Jamestown Settlement is a state-sponsored educational site that was originally created to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown in 1957. It is located adjacent to Historic Jamestowne. The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation offers combination entry tickets to both Jamestown and the Yorktown Victory Center which will save you 20percent off the individual ticket prices. Check their website for opening times and prices.
Keep in mind, school children will be here in abundance during the week, hundreds of them.
Visits begin at the Visitor Center where there is a very interesting film “1607 A Nation Takes Root”. It lasts about 20 minutes and runs every 30 minutes. The relationship between the Native Americans and the English is explored and the beginning of African American presence in Virginia. It is very educational on many levels.
The next stop is the galleries, they are amazing, allow plenty of time to tour them. Again the first exhibit explores the Powhatan people from many different angles including their homes, culture, family life, recreational activities and government among others. Next, the Western Africans who came to Virginia are introduced in the same way and finally the English. It is very interesting to see how the three compare and differ.
There is so much more in the galleries as it ends with the rise of the Plantation Aristocracy in 1699. It is now time to head outdoors.
Depending on which path you take you can head to the Powhatan Village or James Fort. 90 minute guided tours are available but touring solo is perfectly acceptable.
The fort, which is triangular in shape has plenty of buildings to tour including a church and even some soldiers gear to try on for great photo ops. The homes are furnished and give a historical interpretation of what life would have been like within the palisades of the fort. Interpreters are located throughout the grounds and feel free to ask questions.
Head down to the dock where three boats are berthed and can be boarded. The Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery are recreations of the ships that brought the original settlers to Jamestown. Again, there will be interpreters onboard to field question and offer information. The views are beautiful along the James River.
The Powhatan Village had several demonstrations going on in including one on cooking. Reed covered homes dot the village and can be walked through.
A thorough visit to the Jamestown Settlement can take all day but at the very least three to four hours are needed. Of course, there is a great gift store unfortunately filled with school children but that is what you would expect of such an educational site. Be sure to bring the kids or the grandkids, they will love it and so will the adults.