WILLIAMSBURG, Va., May 31, 2012 — History is a blast this summer at Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center, two living-history museums that tell of America’s beginnings. In addition to enhanced artillery demonstrations and hands-on interpretive programs, historical themes – “Seed to Stalk” in June and “Pastimes of Colonial Virginia” in August – and a patriotic “Liberty Celebration” event in July round out the summer months.
From June 15 through August 15, both museums will be open an hour longer, until 6 p.m.
At Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia, visitors can learn about farming and agriculture of the Powhatan Indian culture in the re-created village, as well as the technology used to hunt and fish, cook, create pottery and make dugout canoes. At the pier where replicas of the ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607 are docked, discover the daily life of a sailor, from learning about watches and bells and navigation tools to sail and cargo handling. In addition to daily matchlock musket demonstrations in the re-created 1610-14 fort, interpreters will present pike drills and programs on sword handling. Fort visitors also can explore aspects of blacksmithing, leather and woodworking.
Make ready for a surge of artillery. At 11 a.m. daily, a swivel gun will be fired from the ships’ pier. Historical interpreters will fire a falcon at 2:45 p.m. daily in the riverfront discovery area, and at 4:15 p.m., from a bulwark in the fort.
At the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution, visitors can learn about the steps to firing a brass battalion gun or mortar in the re-created Continental Army encampment and then cover their ears as historical interpreters fire the cannon. Daily demonstrations will begin at 11:05 a.m. and 1:05, 3:05 and 5:05 p.m.
Visitors can learn about medical practices of a Continental Army surgeon and how the troops were fed and supplied. At the re-created 1780s farm, visitors can “break” flax into fiber for cloth and observe morning open-hearth cooking demonstrations.
Among the summer programs, “Seed to Stalk,” an interpretive theme month June 1-30, explores American agriculture of the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors can help tend and water plants and learn about the many practical uses of herbs, vegetables and field crops. Special programs on using plants to dye fabric will be presented in the 1780s farm.
During Yorktown Victory Center’s “Liberty Celebration,” July 3 and 4, tactical drills, military exercises and role-playing demonstrations salute the anniversary of America’s independence. Visitors can see in museum galleries a rare broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence dating to July 1776.
In “Pastimes of Colonial Virginia,” August 1-31, period games – whirligigs, corncob darts, ninepins, quoits, mancala and nine-men’s morris – and other diversions of 17th- and 18th-century Virginia are shown through hands-on activities and interpretive programs.
Jamestown Settlement chronicles 17th-century Virginia and convergence of Powhatan Indian, English and west central African cultures through an introductory film, expansive gallery exhibits and historical interpretation in outdoor re-creations of a Powhatan village, the three 1607 ships, and a colonial fort. Optional orientation tours of the interpretive areas are offered several times daily.
At the Yorktown Victory Center, gallery exhibits trace events that led from colonial unrest to the formation of a new nation. In the outdoor re-created Continental Army encampment, historical interpreters describe and depict the daily life of American soldiers during the last year of the war. The 1780s farm shows how many Americans lived at the time of the Revolution.
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. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free, (757) 253-4838 or visit hif.ciniva.net.