WILLIAMSBURG, Va., May 21, 2010 – Tools and technology of the 17th and 18th centuries will be the focus of interpretive programs at Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center throughout the month of June, with the theme “Tools of the Trade.” Together, the two living-history museums tell the story of the country’s beginnings, from the 1607 arrival in Virginia of America’s first permanent English colonists, to the American Revolution and subsequent forming of the new nation.
At Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia history and culture, visitors will discover the tools used by Powhatan Indians before English contact to hunt game, cultivate crops, prepare food, build homes and make clothing. While the Powhatan Indians did not forge or smelt metal, they created effective tools from other materials. Visitors will be able to see historical interpreters turn stone into arrow points and tools, and use bone, wood and shell to fashion garden tools and eating utensils during special demonstrations throughout the day.
Aboard re-creations of the ships that brought English colonists to Virginia in 1607, visitors can examine techniques for sail handling and marlinspike seamanship, tools and methods used to repair and tighten sailors’ knots and ships’ rigging. Visitors also can learn how to use a chip log, compass, traverse board, lead line and other navigational instruments of the 17th century to learn how mariners determined ships’ speed, direction and distance traveled.
Visitors also can explore a riverfront discovery area to learn the value of tools in trade among European, Powhatan and African cultures, as well as compare and contrast tools used for catching fish and constructing watercraft.
Within the re-created colonial fort, visitors will learn about technology that aided early colonists in building and defending their settlement at the edge of the James River. Visitors will explore the trades of English settlers and the tools they used, from woodworking to repairing tools at the blacksmith’s forge, to the matchlock muskets and armor worn by soldiers. Demonstrations will be held periodically throughout the day.
At the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution, visitors to the re-created 1780s farm can see demonstrations of tools used by a typical farming family, including implements for planting and tending gardens, processing flax into cloth, harvesting tobacco and cooking over an open hearth.
At the Continental Army encampment, visitors will discover the technology that enabled soldiers to use flintlock muskets during the American Revolution and see daily demonstrations of weaponry. Special programs each day will allow visitors to learn about the tools used by an artillery crew, followed by a firing of an artillery piece. During daily demonstrations, historical interpreters also will explain the techniques and implements used by physicians and surgeons to care for sick and wounded soldiers.
Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center are open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and until 6 p.m. from June 15 through August 15. A combination ticket to both museums is $19.25 for adults and $9.25 for ages 6 through 12. Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $14.00 for adults and $6.25 for ages 6 through 12; the Yorktown Victory Center is $9.50 for adults and $5.25 for ages 6 through 12. “Tools of the Trade” is funded in part by the York County Arts Commission.
Jamestown Settlement, located on State Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg, is a 25-minute drive from the Yorktown Victory Center, located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838 or visit hif.ciniva.net.