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Virginia Indian History, Past and Present, on Display at Jamestown Settlement in Gallery Exhibits, Interpretive Programs and ‘FOCUSED’ Special Exhibition

FOCUSED special exhibition_Jamestown Settlement_JYF Photo

A view inside Jamestown Settlement’s “FOCUSED: A Century of Virginia Indian Resilience” special exhibition, on display through March 25, 2022.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., November 9, 2021 – Discover the stories of Virginia Indians, from past to present, at Jamestown Settlement during Native American Heritage Month in November.

Visitors to Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia history, can learn about the Powhatan people and their cultures in immersive gallery exhibits featuring rare artifacts, interactives and films, and through historical interpretation outdoors in a re-creation of a Paspahegh town, a Powhatan tribal community closest to Jamestown. Visitors can explore the yearlong special exhibition “FOCUSED: A Century of Virginia Indian Resilience” and enjoy a free public lecture that examines “Changing the Way We See Native America: Dismantling Native American Stereotypes.”

FOCUSED Special Exhibition & Free Public Lecture

Developed in partnership with Virginia Indian tribal communities and on display through March 25, 2022, “FOCUSED: A Century of Virginia Indian Resilience” features professional and private photograph collections, tribal regalia, quilts, pottery and personal stories that share the resilience of Virginia’s Indian population over the past century – from the passage and repeal of the Racial Integrity Act in 1924 to the contemporary efforts of 11 Virginia tribes to receive state and federal recognition.

“FOCUSED” spotlights themes central to Virginia Indian daily life, including the establishment and maintenance of Virginia Indian reservations and tribal lands, education, fishing and hnting, and traditional crafts and cultural heritage. This exhibition is principally a photographic exhibition drawing from collections held by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, as well as images from anthropologist Frank Speck in the 1910s to 1930s, work of award-winning Baltimore Sun photographer A. Aubrey Bodine in the 1940s and 1950s, and portraits by contemporary American Indian photographers, including Tracy Y. Roberts.

Matika WilburA related free public lecture, offering access to the exhibition, will be hosted Thursday, November 18 at 7 p.m. as documentary photographer Matika Wilbur speaks on “Changing the Way We See Native America: Dismantling Native American Stereotypes.” Registration is required in advance online at jyfmuseums.org/lectures.

Access additional “FOCUSED” resources, including historical blogs, photography and videos, that share personal stories of Virginia Indians and their cultural traditions at jyfmuseums.org/focused.

Jamestown Settlement Gallery Exhibits & Living History

Visitors can experience 17th-century Virginia Indian history and culture in expansive permanent galleries featuring innovative films, interactives and exhibits that use period objects to examine the myths and realities associated with the life of Pocahontas, incorporate historical research and archeological findings on Werowocomoco (capital of Powhatan, leader of 30-some Algonquian-speaking tribes in coastal Virginia) and share the story of Cockacoeske (recognized as “Queen of the Pamunkey” by the colonial government) and her role in “Bacon’s Rebellion,” which unfolds in a 4D experiential theater.

Outdoors, visitors can explore a re-creation of Paspahegh Town, based on the archaeological findings at a nearby site along the James River once inhabited by Paspahegh Indians and descriptions and illustrations recorded by English colonists in the 17th century. View demonstrations of how the Powhatan people grew and prepared food, processed animal hides, made tools and pottery, scraped and shaped canoes, and wove natural fibers into cordage as historical interpreters share the rich cultural heritage of Virginia Indians from the 17th century to today.

How to Visit

Jamestown Settlement, located on Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed on Christmas and New Year’s days. The special exhibition is included with museum admission. Admission to the museum and special exhibition is $18.00 for adults and $9.00 for ages 6-12; children under 6 are free. A combination ticket and annual pass are available with the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive complimentary admission with proof of residency. Parking is free. Learn more at (757) 253-4838 or jyfmuseums.org.