Cities

American History Unravelled – The Historic Jamestown

Jamestown is the oldest permanent settlement established by the English in America, even before Plymouth Rock had the Mayflower. The town is deeply related with American history. The most prominent attractions that can be visited in the town are all connected to its history. Found on 2110 Jamestown Road, the Jamestown Settlement is a fairly new landmark which was opened in 2006 to recognise the 400th anniversary of the town’s Founding Day. Other than a modern theater, galleries, atrium, cafés, and souvenir shops, the facilities in the Jamestown Settlement also include a 36,000 square foot education wing along with classrooms. 

The Jamestown Settlement is a proud location bearing numerous galleries detailing the town history. One of the highlights is a film entitled “1607: A Nation Takes Root” provides a historical overview of how the society and cultures of the Powhatan Indians, English settlers, and African culture became the roots of present-day Virginia. Many significant cultural artifacts are also proudly displayed, such as furniture, portraits, documents, decorative and ceremonial objects.

One of the indoor exhibits features an authentic reconstruction of a Powhatan Indian village which was modeled after a real site that was found nearest to Jamestown during the 17th century. Visitors can have a narrative tour of the exhibit as historians explain and demonstrate the everyday life of the Powhatan Indians such as how they cooked and prepared food, made pottery and tools, weave fibers, and processed animal hides.

Within the Jamestown Settlement, tourists can also view the Jamestown Riverfront Discovery Area and Ships where the replicas of the three ships that transported the English settlers – Godspeed, Discovery, and Susan Constant, are docked and can be boarded. Sometimes, historians and experts would hold demonstrations on the replica ships about cargo handling, sail making, navigation, and piloting.

Another famous historical site is James Fort, which is meant to serve as a representation of a military settlement with a commercial touch during 1610-1614. It is complete with an Anglican Church, dwellings, storehouses, a merchant’s office, and the house of governor. Historians explain to visitors the various trades in the exhibit, such as how the blacksmiths created and repaired metal things in their forges. In another place near the bulwarks, guides demonstrate how the muskets were fired. Other occasional demonstrations presented include growing tobacco and food crops, producing wood crops, and period-style cooking processes.

Another historical destination along the Colonial Parkway is the Jamestown Rediscovery. This is the site of the original settlement where visitors could have a tour of the archaeology museum and the excavation sites. The goal of this landmark is to bring back the experience of what life might have been like in James Fort during the 17th century. The site is managed by the National Park Service and Preservation of Virginia.

Guided with park rangers, visitors can also choose to have a walking tour around the site where they can have a picnic by the riverside or watch the natural wildlife in several of their walking trails. The Jamestown Rediscovery program also allows tourists to view the archaeological site and the Archaearium museum, which houses the millions of artifacts recovered from the site.