WILLIAMSBURG, Va., May 23, 2014 — Clothing, from single thread to whole garment, will be the focus of interpretive programs during “Fashion in Colonial Virginia” month, June 1-30 at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center. Together, the two living-history museums tell the story of the nation’s colonial beginnings, from the arrival of America’s first permanent English colonists in 1607 to the American Revolution.
From leather to linen, visitors can explore how clothing of the period was fashioned and examine types of garments worn by 17th-century English sailors and colonists, Powhatan Indians, 18th-century Virginia farmers and Continental Army soldiers — doublets, slops, cassocks, bodices, petticoats and coifs, leather aprons, armor helmets and breastplates, waistcoats, breeches, shirts, regimental coats, and tricorn hats.
Periodically throughout the month, museum visitors can assist with processing plant fibers for cloth, learn how dyes were made from plants to produce an array of colors, watch as clothing is laundered with water and lye soap, and observe the stitching of simple apparel from pieces of cloth and deerskin. Types of implements used in cloth production will be on display, including bone needles in the Powhatan Indian village at Jamestown Settlement and, at the Yorktown Victory Center farm, a flax break, scutch and hatchel, and spinning wheel.
During a daily program at 1:30 p.m. in Jamestown Settlement’s Powhatan Indian village, historical interpreters will show how Powhatan Indians made clothing from deerskin and adorned it with shells and bones, and how they decorated their bodies with paint.
In the re-created colonial fort, a program at 11 a.m. daily will allow visitors to learn about garments worn by upper-, middle- and lower-class colonists at a time when clothing and accessories reflected a person’s social status. During a daily program at 3 p.m. at the ships’ pier, visitors can learn about the types of clothing that sailors would have worn and brought on an extended voyage, such as the 144-day journey across the Atlantic to Jamestown in 1607.
At the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution, visitors to the re-created 1780s farm at 10:35 a.m. each day will learn how farming families took great pride during the Revolution in repairing and redyeing worn clothing to avoid wearing English goods.
In the re-created Continental Army encampment, historical interpreters will tell of George Washington’s efforts to develop a standard uniform for his troops. A program at 2 p.m. daily will distinguish the differences between officers and enlisted soldiers during the Siege of Yorktown, and visitors can learn how to make an epaulette, an accessory worn by soldiers on their military uniforms to indicate rank.
Visitors also will have an opportunity to help fashion garments to be exhibited at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, replacing the Yorktown Victory Center in late 2016. At 12:35 p.m. daily, historical clothing tailors will display military uniforms being created for new museum gallery exhibits and engage visitors in cutting and stitching fabric.
Gallery exhibits at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center show examples of 17th- and 18th-century clothing on display through period portraits and textile displays.
“Fashion in Colonial Virginia” is included with admission to Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center. A combination ticket to both museums is $20.50 for adults and $10.25 for ages 6 to 12. Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $16.00 for adults and $7.50 for ages 6 to 12; Yorktown Victory Center is $9.75 for adults and $5.50 for ages 6 to 12. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including College of William and Mary students, receive complimentary admission with proof of residency.
Hours & Location
Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and until 6 p.m. June 15 through August 15). Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg. The Yorktown Victory Center is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. The museums are a 25-minute drive from each other along the Colonial Parkway. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or visit hif.ciniva.net.