Jane’s Story has been added to a special room of the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium that discusses death in the early years of England’s first permanent colony in North America. Her story illustrates a pivotal moment in the history of Jamestown and early America—the “starving time” of the winter of 1609–1610 when Jamestown, England’s first permanent colony in North America, was brought to the edge of collapse by a combination of drought, disease, starvation, and Indian attacks. Along with Jane’s facial reconstruction, artifacts from the “starving time” period provide context to understand this critical period in Jamestown’s history. Compelling forensic research on the remains of Jane is displayed alongside similar examinations exploring a young man’s death from a musket ball wound and the remains believed to be those of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, a founding father of Jamestown. With careful reconstructions of several of these settlers, visitors literally come face-to-face with the human stories from the beginnings of America. No photography is permitted of the Jane exhibit or of the other displays containing human remains.
The Archaearium has showcased the findings of the world-renowned archaeological discoveries of the Jamestown Rediscovery Project since 2006. Exhibits focus on the Virginia Company period of Jamestown and reveal a new understanding of the first English settlers, their relationship with the Virginia Indians, and how they lived, died and shaped a new society. Visitors will discover how archaeologists found the fort and encounter displays of arms and armor, medical instruments, personal objects, ceramics, tools, coins, trade items, musical instruments and games.