial law period. Her son-in-law John Rolfe will address the improved conditions, including his role as a member of the governor's council, the first House of Burgesses, and of course, his previous wife, Pocahontas.
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: “The Buried Truth.” Watch as archaeologists scrape away layers of earth, uncovering objects and soil stains from 400 years ago. Interpreters will be on duty at the 1607 James Fort excavation site throughout the day. Walk through a representation of the 1607 James Fort palisade constructed over the original fort site to understand what archaeologists have found and visualize how the fort appeared some 400 years ago.
11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.: English Firelocks. Watch the St. Maries Citty Militia, a 17th-century re-enactment group, as they demonstrate weapons used by the English colonists. Hear the crack of the musket fire and see the battlefield smoke these weapons create.
2:00 p.m.: Music Program With the Cobham Consort. The Jamestown Memorial Church comes to life with the baroque music of the entertaining and exciting mix of vocal and instrumental music of the 17th and 18th centuries, featuring baroque guitar, mandolin, viola da gamba, and various wind and percussion instruments. The program provides a sharp contrast of England’s refinements and the grave realities of the New World.
4:00 p.m.: Jamestown Commemorative Ceremony. Gather with descendants of Virginia Indians and Jamestown colonists for a ceremony commemorating all the peoples present at Jamestown’s founding. The ceremony will take place at the Tercentennial Monument plaza. James Horne, author of “A Land As God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America,” will be the keynote speaker.
All Day: Museum Galleries and Special Exhibition. Take in expansive gallery exhibits that tell the Jamestown story in the context of the Powhatan Indian, English and African cultures that converged in the 1600s. More than 500 artifacts from 17th-century Europe and Africa and Virginia archaeological items are shown. A special exhibition, “Jamestown and Bermuda: Virginia Company Colonies,” explores the shared history and links between England’s first two permanent colonies in the New World, on the occasion of Bermuda’s 400th anniversary.
All Day: Hands-on History and Interpretive Demonstrations. Visit the re-created Powhatan Indian village, 1607 ships and colonial fort, and a riverfront discovery area to take part in hands-on programs and presentations, including artillery, canoe making and navigation.
All Day: Colonial Pastimes. Try period games of Powhatan Indians, English and Africans.
10:00 a.m.: Godspeed Sets Sail. A cannon salute signals the departure of the replica Godspeed from the ships’ pier to demonstrate sailing maneuvers in the James River. (Weather permitting.)
10:30 a.m., 1:00, 2:45 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.: 17th-Century Colonial Fair. Discover 1600s-style entertainment – music, magic, juggling, puppetry and other amusements of the period.
11:15 a.m. & 1:45 p.m.: Exploration: Then and Now. Retired NASA astronaut Roger K. Crouch discusses 21st-century space exploration and shares personal experiences about his work in space while a Jamestown Settlement historical interpreter offers perspectives on exploration in the 17th century. Dr. Crouch served as a program scientist on five Spacelab flights and was senior scientist for the International Space Station in 2000-2004.
12:15 p.m. & 2:45 p.m.: 17th-Century Music. David Gardner, an award-winning Scottish fiddler, performs popular music of the 17th century.
Noon & 4:30 p.m.: Artillery. Experience the life of a soldier at Jamestown by learning the steps necessary to fire a 17th-century swivel gun, then watch historical interpreters fire the weapon.
12:45 p.m. & 3:15 p.m.: Defending the Colony. Join the militia to learn how to drill the 17th-century way.