Instead of going to the Colonial National Park where they have the foundations of the original settlement, the ruins of the church etc, we ended up at the Official Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center Visitor's Site. Here we saw the replicas of the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery – the three ships that brought English colonists to Virginia in 1607 and the Powhatan Indian Village.
This cost us over $60 (for three adults as my daughter is 13) when if we had been at the Colonial NP it would have been $28 for me and our friend and my daughter would be free because she was under 15.
Re-creations of three ships that brought English colonists to Virginia in 1607 – are moored at Jamestown Settlement’s pier The ships are not handicapped accessible so my dad and I went on board while my mom waited with the kids and the stroller
Food and drinks are not allowed inside the museums or the outdoor living-history areas. Photography and video/audio recording are not permitted in the museum orientation theater, museum theater and gallery exhibits. Obviously that was not the case when we visited in 1964
There is a new documentary film, 1607: A Nation Takes Root, shown every 30 minutes in the museum theater. The film traces the evolution of the Virginia Company that sponsored the Jamestown Colony, examines the relationship between the English colonists and the Powhatan Indians, and chronicles the arrival of the first Africans in 1619.
Also new since our time are the Kids Museum Guides
In 1964 we went to the Jamestown Festival Park - the state park - first. Then as now there was free parking and gift shops. I don't think the 190-seat Jamestown Settlement Café was there then.
All areas of the museums, except on board the ships, are wheelchair accessible. A video tour of the largest ship, the Susan Constant, is shown in the Jamestown Settlement galleries. Strollers, wheelchairs and assistive-listening devices are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Open-captioned versions of on-site films will be shown on request. Sign language interpreters are available with a minimum of two weeks’ advance notice. Licensed guide animals assisting visitors are allowed throughout the museums.
I don't remember what we paid then but current (2012) admission rates are
Ages 6-12 $7.25
It says children under 6 are "complimentary" which I suppose means that they are free.
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.
There are two parks at Jamestown. One is the US Park Service park (Federal) and one is a Virginia State Park. When we lived in Norfolk (1960-1964) my husband and parents and the kids went to the state park.
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. The re-created village features reed-covered houses, crops and a ceremonial circle of carved wooden posts. We took several photo of my daughter in the ceremonial circle
a system of mounds and ditches were built in colonial jamestown to provide drainage, to mark property boundries, and to serve as garbage disposal. some of the larger mounds in the park are the remains of confederate defenses during the civil war.
colonel thomas swann lived across the james river from jamestown at swann's point plantation. colonel swann also owned a tavern in jamestown. the foundation of this elongated four room structure was typical of such establishments at the time. because colonel swann advised the rebel nathaniel bacon, his plantation was undamaged during bacon's rebellion but charred timbers excavated from the site suggest that swann's tavern was burned during the rebellion. the tavern was reopened in 1679.
pictured is the foundation of a "townhouse" built around 1662. in 1668 the justices of james city county asked permission to use part of this structure as a goale, (prison). the two eastern units of this row house were badly damaged during bacon's rebellion and were repaired shortly there after. in 1680 george lee and his wife sarah occupied a unit on the east end of the row house and provided accommodations to committees of the assembly, the general court, and delegations of virginia indians in town on official business. this building was abandoned soon after the capital was moved to middle plantation in 1699 and fell into disrepair.
in 1699 the capital of virginia moved to middle plantation (williamsburg) most of the residents of jamestown left the island. the ambler family bought up most of the western part of the island in the early 18 th century. during the first half of the 18 th century the ambler family became wealthy planters. the ambler mansion was built around 1750. this two story mansion was burned by the british during the revolutionary war. after the revolution the mansion was restored by colonel john ambler. during the civil war runaway slaves congregated on jamestown island and burned the mansion again. after the civil war the mansion was restored a second time but burned again in 1895. after the 1895 fire the mansion was abandoned and never repaired.
john smith was an english explorer and writer who is best known for establishing the first permanet english settlement at jamestown. smith was reported to be a troublemaker during the voyage to virginia and captain chistopher newport planned to execute him on arrival in virginia. fortunately for smith upon landing in virginia sealed orders from the virginia company were opened. they designated smith to be one of the leaders of the new colony which forced newport to change his plans. in december 1607 smith became famous for his encounter with pocahontas the daughter of the chief of the powhatan native american tribe. in 1608 smith left the jamestown colony to explore the chesapeake bay region. smith returned to england in 1609 and never returned to virginia. in 1614 smith returned to america to explore the coasts of maine and massachusetts. i was here that smith named the area "new england". in 1615 smith again returned to england and published "a description of new england". john smith died in london in 1631. john smith was a very interesting character in early american history.
located behind the jamestown church is the jamestown cemetery. established in 1617 it is the oldest english burial ground in america. of the existing tomstones in the cemetery many were imported from england. some of the early settlers of jamestown buried here are john ambler, jacquelin ambler, the reverend james blair and his wife sarah, and william sherwood " a great sinner waiting for a joyful resurrection".
the original jamestown church was built in 1617. a new church was built on the site of the original church in 1639. the construction of the church tower took four years to complete. the jamestown church tower is the oldest surviving structure built by europeans in the original thirteen colonies. the rest of the 1639 church was destroyed after it's abandoment in 1750. the present church was reconstructed in 1907. the original 1617 foundation can been seen in the enterior of the new church.
the original jamestown settlers built a wooden fort on this site in 1607. this area was excavated by dr. william kelso in 1994 and found ninety percent of the foundation of the fort. as seen in the picture excavations continue on today. the current walls of the fort is a reconstruction.
Jamestown has a wonderful recreation of the old Native American settlement. Visitors can walk through the town and learn from actors dressed as Native Americans. People can often witness them doing chores or activities that the Indians did in the same way that they did it! It's a wonderful place to learn and see firsthand what it was like to live in the Indian Village when the colonists arrived.
(for more information see the website)
Along with the Indian Settlement, there is also a recreation of the English settlement. Here, visitors can meet with actors dressed in the colonial attire and learn about life during the time Jamestown was first colonized. The reinactors will perform activities that were typical of the first colonists, and some activities are open for the public to try, as well!