New Museum Building, Maritime Exhibition, Varied Special Programs
Hallmarks of 2015 at Yorktown Victory Center, Jamestown Settlement
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – A new museum building at the Yorktown Victory Center and a maritime special exhibition at Jamestown Settlement provide the backdrop for an array of special public programs throughout 2015. The two state-operated living-history museums tell the story of America’s beginnings through indoor films and exhibits and outdoor re-created settings: Powhatan Indian village, 1607 English ships and 1610-14 colonial fort at Jamestown Settlement, and Revolutionary War encampment and farm at the Yorktown Victory Center.
The opening of the new 80,000-square-foot building early in the year marks a midpoint milestone in the Yorktown Victory Center’s transformation into the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Visitors will be welcomed in a spacious entrance lobby with an adjacent museum store and café and a theater with showings of Revolution-theme films. An American Revolution timeline corridor leads to the outdoor encampment and farm, where visitors interact with historical interpreters. Work continues on development of new gallery exhibits and introductory film, planned for completion by late 2016, when the site will be renamed.
At Jamestown Settlement, special programs incorporate the theme of a special exhibition, “Working and Racing on the Bay: The Chesapeake Log Canoe,” that continues through September 8. Featuring objects from the collection of The Mariners’ Museum, the exhibition traces the evolution of the dugout canoe through the centuries, from the watercraft of the Powhatan people 400 years ago to multi-log trade vessels and work and racing boats.
From Africa to Virginia in February, highlighting the west-central-African culture of the first recorded Africans in Virginia and the experiences of African Americans during the colonial and American Revolution periods, is the first of three theme months at Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center. “African-American Musical Imprint Weekend” at Jamestown Settlement on February 14 and 15 will feature storytelling and musical performances. Fashion in Colonial Virginia June theme month will culminate with “A Stitch in Time” at Jamestown Settlement on June 27 and 28, including a 17th-century fashion show and tailor demonstrations. Tools of the Trade theme month in August invites visitors to compare and contrast tools and technology used by people in the 17th and 18th centuries for farming, fishing, hunting, defense, navigation and building. “On the Riverfront,” August 1 and 2 at Jamestown Settlement, highlights life along the Chesapeake Bay. “Tools of the American Revolution Seminar” on August 15 at the Yorktown Victory Center features topics ranging from military engineering to land surveying and hands-on technology demonstrations.
Jamestown Settlement’s annual Military Through the Ages takes place March 21 and 22, with hundreds of re-enactors spanning centuries of military history. This year’s event is highlighted with performances of music from the 16th to 20th centuries.
Three events mark important milestones in the nation’s history. Jamestown Day at Jamestown Settlement on May 9, jointly sponsored with Historic Jamestowne, commemorates the 408th anniversary of the founding of America’s first permanent English colony. At the Yorktown Victory Center, Liberty Celebration on July 4 and 5 salutes the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Yorktown Victory Celebration is held October 17 and 18 in conjunction with the 234th anniversary of the decisive military victory of the American Revolution.
During Court Days at the Yorktown Victory Center September 19 and 20, visitors can take part in role-play trials and enjoy period games and entertainment. Family Frights at Jamestown Settlement, a Halloween-theme museum night for elementary-school-age children, takes place October 23 and 24.
Both museums offer seasonal holiday programs in late fall. Historical foodways are featured during Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia, November 26-28, and 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions during A Colonial Christmas, December 1 through January 3, 2016.