Hands-on Activities Entertain & Educate all Ages at Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center
History is an adventure at Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center, Williamsburg area museums that tell the story of America’s beginnings. Whether trying on armor or wandering through soldiers’ tents, people of all ages will find the past coming to life as they encounter costumed historical interpreters demonstrating everyday pastimes in re-created settings.
At Jamestown Settlement, a museum depicting the early years of America’s first permanent English colony, visitors can board and explore a replica of one of the three ships that brought settlers to Virginia in 1607 – Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery – and try out a navigation instrument or steer with a whipstaff or tiller.
The world of Pocahontas – the Virginia Indian chief’s daughter who befriended the English colonists – is evoked in Jamestown Settlement’s Powhatan Indian village. Visitors can assist historical interpreters with making cordage using plant fibers, observe how tools were fashioned from bone and stone, pound corn kernels into meal, and discover how deerskin was processed to make clothing and furnishings. Inside a re-created colonial fort, families can engage in a game of ninepins or quoits, as well as try on metal armor and watch as an interpreter fires a matchlock musket.
At Jamestown Settlement’s seasonal riverfront discovery area, families will learn about 17thcentury travel, commerce and cultural exchange among Powhatan, European and African cultures. Adults and children can use oyster shells to scrape out a tree trunk to learn how dugout canoes were made, and then climb into one already hollowed out.
A short distance from Jamestown Settlement, the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution, also engages visitors in hands-on history to make learning an interactive experience for the whole family. Here, an outdoor Continental Army encampment familiarizes visitors with the daily activities of Revolutionary soldiers. Families can explore their living quarters and try on a uniform, visit the camp surgeon’s tent to learn about 18th-century medical techniques, and join an artillery crew, then watch as the weapon is fired.
At the Yorktown Victory Center’s re-created 1780s farm, visitors can practice breaking flax, one of the steps in producing linen thread. In the farm’s gardens, youngsters can lend a hand pulling weeds, watering plants with hollowedout gourds, and harvesting – just as children did more than two centuries ago.
Throughout exhibition galleries at both museums, display panels at a child’s eye level ask thought-provoking questions that help young visitors compare their lives today with life during 1600s Virginia and the Revolutionary War era.
Open daily year-round, Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center are adjacent to Historic Jamestowne and the Yorktown Battlefield and a short distance from Busch Gardens, Colonial Wililamsburg’s Historic Area and Art Museums, and other attractions. A value-priced combination ticket at $20 for adults and $10 for ages 6 through 12 and a new Historical Gardens Vacation Package are among a variety of ticket and package options for visiting Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center.
For information, call (888)593-4682toll-free or visit www.historyisfun.org.