Thursday, May 13, 2010

Williamsburg Day #4 - Jamestown

Out of all the places we were planning to visit during the week, I was the most excited about Jamestown, the site of the first English settlement in the new world. In 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, a group of 104 English men and boys began a settlement on the banks of Virginia's James River. The community suffered terrible hardships in its early years, but managed to endure, earning the distinction of being America's first permanent English colony.

During our tour of the Jamestown Settlement museum, I revealed a secret of mine that I long to be an Indian during (or really before) those times. If I could choose any era to live in, 16th century Virginia would be it, but as an Indian not a colonist. There's just something exciting and refreshing about living with the land and using only the natural resources you had access too. Families and the entire tribe were a very close knit unit as well. I can only imagine the feeling that they must have felt when they saw this strange thing called a boat and all that it brought with it. I also feel a bit of sadness for them and how drastically their world was changed and overtaken.We went to Jamestown Settlement which was an amazing facility. It is located very close to the original settlement, but it is a great learning facility for both kids and adults. There was an informative movie then an extensive gallery and museum exhibit that walked you through 16th century Virginia. That's where we really discovered how I really could be one of those Indian women. We found an exhibit with a woman working in the fields with a baby wrapped to her back, just like I tote Charly around. Ha!

Powhatan Village showed how the Powhatan Indians lived. There were different stations set up where an interpreter would demonstrate a different aspect of life - cooking, making tools, clothes, fishing nets, etc. You could explore inside each hut, as well. The kids enjoyed using oyster shells to scrape the fur off a fresh animal hide (disgusting!) and playing Indian games. I was so impressed with Leland and how much she wanted to learn. She was very focused and interested.
James Fort showed how the early colonists lived. There were several buildings - a home, church, and trade shops - to walk through, kids games of that era, and a cannon that was fired periodically.

Jamestown Settlement Ships showed how those early colonists lived for 4 months while traveling by sea to the New World.I think this whole visit was fabulous for the kids. The adults took turns watching the introductory film and walking through the gallery without kids, so that we could take our time reading.

We chose not to pay to go to Historic Jamestowne, where the archaeological dig of the original village is, because it is supposedly geared much more for teenagers and adults. I can't wait to go back and do both!

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing the places you all go. Don't we live in an awesome part of the country!?!