WILLIAMSBURG, Va., July 24, 2012 — Ever spin a whirligig on a string or roll a hoop with a stick? “Pastimes of Colonial Virginia” – games and amusements of the 17th and 18th centuries – will be the focus of interpretive programs at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center living-history museums throughout the month of August.
At Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia history and culture, visitors can try a variety of games and activities used by early Virginians not only to pass the time but develop important skills. In the re-created Powhatan Indian village, visitors can test their aim by pitching corncob darts through hoops. On board one of three replica ships, historical interpreters will discuss how America’s first permanent English colonists played games of draughts (checkers), backgammon, cards and wooden dice to amuse themselves on the 1607 voyage to Virginia, and visitors may try their hand at knotwork. In the re-created 1610-14 colonial fort, visitors can ride wooden hobby horses, roll a hoop with a stick, and play ninepins, a bowling game, and quoits, a type of ring toss. Optional 90-minute orientation tours of the outdoor interpretive areas begin each hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
At the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution, visitors to the re-created Continental Army encampment can learn how soldiers used board games such as nine-men’s morris, cards and dice for entertainment during the war. Visitors also can learn how to play “shut the box,” a counting game. At the re-created 1780s farm, visitors can spin whirligigs on a string, try to scoop a ball into a cup, roll a hoop with a stick, jump rope and play trap ball. Visitors also can learn about and play the traditional African game mancala. Visitors also can see demonstrations of fancy stitchwork of the 1700s, such as samplers.
The two history museums feature extensive gallery exhibits that tell the story of America’s beginnings. At Jamestown Settlement, gallery exhibits describe traditional recreation and art of the Powhatan Indian, English and west central African cultures that converged in 1600s Virginia. An exhibit about children’s education and play compares examples of 17th-century and modern toys. Among the artifacts in the Yorktown Victory Center’s Witness to Revolution Gallery, is a circa-1775 British game box used to play 18th-century card games of quadrille and ombre.
Many of the activities and games, including corn cob darts, nine-men’s morris, ninepins and mancala, are available for purchase in the Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center gift shops.
Hours of Operation
Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and until 6 p.m. from June 15 to August 15.
Tickets & Packages
Visitors can save 20 percent on admission with a combination ticket to both museums: $20 for adults and $10 for ages 6 through 12. Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $15.50 for adults and $7.25 for ages 6 through 12; the Yorktown Victory Center is $9.75 for adults and $5.50 for ages 6 through 12. Children under age 6 receive complimentary admission. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including the College of William and Mary, receive complimentary admission with proof of residency. Additional ticket and package options and online specials are available with other Williamsburg area attractions, including Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and Art Museums and Busch Gardens.
How to Get Here
Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center are separated by a 25-minute drive along the Colonial Parkway, a National Scenic Byway. Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg. The Yorktown Victory Center is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. Parking is free. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838.