Jamestown Settlement is a living history museum operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you’re looking for a way to introduce kids to American history, start here. There’s plenty to see, and the history lessons are snuck in, presented in a variety of different ways, so there’s little chance anyone will get bored. It’s great for kids, but also worth visiting for adults.
At Jamestown Settlement, you’ll find a recreation of the original James Fort, depicting the fort as it probably looked like between 1607 and 1614. In addition, there is a Powhatan Indian Village, where you can go into the buildings and learn more about what life was like for the Powhatans. Throughout both the recreated village and recreated fort are re-enactors, who provide demonstrations and explanations about what you’re seeing.
|A view out of Susan Constant’s bow over to Godspeed and Discovery (in front of the other two ships).|
|The bow of Godspeed.|
|The Powhatan Village, as one of their villages might have looked when the Europeans landed in 1607.|
The Jamestown Settlement galleries exhibit a varied collection of objects relating to the nation’s beginnings in 17th-century Virginia.
|A pile of manillas, commonly used as currency in the slave trade in the 1600s.
This pile was roughly worth the cost of a single, enslaved individual in 1681.
The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation collection supports the museum’s storyline and includes objects representative of the Powhatan Indian, European, and African cultures that converged in 1600s Virginia. More than 500 artifacts are exhibited at any one time in the galleries.
|Women in the 1600s were frequently strapped to chairs such as
this oak chair to “shame” or physically torture them, for a variety of crimes,
such as expressing opinions, their “brabbling tongues,” or gossiping.
Know before you go: Avoid crowds by going off season and practically having the place to yourself! Also, Historic Jamestown — the real location and archeological site of the Jamestown settlement, is nearly adjacent to Jamestown Settlement, and makes a good pairing if you want to spend the whole day.
Getting there: 2110 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (until 6 p.m. June 15 through August 15). Closed Christmas and New Year’s day.