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'Colonial Christmas' teaches holiday traditions at Jamestown, Revolution museum

Daily Press

People can discover what Christmas was like during the American Revolution this December at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

“A Colonial Christmas” at the museum will show what the holidays entailed for those in the Continental Army camp at Yorktown during the Revolution. Also during December, visitors can learn what Christmas might have been like for settlers living in Jamestown colony’s early days at the Jamestown Settlement museum in the Williamsburg area.

At the Revolution museum, visitors will be immersed in a Continental Army encampment, where historical interpreters will perform artillery demonstrations as well as holiday activities, including open-hearth cooking and candle dipping.

“Christmas programs have taken place at both museums since the early 1980s,” said Tracy Perkins, media relations manager for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

Among other holiday activities, the Yorktown museum has offered Christmas tree lightings, period music and “Christmas in the Encampment,” Perkins said.

The holiday history events are a long-time staple for both museums, Perkins said.

Jamestown Settlement hosted a “Twelve Days of Christmas” event in 1983 and “A Jamestown Christmas,” in 1985. “A Colonial Christmas” historical celebration was adopted by both museums by the 1990s to explore 17th- and 18th-century traditions, Perkins said.

Visitors to the Jamestown Settlement this December will learn about English colonists’ Christmas at sea in December 1606, according to the program description. Inside a recreated Powhatan Indian village, historical interpreters will demonstrate food preservation and hunting techniques. Visitors will see “wattle and daub” buildings, or buildings constructed with sticks and clay or mud.

In the re-created fort at Jamestown Settlement, the Lord of Misrule — known as the grand captain of mischief — will perform 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily Dec. 23-31.

There also will be period performances at both locations. Jamestown Settlement will feature Barry and Lynn Trott on mandolin, guitar, flute and viola da gamba Saturday, Dec. 28, 30 and 31. The settlement will feature David Gardner on fiddle Sunday, Dec. 26-27 and 29. Gardner will perform at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Dec. 30-31.

We 3 Strings — which features Jack Murray, Jessica Carchic and Joanna Pearson on violin, viola and cello — will play Saturday and Dec. 29 at the American Revolution Museum.

Most scheduled entertainment will begin at 11:30 a.m.

“A Colonial Christmas” runs through Dec. 31. There will be period music performances at both museums between Saturday and Dec. 31. Combination tickets to both museums is $23 for adults and $12 for children 12 and younger. At Jamestown Settlement (Route 31 southwest of Williamsburg) tickets are $17 for adults and $8 for children. Tickets at the American Revolution at Yorktown (Route 1020 in Yorktown) are $12 for adults and $7 for children ages 6 to 12. Children 6 and younger are free, as are York County, Williamsburg, James City County residents and College of William and Mary students with valid ID.

To purchase tickets or learn more about the museum or the period music schedule, visit the museums’ website historyisfun.org or call 757-253-4838. Both locations are closed Christmas Day.

Smith can be reached by phone at 757-510-1663 or on Twitter @hillarysmith21.

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