Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement

In 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, a group of 104 English men and boys began a settlement on the banks of Virginia's James River. They were sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, whose stockholders hoped to make a profit from the resources of the New World. The community suffered terrible hardships in its early years, but managed to endure, earning the distinction of being America's first permanent English colony.

Today at Jamestown Settlement, the story of the people who founded Jamestown and of the Virginia Indians they encountered is told through film, gallery exhibits and living history. Expansive gallery exhibits and an introductory film trace Jamestown's beginnings in England and the first century of the Virginia colony and describe the cultures of the Powhatan Indians, Europeans and Africans who converged in 1600s Virginia.

Outdoors, visitors can board replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607, explore life-size re-creations of the colonists' fort and a Powhatan village. In the outdoor areas, costumed historical interpreters describe and demonstrate daily life in the early 17th century. Dine at the Jamestown Settlement Cafe when you visit.

This unique museum of 17th-century American history and culture is located adjacent to the entrance of the original site, Historic Jamestowne, administered by the National Park Service and Preservation Virginia.

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Hours

Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (until 6 p.m. June 15 through August 15). Closed Christmas and New Year’s days.

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)

Fees

Jamestown Settlement: Adults  $17 / Ages 6-12  $8

Yorktown Victory Center: Adults  $12 / Ages 6-12  $7

Combination Ticket: Adults $23 / Ages 6-12  $12

American Heritage Annual Pass: Adults $35.00 / Ages 6-12 $17.50

History

In 1606, Captain John Smith began helping the London-based Virginia Company create a plan to colonize present-day Virginia and establish what would become Jamestown.

Smith and his fellow colonists set sail from England in three tiny ships on December 20, 1606. They spent more than four months at sea and finally reached the shores of Virginia in April 1607.

When they arrived, they opened a sealed box from the Virginia Company that revealed which seven men would govern Jamestown.

Smith's name was on the list. This angered the “gentlemen” in the group who considered Smith’s yeoman background to be beneath them.

Over the next few years, the challenge and stress of maintaining a food supply, avoiding illness, and carrying out the Virginia Company’s orders led to political infighting.

Activities

At Jamestown Settlement, prepare to embark on a journey to 17th-century Virginia. The world of America’s first permanent English colony, founded in 1607 – 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, comes to life through film, gallery exhibits and outdoor living history.

Expansive gallery exhibits and an introductory film describe the cultures of the Powhatan Indians, Europeans and Africans who converged in 1600s Virginia and trace Jamestown’s beginnings in England and the first century of the Virginia colony.

Outdoors, board replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607, and explore life-size re-creations of the colonists' fort and a Powhatan village. In the outdoor areas, costumed historical interpreters describe and demonstrate daily life in the early 17th century.

Dine at the Jamestown Settlement Cafe and shop in museum stores. A variety of admission tickets and vacation packages are available with Williamsburg area attractions.

Facilities

Indoor and outdoor museum and exhibits, cafe, museum stores.

Main image: Jamestown Settlement
Captain John Smith Trail
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