Live Learning Opportunities
Perfect For Kids & Families: "Unpacking the Past"
FREE FALL WEBCAST SERIES
Live on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. EST
You don’t need a time machine to travel back with us to the 17th and 18th century to discover Virginia’s beginnings, nor do you need a passport or plane ticket to virtually explore our nation’s earliest adventures at Jamestown Settlement or the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. All you need is your imagination and a computer, tablet or phone to access FREE, interactive programs from the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation that will take you and your family on a journey to discover the land, cultures, relationships and events that shaped Virginia and the United States.
To join us for “Unpacking the Past” LIVE every Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST, CLICK HERE and enter password 7KeUKRi23Wz.
Did you know that the Virginia Company of London sent leather workers to the Jamestown colony? View reproduction artifacts while discovering the importance of leather working and the process of how they are made. Examine leather making tools and learn how to punch and stitch leather.
Artifact and a Story
What exactly is an artifact and why are artifacts so important to the story of Jamestown? Join us as we learn about two artifacts, the pipkin and the kettle oven, both important cooking vessels for the English in colonial times. No artifact would be complete without an intriguing story at the end.
Cashing In Your Crops
How do we buy and sell items in today’s world? How did they buy and sell items in the 18th century and what cash crop was extremely important to Virginia’s economy? Discover the answers to these questions as we follow an 18th-century farmer “cashing in” his crop.
Why did the English travel all the way to Jamestown to start a colony? Was Jamestown a successful colony and if so, how did it gain success? Why is this colony important to our nation’s history? Join us from Jamestown Settlement’s re-created ships to dive deeper into these important topics.
Funding for “Unpacking the Past” is provided by Wells Fargo and Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. Funding also provided by Virginia Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan of 2020. For more information, visit www.VirginiaHumanities.org.
View Past Videos of Virtual Visits to Our Museums
Not able to watch live? Programs are recorded and made available for viewing following the live webcast.
How was Powhatan cooking similar to the way we cook today? What did the Powhatan eat and how did they get their food? Discover important ingredients, cooking tools and methods of the Powhatan Indians.
The legacy of the blacksmith, an iron-working tradition in Virginia, dated back to 1607 when John Smith declared that the colony’s “best commoditie was Iron which we made into little chisels.” Discover the importance of the blacksmith, and how the blacksmiths at Jamestown worked iron and steel during the early 17th century.
Siege of Yorktown
How were the allied forces able to defeat the British at the Siege of Yorktown? What was the overall significance of this timely victory? Join us to learn more about the last major battle of the American Revolution.
Draw Back Your Bow
Dive deeper into the topic of natural resources as we examine the vital role items in the environment, such as stone, wood and other natural materials, played in the daily lives of the Powhatan Indians, including in the creation of tools and technology. Discover the many resources the Powhatan Indians used and learn about the complex design and capabilities of their bow and arrow.
A Soldier’s Backpack
What are some essentials that you carry in your backpack? Do you carry ice creepers and a forage hat? This week, we’ll analyze and interpret what an 18th-century Continental soldier keeps in his haversack and knapsack and discover the importance of each item to daily life and survival.
From Tree to Tool: Using Natural Resources in Early Virginia
What are some different resources you use in your daily life? How are these resources vital to your survival? We’ll learn the difference between natural, capital and human resources and discover the natural resources used by the Powhatan Indian and English cultures in Virginia. The program will conclude with a fire-starting demonstration.
Exploring the “Where” and “How” of Geography in the Past
Do you think your lives are the same as other students living in other parts of the world? How does where you live affect how you live? Brush up on your Virginia geography and discover how physical geography played a huge role in the everyday lives of the Powhatan Indians, as well as the early colonists. Access a map to reference during this session: Virginia’s Regions.
Learning Outside of the Classroom
Have you ever visited a museum on a field trip or attended a museum summer camp? Discover the different ways the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation educators are able to teach about the past through engaging activities, programs and artifacts that put the past in your family’s hands.
The Secret Garden
How were 18th-century gardens similar to your backyard gardens today? Learn 18th-century techniques for maintaining the family farm and gardens, and discover the many herbs that were grown along with their uses in medicine and cooking.
Before GPS, people used maps to help them travel from place to place and to discover different features of an area they hadn’t visited. What information might a 17th-century map reveal? What stories might these primary sources tell? Join us as we analyze and dissect a map of Virginia created by John Smith in 1612 currently part of our collection at Jamestown Settlement.
Owning an apartment or house comes with the joys of necessary repairs. Has your family ever needed to replace the dishwasher, sink or even the roof? Now imagine needing a new roof for a 17th-century yehakin in a re-created Powhatan Indian village or for a re-created building in a colonial fort! Where will you find the correct period materials – you can’t use modern shingles – and who will fix it for you so it still represents the past? Join us and learn the secrets behind “Maintaining History” in the re-created settings at Jamestown Settlement.
Behind the Barrel
If you’ve ever visited a living-history museum or re-enactment, you may have seen a live artillery and weapons firing demonstration. Did you know these demonstrations require a lot of preparation and maintenance before you can see the exciting firing of the cannons or muskets? Learn the secrets “Behind the Barrel,” for maintaining re-created historical weapons at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
Quack, Gobble, Cluck Behind the Coops
Bringing history alive in our outdoor exhibits is so important. Our flocking fowl is a noteworthy part of that experience. Join us behind the coops to discover how our Historical Interpretive teams care for and handle these animals. We will explore types of heirloom breeds and how these birds and their eggs enhance our daily programming.
Fashion of Historic Proportion
Jamestown’s founding brought people from three distinct cultures together in one land – English, Powhatan and West Central African. Join us as members of our team demonstrate how they prepare and dress each morning to re-create clothing characteristics of these three cultures in 17th-century Virginia.
The Bang Theory
Whether it is the thunderous clap of a cannon or the brisk bang of a musket, have you ever wondered how our costumed Interpreters recreate these blasts from the past? Tune in to learn how our interpreters make history come alive during their artillery and musket demonstrations. Come prepared with a piece of paper, scissors and a “former” – a wooden dowel, candle, or large magic marker should do the trick.
Tales from Three Cultures
Stories have been used throughout the centuries to entertain, educate, and relate a shared history. Each culture has its own storytelling traditions and the three cultures that converged in colonial Virginia were no different. Join us for “Tales from Three Cultures,” a three-part series from Jamestown Settlement as we hear traditional stories from the Eastern Woodlands Indian, African and English cultures.
English: When the English arrived on Virginia shores in 1607, they brought stories with them. Popular among the settlers were “Jack” stories. Join us as we hear “Jack” and other stories that would have been known and possibly told by the early English settlers at Jamestown.
African: Enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia, typically with no physical reminders of their homeland. But in their minds, they carried a rich culture that included music and storytelling traditions. Join us as a guest from The Mariners’ Museum and Park tells traditional African stories dating back to before the Virginia colony was established.
Powhatan: The Powhatan didn’t have a written language. Children learned about their past and the world around them from the stories told by their elders. We’ll finish our day of storytelling as we listen to stories that have been told for well over 400 years.
The Unknown American Revolution
Do you think you know everything there is to know about the American Revolution? Join us for “‘The Unknown American Revolution,'” a three-part series from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown as special exhibition curator Katherine Egner Gruber shares lessons in lesser-known history using the historic artifacts on display in museum galleries.
Lesser Known Revolutionaries: Many people experienced the American Revolution; it wasn’t just the generals and politicians you already know about! Join Kate in the galleries to learn about some lesser-known revolutionary characters who had a lot to lose or gain during the Revolution. Be sure to watch “Liberty Fever” prior to this webcast.
Siege of Yorktown – Not the End: Did you know that the Siege of Yorktown wasn’t the end of the American Revolution? The British Army surrendered at the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781, but that wasn’t the end of the war. In this segment, learn more about the Siege of Yorktown and what happened next. Be sure to watch “The Siege of Yorktown” prior to this webcast.
George Washington – Before, During and After: George Washington was unanimously selected as the commander in chief of the Continental Army, but how did he go from military leader to our country’s first president? Learn about George Washington before, during, and after the Revolution through artifacts in the museum gallery. Want to learn more in our galleries? Download the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Mobile App and take the virtual tour “George Washington: From Fighter to Founder” prior to this webcast.
“…the Countrey yeelded abundance of Wood”
When the English colonists arrived in Virginia, they found a land where trees were an abundant natural resource, making Virginia a perfect place to practice the art of woodworking. The Powhatan had an established tradition of woodworking with a variety of tools, as did the Angolans who were brought to Virginia in 1619. Join us for “‘…the Countrey yeelded abundance of Wood,'” a three-part series from Jamestown Settlement to explore the tools, materials and techniques of woodworking among the three cultures that came together in early Virginia. The earliest depiction of a lathe comes to us from Petosiris’ tomb at Tuna el-Gebel, Egypt, ca 400 BCE, one of the earliest images of a springpole lathe comes from the Bible Moralisée in Paris’ Bibliothéque National and this image, circa 1250 AD, shows a turner making a bowl. Access additional resources for this session: Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises (1703 edition), The Worshipful Company of Turners of London (one of the 1609 sponsors of the colony, under the Second Charter), The Mary Rose Trust (example of Carpenter’s Chest) and 1635 Jan van Vliet Engraving (example of typical turners shop in 1630s).
Powhatan and Angolan Woodworking: “Under the disadvantage of such Tools they made a shift to fell vast great Trees, and clear the Land of Wood…” As Robert Beverley recorded, the Powhatan people had no metal tools for woodworking before the arrival of Europeans. While he considered this to be a disadvantage, the Powhatan had developed an advanced style of woodworking based on the tools and materials they had. The Angolans developed metal tools long before they encountered Europeans, and used techniques that were similar to those of both Powhatan and English woodworkers. Learn how some of these cultures’ tools were used.
English Carpentry: When the first Englishmen arrived at the site of Jamestown in 1607, they brought 1 blacksmith, 1 doctor, 1 priest, but four carpenters. Why so many? Here we will explore the role of these carpenters in the colony, and examine some of the tools they would use in their jobs. Watch and learn some techniques as one of our woodworkers replaces a fence.
Turning Wood: In 1608, the Council in Virginia specifically mentioned Turners in their list of “artificers wee must first employ” to make the colony successful. In 1609, the Worshipful Company of Turners of London became sponsors of the colony, and in 1610 the Council asked the Company to send a list of the “number we will entertain in every necessary art,” including four turners. Learn about the importance of turning as a trade in the 17th century, and see basic techniques demonstrated on our reproduction of a 17th century springpole lathe.
Farming for Profit to Farming for Food
Join us for “Farming for Profit to Farming for Food,” a three-part series from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown to explore tobacco – the primary crop of 18th-century Virginia grown on both large and small farms, playing an important role in the colony’s economy. This week, we’ll learn how tobacco was planted, harvested, stored and prepared for market. We’ll then turn from farming for profit to farming for food when we examine how food was preserved in the 18th century. After food was harvested, it needed to be used days, weeks and even months after it came in from the field. Lastly, we’ll learn how people preserved food long before refrigerators were invented.
From Tiny Seeds to Profitable Stalk: Tobacco was the primary crop of 18th-century Virginia, and was planted on the smallest and largest plantations. For a profitable harvest, a farmer had to plant seeds and tend to the crops until they were ready to harvest, this included keeping the large leaves of the plant clear of tobacco worms. Join us to learn about the difficult job of growing tobacco.
From Field to Market: Once tobacco was fully grown, it was time to harvest the plants and prepare them for market. During this session, we’ll learn how tobacco was harvested, dried, and prepared for market. Participants will discover the importance of tobacco to the colonial Virginia economy.
Food Preservation: Ever wonder how free and enslaved farmers cured and preserved meats, fruits and vegetables long before refrigerators were invented? During this session, we’ll discover a few of the methods used to store food for the weeks and months to come.
Join us for “Powhatan Life,” a three-part series from Jamestown Settlement to explore aspects of everyday Powhatan life. We’ll begin by learning about the importance of corn to the Powhatan and how it was processed. We’ll then explore Powhatan ornamentation as a form of expression, learning about how they used local and traded objects. We conclude with a look at how the Powhatan used natural resources as supplies in making baskets.
Foodways: The Powhatan hunted, gathered, fished and grew a wide variety of different types of foods, the most prominent being corn. Learn how Powhatan women would process corn in all of its various stages including growing, harvesting, preserving, storing, preparing and cooking. Discover the many uses of corn and the importance of corn by-products such as hominy.
Ornamentation: Ornamentation is the art of personal expression; it’s how people choose to adorn and decorate themselves. The Powhatan and other Eastern Woodlands people used a rich variety of personal decoration in their everyday lives, items that were made from materials found locally or traded for with other tribes or with Europeans. Learn about these materials and the products made by Powhatan people in early 17th-century Virginia.
Weaving: The Powhatan used their natural environment to create useful, everyday household items including rope, mats, fish nets and baskets. Learn about some of these natural materials (plants like yucca, dogbane and cedar bark) and the most prominent style of Powhatan weaving, which today is called twining. The lightweight sturdy containers made by twining were a staple in every Powhatan household and were used for storing, transporting goods, and gathering.
Spies, Women and Supplies
When most people think about the American Revolution, they think of the Declaration of Independence, epic battles, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Join us for “Spies, Women and Supplies,” a three-part series from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown to explore why without American spies, the many and varied contributions of women, and the supplying of the Continental Army, the outcome might have been different.
Espionage: “Washington did not really outfight the British. He simply out-spied us.” As one defeated British officer famously observed, espionage was a valuable tool for the Continental Army. Sometimes referred to as a great “spymaster”, George Washington used all manners of resources to find success during the American Revolution. Learn how Washington used the power of information to help win the war. Ask yourself, who would make a good spy? What are the consequences? How do you create code in a world without computers? Access this session’s activity sheets: Crack the Code and American Crisis.
Women of the American Revolution: “I desire you would remember the ladies.” Abigail Adams famously wrote those words to her husband, John Adams, in 1776. Have we remembered the ladies? The contributions of women during the American Revolution are as wide and varied as the circumstances in which they lived. What can women with status like Martha Washington do? What about the young and poor with no safe home? Where will they go? How can women help the Continental Army? Will women take up arms? Join us on a woman’s journey through a Continental Army Encampment and learn about the different roles they took during the war.
Supplying the Army: What do you need to raise an Army from scratch? And how do you pay for it all? Once you have the supplies you need, how will you move the men and supplies? A visit to the Quartermaster’s tent will offer some perspective on the variety of supplies the army needed to secure during the American Revolution and the economics involved in the process.
Cultural Change at Jamestown
Join us for “Cultural Change at Jamestown,” a three-part series from Jamestown Settlement to explore the three different cultural groups at Jamestown – Virginia Indian, African and English. This week we’ll examine how each group changed as Virginia grew and the colony developed. What did their houses look like? What would you find inside each house? We’ll learn this and so much more as we tour the Jamestown Settlement galleries and look at architecture and household standards of living for the three cultures.
Indian Cabin: Our first stop will give us a peek inside the Indian Cabin at the Jamestown Settlement gallery where we’ll view objects that illustrate the adaptability of the Virginia Indians. After the English arrived, muskets, projectile points made out of glass and ceramics similar to English and African forms began to be used, though many traditions remained.
The Quarter: The second stop in the gallery will be the Quarter, which would have housed free or enslaved Africans. Similar to the Indian Cabin, we’ll see the persistence of some African ways of life and discuss new adaptations and innovations made in Virginia.
Planter’s House: The final stop on our tour will be the Planter’s House, where artifacts will highlight the wealth gained from tobacco cultivation for some, creating a new class of English Virginians. The ability to purchase fine imported items from Europe, while living in impermanent, wooden houses, was a unique adaptation to the Chesapeake region.
Costuming the Past
Join us for “Costuming the Past,” a three-part series from Jamestown Settlement to explore one way a museum recreates the past using reproduction clothing to bring history to life. This week, we’ll focus on the Revolutionary War as we examine different reproduction uniforms made by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s historical clothing department. We’ll look at uniforms that represent the many nationalities that fought during the War along with specific regiments and uniforms worn by African Americans. Finally, we’ll learn about the process for how costumes start as bolts of fabric and become uniforms on mannequins in an exhibit.
Revolutionary Uniforms: Did you know that the American Revolution was essentially a world war involving Dutch, Swedish, Russians and other nationalities? During this session, we’ll learn about the many nationalities who played a role in the Revolution by focusing on uniforms worn by American, British, German, French and Loyalist soldiers.
Forgotten Soldier: African Americans played an important role on both sides of the battlefield during the American Revolution. In this session, we’ll learn more about these men as we focus on uniforms of the 2nd Virginia, 1st Rhode Island, Gaskins Virginia Regiment and enslaved persons with the British Army.
Making History: The American Revolution Museum brings the story of our nation’s birth to life through exhibitions and living history. But how do you make a scene in a gallery look real? You begin by creating realistic clothing items. You then process the clothes so they look like they’ve actually been worn, including shooting real bullets at reproduction uniforms, then you ship the clothes off where they’ll dress mannequins that will become part of an exhibit. Learn the ins and outs of creating an exhibit with costumes during our final session of the day.
Life at Sea in the 17th Century
Join us for “Life at Sea in the 17th Century,” a three-part series from Jamestown Settlement to explore what life was like for the men and boys who sailed on three small ships from England to Virginia in 1607. Learn about accommodations and everyday life at sea during this early voyage, plus how sailors navigated unfamiliar waters and see some of the tools they used to make their voyages possible.
Life Onboard – 144 Days at Sea: The sailors and colonists coming to Jamestown spent almost as long crossing the Atlantic Ocean in 1607 as many of you spend in school each year. Join us below decks as we discuss what daily life would have been like, what accommodations would have been for the different people sailing to Jamestown, and what the daily routine on an early 17th-century ship would have looked like.
Sounding the Depths – Navigating in Coastal Waters: Sailing into unknown waters can be difficult and dangerous, even for 21st-century mariners. Things can get especially complicated as you get close to shore. What kind of information would you need to gather in order to keep the ship and everyone onboard safe? Fortunately, the sailors aboard Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery had all the technology and skills they needed to guide the ships safely up the James River. During this session, we’ll explore one of the tools they would have used.
Spikes, Palms and Fids – The Tools of a Sailor: Just about every mariner knows how to handle the sails and use the navigational tools on their ship. However, keeping a ship like Susan Constant in good repair requires many other skills as well. During the 17th century, most mariners also served as carpenters, canvas workers and repairmen, and each of these jobs required specialized tools. Learn about some of the common tools that most sailors would have owned and used.
From Everyday Objects to Museum Artifacts
Join us on for “From Everyday Objects to Museum Artifacts,” a three-part series from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown to explore the galleries as we examine artifacts in the museum’s collection and take a behind the scenes look at what curators do and how everyday objects become artifacts in a museum.
Stuck at Home – Life of a Middling Farming Family: Are you tired of being stuck at home and staring at the same four walls? For a change of scenery, come explore the homelife of a middling family during the American Revolution. Explore artifacts and images that help tell the stories of women and life on the homefront during the American Revolution.
What is a Curator?: What are museum curators and how do they use objects to tell stories? Learn how these objects, called artifacts, tell the stories and events from the past, like the American Revolution.
Behind the Scenes: Objects that you see behind glass in museums were once everyday items owned and used by people just like us! In this segment, go behind the scenes with curator Kate to see how these objects, or artifacts, tell a story. To create museums for the future, come prepared to share an artifact that tells the story of your everyday life.
Powhatan Tools and Tactics
Join us for “Powhatan Tools and Tactics,” a three-part series from Jamestown Settlement to explore tools and strategies used by the Powhatan Indians in warfare and everyday life.
Powhatan Warfare: Discover the many weapons crafted and used by the Powhatan Indians. Learn Powhatan war tactics used in traditional warfare and for defending against foreign invaders.
Tracking: Learn the skills that you need to become an expert tracker! Tracking is a skill to predict and understand the movement of people and animals. Discover why tracking was such an important skill to the Powhatan Indians and how they used this skill in their daily lives. Discover what animals you may expect to see while tracking in Virginia! ‘Whose Tracks’ activity.
Stone Tools: What tools did the Powhatan Indians make and how were they made out of stone? Watch a live demonstration and learn the importance of tool making in helping to build and run a complex society.
Pens, Hats and Punishment
Join us for “Pens, Hats and Punishment,” a three-part series from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown to explore how these three things related to soldiers in the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
18th-Century Penmanship: How is writing different today than in the 18th century? Imagine writing a letter to your friend using a quill and ink. Don’t forget to fold your letter and close it with a sealing wafer! Learn about the style and importance of writing in the 18th century. Please have a blank sheet of paper on hand for a special activity!
The Hat Identifies the Soldier: Do you have a special hat for different occasions – playing sports, dressing up, going to the beach, working in the garden? Members of the military during the American Revolution also had special hats depending on their jobs or roles. Explore the many different styles worn by the infantry, Grenadiers, cavalry, navy, and more!
Continental Army Discipline: Do you find yourself getting into more trouble now that you are home so much? Learn how punishment in 18th-century America differed from today. Discover some common punishment methods of the army and see how these punishments varied by offender and offense.
Staying Healthy, Full and Clean
View a three-part series from Jamestown Settlement.
Apothecarist Garden: What did people in the 17th century do when they got sick? Join us at Jamestown Settlement to find out what an apothecary is and why he would keep a garden. Master science skills as you learn about how plants became medicines.
Feeding a Colony: How did English settlers in Virginia get food in a strange land? Explore the importance of agriculture at Jamestown and learn why chickens, greyhounds and other animals lived in the fort – hint: not every animal was there to be eaten!
In Hot Water: Are you washing your hands and clothes a lot these days? Laundry was much harder to do in the 17th century than with the washing machines of today! Join us to discover the many steps English settlers had to take just to get their clothes clean. Find out who did the laundry in the Jamestown colony and what clothing displayed about a person’s status.
Colonial Moms Had Skills!
View a three-part series from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
Home Remedies: Have you ever had a tummy ache or the sniffles? Who’s the first person you go to when you do? Dr. Mom was the go-to person for help in the 18th century too! Join us to learn about 18th-century remedies for colonial ailments and find out what resources a farmer had on hand to cure you of headaches, indigestion or other unpleasantness.
How to Weave a Basket – Part 1: 18th-century baskets came in all shapes and sizes and were used for a variety of everyday chores on a colonial farm during the time of the American Revolution. Ever wonder how these beautiful baskets were made? Join our basket maker on the farm to learn the first steps in acquiring and preparing materials and getting started with weaving a basket.
How to Weave a Basket – Part 2: What determines the shape and size of an 18th-century basket? How does it take shape and expand? How will the basket maker finish the basket? Join us as we continue to learn about the techniques and skills required to weave an 18th-century basket.
Life at Sea
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sail across the Atlantic ocean during the 17th century? View a three-part series from Jamestown Settlement as we “tour” the Susan Constant and learn about life at sea during the journey to Jamestown in 1607.
Larboard and Starboard, Bow and Stern: Tune in for a personal tour of Susan Constant, a re-creation of one of the three ships that brought the English colonists to Jamestown in 1607. Explore where the sailors and colonists lived, learn what they brought with them for the long voyage or to build the colony, and dive below to see spaces that are not normally open to the public!
Set Sail: What has a foot, earrings, and leeches? Don’t have a clew? We’ll teach you the sailor’s vernacular as you learn to set sail aboard one of Jamestown Settlement’s re-created ships.
Shooting for the Stars: What does it mean to navigate? What navigational tools were used to guide the ships to Jamestown in 1607? What is dead reckoning? Get the answers to these and more questions as we explore how the English navigated ships across vast oceans in the early 17th century.
View a three-part series from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown exploring the important roles African Americans played in the American Revolution and the life-changing decisions some had to make.
African Americans in the American Revolution: Did you know that African Americans played important roles in the American Revolution? During the war, free and enslaved African Americans had difficult choices to make, and served in both the British and Continental armies. Join special exhibitions curator Kate Gruber at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown to learn about African Americans in the American Revolution.
James Lafayette – Enslaved Spy: African Americans played many different roles during the American Revolution. Some even acted as spies! Join special exhibitions curator Kate Gruber to learn more about the experiences of James Lafayette, an enslaved Virginian who worked as a spy for the Marquis de Lafayette on the eve of the Siege of Yorktown.
What’s Next?: What happened to enslaved and free African Americans after the American Revolution? Well, it depends! During this segment, special exhibitions curator Kate Gruber will explore stories of African Americans who left the United States with the British, and those who stayed in the newly-formed nation.
View a three-part series from Jamestown Settlement, as we explore the lives of the first documented Africans to arrive in Virginia in 1619 and get a close-up look at artifacts and exhibits of 17th-century Virginia inside the exhibition galleries.
West Central African Life in 17th-Century Virginia: Explore west central African life with curatorial director Luke Pecoraro as we “tour” exhibits at Jamestown Settlement. Find out where the first documented Africans in Virginia were from and what their life was like before they came to Virginia. Look at important artifacts that help tell the story!
First Documented Africans in Virginia: Join curatorial director Luke Pecoraro to learn about the first documented Africans in Virginia. Discover how the first Africans got to Virginia – who brought them, how far they traveled, how they got here, what happened to them en route and what their status was once they arrived.
West Central African Life in Virginia: What was life like for Africans living in early Virginia? What were their jobs, who did they live with, where did they live, how did their legal status change over time and what activities did they do? Curatorial director Luke Pecoraro will present a group of artifacts that tell the story of one African woman living in early Virginia.
Choosing a Side and Taking a Stand
As the American colonies were heading toward revolution, some colonists decided to fight for their freedom by joining the Continental Army while others remained loyal to England and joined the British Army. View a three-part series from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown why colonists chose as they did and what life was like for a recruit in both armies and for officers.
Patriot Recruits: What was life like for patriot recruits? Join us to discover the challenges and hardships soldiers in the Continental Army faced in their daily lives. Take a closer look at the uniforms, equipment, and weapons used by the Continental Army.
Loyalist Recruits: What was life like for Loyalist recruits? Take a closer look at the uniforms, equipment, and weapons used by the British Regiment. This program will conclude with a pistol firing demonstration.
Officers: How would a soldier become an officer in the army during the American Revolution? What differentiated the officers from the enlisted soldiers? Join us to take a deeper look at the various ranks, duties, equipment and uniforms of army officers.
Life of the Powhatan Indians
View a three part series from the Powhatan Indian Village at Jamestown Settlement as we explore the life of the Eastern Woodland Indians before the arrival of the English in 1607.
Farming: Learn the basics of agriculture and farming practices used by the Powhatan Indians. Discover the types of crops grown, the tools used for farming, and the process for harvesting crops.
Fishing: Discover the importance of waterways to the Powhatan way of life. Learn how Powhatan Indians used the waterways for travel and food. Discover the types of tools used to catch a variety of fish in the Tidewater region.
Hunting: Join us for a hunting demonstration, Powhatan Indian style, complete with a bow and arrow. Discover the different tools used by the Powhatan Indians for hunting, the types of animals they hunted, and the methods they used to catch their prey.
Life on an 18th-Century Farm
View “Life on an 18th-Century Farm,” a three part series from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown as we explore what life was like on an 18th-century farm during the Revolutionary War.
Foodways of the Enslaved: What did an enslaved family eat? Learn about the foods they would have grown and prepared for their own families. We will visit a garden and learn about the origins of some of an enslaved family’s food and how it was grown and prepared.
Flax Demonstration: Learn how a flax plant becomes spinnable fiber. We will discover what a flax break, scutching board, and hackle are and how they are important in the process of turning a plant into fabric.
Spinning Wheel Demonstration: Flax was not the only fiber used to make fabric for clothes, blankets, and other items. Learn how to card wool. Then, we’ll take that wool to the spinning wheel where we will learn how it becomes yarn and talk about who did this important work on the farm.
Colonial Life in Virginia
View “Colonial Life in Virginia,” a three part series from Jamestown Settlement as we exploring what life was like for English Settlers living in early 17th-century Virginia.
Cooking: How did English colonists get the provisions they needed to survive? Join us live from the re-created fort at Jamestown Settlement for a cooking demonstration. Practice your science, technology, and math skills while learning about common foods and tools used for cooking during the early years of Jamestown.
Commodities and Trade: How did English colonists get the resources they needed to survive? Join us live from the re-created fort at Jamestown Settlement to learn about the types of commodities and raw materials that were tried by the colony to turn a profit. Learn how the English settlers used these commodities to become successful.
Weaponry for Survival: How did the English colonists use weaponry to survive in a new place? Join us live from the re-created fort at Jamestown Settlement to learn about the protection, armor, and weapons used by the colonists. A musket demonstration will be included!
American Revolution Tools and Tactics
View “American Revolution Tools and Tactics,” a three-part series from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown exploring military life during the Revolutionary War. Pick one or participate in all, click on the links below to access each session on Zoom – may require short download.
Food: Examine the different foods and cooking methods used by the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Come inside the camp kitchens to learn about the importance of safety and efficiency, while also watching a fire-starting demonstration.
Medicine: Examine the medicines and medical tools used by the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Learn about hospitals and the qualifications you would need to be a surgeon or physician, plus discover the problems and diseases the Continental Army faced.
Warfare: Explore the weaponry and war tactics used by both the British and American soldiers during the American Revolution. Learn about muskets, including the loading and firing commands, and watch a live musket firing demonstration.