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HomeNews404th Anniversary of America's First Permanent English Colony Observed May 14 at Historic Jamestowne & Jamestown Settlement
404th Anniversary of America's First Permanent English Colony Observed May 14 at Historic Jamestowne & Jamestown Settlement

April 27, 2011

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement will mark the 404th anniversary of the 1607 founding in Virginia of America’s first permanent English settlement with ceremony, military and maritime demonstrations, and traditional music, dance and entertainment.

"Jamestown Day" on Saturday, May 14, is jointly sponsored by Historic Jamestowne, site of the original 1607 settlement jointly administered by the National Park Service and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (on behalf of Preservation Virginia), and Jamestown Settlement, a living-history museum of 17th-century Virginia administered by the state’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

"Jamestown Day" at Historic Jamestowne includes a variety of interpretive programs and demonstrations revealing the experiences of Virginia Indians and Jamestown colonists. Observe a special morning presentation commemorating the peoples present at the 1607 founding, experience 17th-century military demonstrations and listen to music by the Cobham Consort at the Memorial Church. Meet archaeologists and learn about the recent discovery of the earliest church in British America at James Fort. Experience the work of craftsmen at the Glasshouse and James Fort as they demonstrate the attempt to establish industries at Jamestown. Explore the Natalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium, an archaeology museum filled with unique artifacts from the Fort James site and tour the remains of New Towne, the historic town site dating from the 1620s. The Visitor Center also offers exhibits, a multimedia presentation and a museum store.

Highlighting "Jamestown Day" events at Jamestown Settlement is the mid-morning departure of the Godspeed, a replica of one of the three ships that brought colonists to Virginia in 1607, to set sail in the James River. The Godspeed also is the focus of a History Channel documentary "Godspeed to Jamestown" that chronicles the making of the replica ship and will be shown indoors throughout the day. King James I, portrayed by actor Howard Burnham, reviews his life and discusses the King James Bible on the 400th anniversary of its publication in 1611. Family entertainment, including puppet shows, storytelling, games, and music and dance of the 1600s will be presented, as well as artillery demonstrations and military drills. Visitors also can learn about the capital city of Powhatan, paramount chief of 30-some Indian tribes in Virginia's coastal region at the time English colonists arrived in 1607, in the special exhibition "Werowocomoco: Seat of Power," continuing through June 30. Jamestown Settlement museum offers a film, expansive indoor gallery exhibits and outdoor re-creations of a Powhatan Indian village, an English fort, and the three ships that brought the settlers to Virginia -- Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery.

Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement are located at the western terminus of the Colonial Parkway, just ten minutes from Williamsburg. Operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission to Historic Jamestowne is $10.00 for people over age 15, free for people under 16. Jamestown Settlement admission is $15.50 for adults and $7.25 for ages 6 through 12, free for children under 6. A combination ticket is available for Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Battlefield and the Yorktown Victory Center. Parking is free. Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown are connected by the free Historic Triangle Shuttle. Free transportation between the Jamestown sites is available on the Jamestown Area Shuttle and among Yorktown sites on the Yorktown Trolley.

For more information about Historic Jamestowne, call (757) 898-2410 or visit www.historicjamestowne.org. For more information about Jamestown Settlement, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or visit www.historyisfun.org.



All Day: 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, the Memorial Church and archaeological site of the 1607 James Fort, and exploring the waysides of New Towne. At the Archaearium, view a recent archaeological find -- a writing slate covered with drawings and words discovered in a 1610 well at the Fort.

All Day: Free Enterprise and Early Industries. Experience the work of craftsmen at the Glasshouse and 1607 James Fort as they demonstrate glassmaking and iron smelting as practiced during the earliest years of Jamestown.

All Day: Scavenger Hunts, Period Games & More. Join the activities for the young and young at heart. Try a game of quoits, sail a toy shallop, explore the island as a Junior Ranger, try Artifact Quest at the Archaearium and more.

9:30 a.m.: Jamestown Commemorative Presentation. Join a gathering of descendants of Jamestown colonists and members of Virginia's Native communities at the Tercentennial Monument for a special presentation commemorating the peoples present at Jamestown’s founding.

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: The Buried Truth. Share in the moment of discovery at the original 1607 James Fort. Meet the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists and learn about on-going excavations and the recent find of the site of the earliest church in British America.

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Native Lifeways of the Chesapeake. Learn about the role of Indian women in early Virginia and interactions with the first settlers of Jamestown.

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Jamestown Living Timeline. Encounter historical figures who made history on the island.

10:15 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.: Ranger Guided Walking Tour. Walk with a Park Ranger in the footsteps of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas and gain unique perspectives on the history of Jamestown.

11a.m., 1:30 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.: St. Maries Cittie Militia. Watch the St. Maries Cittie Militia, a 17th-century re-enactment group, as they demonstrate the weapons and battlefield tactics used in protecting themselves in case of attack.

11:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.: Anthony Johnson, Indentured Servant and Freeman. Freeman Anthony Johnson will explore the African experience at Jamestown, sharing his experiences from arrival in Virginia as a servant or slave in 1621 to gaining his freedom in the 1640s.

2:30 & 3 p.m.: Early Music. Visit the Memorial Church and enjoy 17th-century music with the Cobham Consort.


All Day: Museum Galleries and Special Exhibition. An introductory film and expansive gallery exhibits 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 shown. The special exhibition "Werowocomoco: Seat of Power," features artifacts spanning nearly 10,000 years from the early 17th-century capital of Virginia's Powhatan Indians.

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 experience hands-on programs and presentations, including canoe making, navigation and musket firing.

All Day: 17th-Century Pastimes. Join in fun and games of the 17th century, including hoop rolling, hobby horse racing and jousting, whirligigs, bowls, ninepins, stilt walking, and quoits.

9:15 and 11:15 a.m., 12:45 and 3 p.m.: "Godspeed to Jamestown." A documentary from A&E Television Networks History chronicles the construction of the replica Godspeed from 2004 to 2006.

10 a.m.: Godspeed Sets Sail. A cannon salute signals the departure of the replica Godspeed from the ships' pier to demonstrate sailing maneuvers in the James River. (Weather permitting.)

10 a.m. and 12:15, 1:30 and 3:45 p.m.: Storytelling. The day begins with stories passed down by the Powhatan Indians, followed by an afternoon of African tales by storyteller Dylan Pritchett.

10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.: King James and the King James Bible. King James, portrayed by actor Howard Burnham, reviews his life and discusses the King James Bible on the 400th anniversary of its publication in 1611.

10:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m.: Artillery. Drill with a 17th-century swivel gun crew, then step back and cover your ears as the historical interpreters fire the weapon on the ships' pier. (Weather permitting.)

11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.: 17th-Century Fair. Music, juggling and magic culminate in a 1600s-style puppet show.

11:45 a.m., 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.: 17th-Century Music. David Gardner, award-winning fiddler, performs popular music of the period on the ships’ pier.

12:45 and 3:15 p.m.: English Country Dancing. Participate in one of the most popular social activities of the 17th century by "arming" and "siding" your way through a few simple country dances. Don't worry! Interpreters will walk you through the steps before the music starts.

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