WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Beginning with a “From Africa to Virginia” theme in February, Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center offer an array of commemorative special events and family-friendly themed interpretive programs throughout 2011, as well as seven public lectures presented by leading scholars.
The two year-round living-history museums tell the story of America’s beginnings, from the 1607 arrival of America’s first permanent English colonists in the midst of Virginia’s Powhatan chiefdom to the emergence of a new nation almost two centuries later with the promise of the American Revolution realized in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Both museums feature extensive permanent gallery exhibits and historical interpretation in outdoor re-created settings – a Powhatan Indian village, 1607 English ships and a 1610-14 colonial fort at Jamestown Settlement – and a Continental Army encampment and 1780s farm at the Yorktown Victory Center. Daily demonstrations and participatory activities engage visitors of all ages.
“Werowocomoco: Seat of Power,” the first museum exhibition of artifacts from one of the most important sites in Virginia Indian history, continues at Jamestown Settlement through June. Two Virginia Indian heritage lectures will be presented in the final month of this special exhibition, on the evenings of June 4 and 18.
“From Africa to Virginia” at Jamestown Settlement in February is the first of three theme months during the year. Daily programs highlight the culture of the first known Africans in Virginia – from Angola – and the experience of Africans in 17th-century Virginia. Lectures at 2 p.m. on February 6 and 27 offer a new perspective on the evolution of slavery in Virginia and examine the legacy of an iconic 17th-century Angolan leader. “Seed to Stalk” theme month at both museums in June explores early American agriculture, and “Tools of the Trade” in August highlights implements and processes used in farming, fishing, hunting, defense, maritime navigation and construction.
Jamestown Settlement’s annual “Military Through the Ages” takes place March 19 and 20, with hundreds of re-enactors spanning the centuries. Among more than 30 groups participating in 2011, the beginning of the Civil War 150th anniversary, are four Union and Confederate units.
“Court Day” debuts at the Yorktown Victory Center on September 17. Featuring spinning demonstrations, puppet shows, music and cricket, the event provides a glimpse of activities – including trade, entertainment and recreation – that took place during the 18th century when local court was in session.
Three events mark important milestones in the nation’s history. “Jamestown Day” at Jamestown Settlement on May 14, jointly sponsored with Historic Jamestowne, commemorates the 404th anniversary of the founding of America’s first permanent English colony. At the Yorktown Victory Center, “Liberty Celebration” on July 2-4 salutes the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. A rare broadside printing of the historic document dating to July 1776 is on exhibit in the museum galleries. Leading up to “Yorktown Victory Celebration,” held October 15-16 in conjunction with the 230th anniversary of the decisive military victory of the American Revolution, is a series of three evening lectures, on September 10 and 24 and October 8.
Both museums offer holiday programs in late fall. Historical Virginia foodways are featured during “Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia” November 24-26, and 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions during “A Colonial Christmas” December 1-31.
Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, until 6 p.m. from June 15 through August 15. A value-priced combination ticket for both museums, offering 20 percent off separate admissions, is $20.00 for adults, $10.00 for ages 6 through 12. Jamestown Settlement admission is $15.50 for adults, $7.25 for ages 6-12. Yorktown Victory Center admission is $9.50 for adults, $5.25 for ages 6-12. An annual pass also is available. Parking at the museums is free.
Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 South at the Colonial Parkway next to Historic Jamestowne, administered by Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service. The Yorktown Victory Center is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown near Yorktown Battlefield, administered by the National Park Service. The museums are a short distance from Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and Art Museums, and other attractions. Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center admission is included in several Williamsburg area joint tickets and vacation packages.
For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838.