Watermen's Museum

Watermen’s Museum

The Watermen’s Museum is a perfect addition to your visit to Virginia’s Historic Triangle of Yorktown, Williamsburg, and Jamestown. Our mission is to demonstrate the role that Chesapeake Bay watermen played in the shaping of our nation through a historical display of crafts and methods of their trade.

The Watermen’s Museum offers educational field trips and Summer camp programs, as well as a volunteer traditional Chesapeake Bay boat building program.

Located on the Yorktown, Virginia waterfront next to the newly developed RiverWalk shopping and dining area. The museum also offers rentals of its beach front patio area for special events and weddings.

Enter Your Location


April 1 through December 23 and December 26 through 31:

Closed Mondays

Tuesday through Saturday 10am - 4pm

Sunday 1pm - 4pm

January 1 through March 31:

Closed - Except for Special Events and Scheduled Tours

Grand Re-Opening March 29-30

(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.)


Adults - $5.00, Children - $3.00


The first Virginia watermen were the American Indians. They eventually taught the English colonists to fish and set nets. The York River was originally known as the Pamunkey, named for the tribe that lived near it. Today, members and descendants of the region’s tribes still fish the York for shad each spring and operate shad hatcheries on both the Pamunkey and the Mattaponi Indian Reservations. Their ancestors also helped the Jamestown colonists stay alive by trading them corn.


Indoor exhibits include workboat models and displays that show the challenge and skills used in crabbing, oystering, clamming, and fishing during the seasonal changes on the Bay.

Outdoors, visit the workboats, try your hand at tonging for oysters and see the tools of the trade of the watermen. Also, visit the Boat Shop where voluteers work at restoring workboats.

Our gift shop presents many unique articles related to the Chesapeake Bay and features work of local artists and craftsmen.


Restroom available, gift shop, knowledgeable docent at front desk with published guide to the museum exhibits.


We have a ramp on the back of the museum which gives wheel chair bound visitors access to the museum proper. The Carriage House, available for rentals and lectures, has an outside lift to gain access to the deck.

Main image: Watermen's Museum
Captain John Smith Trail