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HomeNews401st Anniversary of America's First Permanent English Colony Observed May 10 at Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement
401st Anniversary of America's First Permanent English Colony Observed May 10 at Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., April 18, 2008 -- From a morning ship's arrival and discovery program with a NASA astronaut at Jamestown Settlement to an afternoon commemorative ceremony at Historic Jamestowne involving descendants of 17th-century Virginia Indians and English colonists, events on Saturday, May 10, will mark the 401st anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, America's first permanent English colony.

Jamestown Island
Jamestown Island
"Jamestown Landing Day" is jointly sponsored by Historic Jamestowne, site of the original 1607 settlement administered by APVA Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service, and Jamestown Settlement, a living-history museum of 17th-century Virginia administered by the state's Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. In 2007, both sites were central participants in the 400th-annniversary commemoration that drew national attention.

By May 1608, Jamestown had survived a full year despite great adversity. Four hundred years later, Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement observe that momentous accomplishment with maritime demonstrations, archaeology, first-person portrayals of early 17th-century people, entertainment of the time period, and educational programs on Powhatan and English contact and exploration and discovery. Visitors will be able to traverse between the two sites on the free Jamestown Area Shuttle, part of the Historic Triangle Shuttle connecting Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown, in continuous operation throughout the day.

"Jamestown Landing Day" at Historic Jamestowne includes special demonstrations by Blacksmiths for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation featuring the early technology for smelting iron, and glass making craftsmen at the Glasshouse as they demonstrate the attempt to establish industries at Jamestown. Learn about the status of the Virginia Indians after their first year of contact with colonists from Buck Woodard of the American Indian Resource Center and attend a special ceremony with descendants of Virginia Indians and Jamestown colonists commemorating the peoples present at the 1607 founding.

Highlights of "Jamestown Landing Day" events at Jamestown Settlement are the mid-morning arrival of the Godspeed and Discovery, replicas of two of the three ships that brought colonists to Virginia in 1607, after sailing in the James River, and an educational program featuring former NASA astronaut Kathryn Thornton that compares 17th- and 21st-century methods of exploration. Children's entertainment and music of the 1600s will be presented, and first-person interpreters will portray King James I, John Smith and John Rolfe.

Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement are located at the western terminus of the Colonial Parkway, 11 miles southwest of Williamsburg. Operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission to Historic Jamestowne is $10 for people over age 15, free for people under 16. Jamestown Settlement admission is $13.50 for adults and $6.25 for ages 6 through 12, free for children under 6. A combination ticket for Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Battlefield and the Yorktown Victory Center is available at all four sites. Parking is free, and free transportation between the Jamestown sites is available on the Jamestown Area Shuttle and among Yorktown sites on the Yorktown Trolley.

MAY 10 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
HISTORIC JAMESTOWNE

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Explore Historic Jamestowne -- America's Birthplace. Discover the story of Jamestown by touring the Visitor Center exhibition gallery and the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium Museum, visiting the Memorial Church and archaeological site and exploring the streets and waysides of New Towne. Be sure to visit the Glasshouse and watch as costumed craftsmen demonstrate the first industry attempted at Jamestown on the 400th anniversary of the 1608 glass works.

10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m.: Meet Settlers John Rolfe and Mistress Joan Pierce. Join early settlers Mistress Joan Pierce and her son-in-law, John Rolfe, for a walking tour to learn about the settlement's bleak early years and the improving conditions thereafter. Joan will describe her experiences in the difficult early years of Jamestown's settlement, beginning with her arrival in 1609 through the Starving Time and the martial law period. Her son-in-law John Rolfe will address the improved conditions, including his role as a member of the governor's council, the first House of Burgesses, and of course, his previous wife, Pocahontas.

10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: "The Buried Truth." Watch as archaeologists scrape away layers of earth, uncovering objects and soil stains from 400 years ago. Interpreters will be on duty at the 1607 James Fort excavation site throughout the day. Walk through a representation of the 1607 James Fort palisade constructed over the original fort site to understand what archaeologists have found and visualize how the fort appeared some 400 years ago.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: "Free Enterprise and Early Industries." Experience the work of craftsman at the Glasshouse and James Fort as they demonstrate the attempt to establish the glassmaking and iron smelting industries during the earliest part of Jamestown's history. Shel Browder and Steve Mankowski, Blacksmiths for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will be demonstrating the early technology for smelting iron.

When English settlers first arrived in Virginia, they had plans to finance the colony and provide a profit to investors by exploiting the natural resources available to them. Iron is found in abundance in coastal North America, and John Smith noted in the fall of 1607 that "...our best commoditie is iron, which we make into chisslel..."

Shel and Steve have pursued the 17th century bloomer process used to smelt iron at Jamestown, they will be demonstrating this process by utilizing a small clay furnace containing a charcoal fire which is fanned by a bellows. Alternating layers of charcoal and iron ore are added to the furnace, which removes the non-iron elements and creates a lump of iron or "bloom" which can be hammered into a bar. This bar iron was the raw material of smiths, and was a merchant commodity shipped back to England.

Operation of the bloomery will be weather permitting.

2:00 p.m.: Music Program with the Wren Masters. The Jamestown Memorial Church comes to life with the baroque music of the Wren Masters and their musical Grand Tour of Europe, circa 1607. The program provides a sharp contrast of England's refinements and the grave realities of the New World.

3:00 p.m.: Virginia Indian Presentation. Join Buck Woodard of the American Indian Resource Center and learn about the status of the Virginia Indians after their first year of contact with the Jamestown colonists.

4:00 p.m.: Jamestown Commemorative Ceremony. Gather with descendants of Virginia Indians and Jamestown colonists for a ceremony commemorating all the peoples present at Jamestown's founding. The ceremony will take place at the Tercentennial Monument plaza.

JAMESTOWN SETTLEMENT
All Day: Hands-on History and Interpretive Demonstrations. Visit the re-created Powhatan Indian village, 1607 ships and colonial fort and a riverfront discovery area to take part in hands-on programs and presentations, including artillery, canoe making and navigation. All Day: In First Person. Meet re-enactors portraying King James I, John Smith and John Rolfe.

10:00 & 11:00 a.m., 1:00 & 3:00 p.m.: Tour the Museum Galleries. Take a guided tour of expansive gallery exhibits that tell the Jamestown story in the context of the Powhatan Indian, English and African cultures that converged in the 1600s. More than 500 artifacts from 17th-century Europe and Africa and Virginia archaeological items are exhibited.

10:00 a.m.: Ships Arrival & Children's Parade. A cannon salute welcomes the arrival of the replicas Godspeed and Discovery to the ships' pier. A children's parade will progress to the mall lawn for special entertainment.

10:15 a.m., 12:30 & 3:30 p.m.: Women of Three Cultures. Explore the roles of the African, English and Powhatan Indian women in 17th-century Virginia through an interactive presentation.

11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.: Exploration: Then and Now. Compare 17th- and 21st-century methods of exploration during an interactive classroom program led by a Jamestown Settlement historical interpreter and former NASA astronaut Kathryn Thornton. Dr. Thornton is a veteran of four space flights and undertook a space walk during the Space Shuttle Endeavour mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993.

11:30 a.m., 1:45 & 4:00 p.m.: 17th-Century Faire. Discover 1600s-style entertainment - music, magic, juggling, puppetry and other amusements of the period.

11:45 a.m., 1:15, 2:45 & 4:15 p.m.: Jamestown & Popham. Classroom programs explore two English colonies that were established in North America in 1607. Jamestown survived as America's first permanent English colony. Though short-lived, Popham in Maine is the source of valuable information about early English colonization.

12:45 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.: 17th-Century Music. John Tyson and Howard Bass play madrigals and popular 17th-century music from city, court and countryside on lute and recorder.

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