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. Dine at the Jamestown Settlement Cafe and shop in museum stores.
Jamestown Settlement Ships
The Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery – re-creations of three ships that brought English colonists to Virginia in 1607 – are moored at Jamestown Settlement’s pier for visitors to explore. Visitors can learn about the four-and-a-half-month voyage from England and take part in periodic demonstrations of 17th-century piloting and navigation. Try steering with a whipstaff or tiller, climb into a sailor’s bunk and explore the contents of a “see” chest.
Powhatan Indian Village
Explore the Powhatan way of life in a re-created village featuring reed-covered houses, crops and a ceremonial circle of carved wooden posts. Learn about the world of Pocahontas, daughter of Powhatan, powerful leader of 30-some Algonquian-speaking tribes in coastal Virginia. The Powhatan Indian village is based on archaeological findings at a site once inhabited by Paspahegh Indians, the Powhatan tribal group closest to Jamestown, and descriptions recorded by English colonists. Historical interpreters discuss and demonstrate the Powhatan way of life. They grow and prepare food, process animal hides, make tools and pottery, and weave natural fibers into cordage. Try your hand at grinding corn, gardening or playing a game of corncob darts. Learn more about Pocahontas and the Powhatan Indians of Virginia with these resources.
The re-created fort interprets the settlement during 1610-14, reflecting its predominantly military and commercial character. Inside the triangular wooden palisade are wattle-and-daub structures topped with thatch roofs depicting dwellings, an Anglican church, a court of guard, a storehouse, a cape merchant’s office and a governor’s house. Historical interpreters forge and repair metal objects in a blacksmith’s forge and show how matchlock muskets are fired. Seasonally and periodically, interpreters also produce wood products using 17th-century-style tools, engage in domestic activities such as sewing and meal preparation and, outside the fort, cultivate food and tobacco crops. Try on armor and play games of quoits (ring-toss) and ninepins (bowling).
Historic Jamestowne is the original site of the Jamestown colony. Located on Jamestown Island at the western end of the Colonial Parkway, this unique site is administered by the National Park Service and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (on behalf of Preservation Virginia). Jamestown Settlement is a state-operated living-history museum adjacent to the original site. We invite you to visit both sites to fully experience the story of 17th-century Jamestown.
Jamestown Rediscovery Archaeological Project
Excavations began in 1994 with the hopes of finding some evidence of the original 1607 James Fort, for over two centuries thought lost to river shoreline erosion. Today, archaeologists have rediscovered much of the fortification and have recovered over a million artifacts that tell the true story of Jamestown. Please come and explore with us as we uncover "The Buried Truth" of America's birthplace.
Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium
In the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium, featuring more than 1,000 artifacts from the archaeological site, guests can meet the conservation staff and learn about how they care for, conserve and research the unique assemblage of artifacts from James Fort. Children can take part in sorting through the smallest excavated material to find animal bones, shell and seeds for clues to the fort life in the 17th century.
Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center
TheHistoric Jamestowne Visitor Centeroffers exhibits, a multimedia theater and museum store. Visitors can join a park ranger to learn how John Smith and others established a foothold in unfamiliar surroundings, or meet a character from Jamestown's past for an eyewitness account of the colony's difficult early years. Guests can walk the property and view the remnants of the early settlement, including the only surviving above-ground structure, the 17th-century brick church tower as well as the archaeological remains of New Towne established in the 1620s. A memorial church, statues and monuments commemorate important personalities and events of Virginia’s first capital.
On May 13th, 1607 the London Company established Jamestown, America’s first permanent English settlement. Today daily you can watch as glass is made in the same way as it was made back then. Visit the Jamestown Glasshouse at the Jamestown Historical Site to get a glimpse into glass-making of the past. Glassblowing was one of the Jamestown colonists’ first attempts at industrialization and manufacturing in America. In 1608, the Virginia Company of London brought several German and Polish glassblowing artisans to Jamestown, Virginia to set-up glassworks in the new colony. This first attempt was not successful. In 1954, the ruins of the long-abandoned glass furnaces were discovered in Jamestown. Years later, an operating 17th century style glass house was reconstructed near the ruins. Today, this site has become an interpretive glassblowing facility operated by Eastern National. Modern-day artisans dressed in colonial glassblowing garb produce masterful pieces of glass, much as the colonists did almost 400 years ago.
Jamestown Memorial Church
The brick Church, built in 1907, was a gift to the APVA (now Preservation Virginia) from the National Society of Colonial Dames of America. The stately Church stands behind a brick tower, erected c. 1690, which is the only surviving seventeenth-century structure at Jamestown. It is also one of the oldest English-built edifices standing in the United States. The interior of the Church contains the brick and cobblestone foundations of the 1639 church. Just yards away, the "noble" James River flows beside the site. The River and the natural setting provide additional beauty and tranquility to the magnificent historic setting, where our most cherished traditions of freedom were planted and took root.