The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now Preservation Virginia) acquired 22.5 acres of Jamestown Island, including the 17th-century church tower site in 1893. The APVA conducted archaeology around the old church foundations and began to plan the construction of a new church for the 300th anniversary of the settlement in 1907.
The 1907 Memorial Church was a gift from the National Society of Colonial Dames of America and was designed by Boston architects Edmund Wheelwright and Ralph Adams Cram. The church was modeled after St. Luke’s Church in Smithfield and used bricks from two old buildings in Hampton, VA. Glass panels in the floor allow visitors to see the brick foundations of the 17th-century churches, including the one in which the colonists met in 1619 for the first representative assembly in English North America. The Memorial Church is adjacent to but not directly connected to the 17th-century tower. It was officially dedicated May 13, 1908. Many plaques on the walls inside of the church commemorate important people and events of early Jamestown.
In 2019 the Memorial Church reopened after being closed for two years for excavations within the building. During that time, archaeologists re-examined the foundations of the 17th-century churches that once stood on the site. Following completion of the digging, a new floor and wooden framing reflecting the footprint and structure of the 1617 church were installed. Additional exhibit components explain more about the original church and the significance of the First Assembly.