A Colonial Christmas explores historical holiday traditions

Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will host programs that explore 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions over the next month.

Throughout December, visitors to Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown can learn about traditions through interpretive programs during A Colonial Christmas programming.

The film, “A Jamestown Christmas,” will complement the interpretive programs to compare and contrast English Christmas customs of the period with how the holiday season may have been observed in the early years of America’s first permanent English colony.

Visitors to the outdoor-living history areas will learn about the colony’s early years along with the English colonists’ Christmas at sea in December 1606, and the Powhatan Indian hospitality shown to John Smith’s trading party in 1608 during a winter storm.

At the museum in Yorktown, visitors will hear accounts of Christmas and get a look at holiday preparations on a Revolution-era farm. Continental Army encampment visitors will learn about winter camp life as well as Christmas during the Revolutionary War.

Visitors to the clapboard farmhouse will see greenery on it, along with historical interpreters who will compare 18th-century holiday traditions with those of modern times.

The Jamestown Settlement’s Lord of Misrule — dubbed the grand captain of all mischief — will appear at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. from Dec. 23-31 and will interact with visitors.

On December 23-31, visitors can enjoy a variety of 17th- and 18th-century traditional holiday music at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Jamestown Settlement and at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

Specific performances include:

  • Barry and Lynn Trott on mandolin, guitar, flute and viola da gamba at Jamestown Settlement — Dec. 23, 28, 30 and 31.
  • David Gardner on fiddle at Jamestown Settlement — Dec. 24, 26, 27 and 29.
  • David Gardner on fiddle at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown — Dec. 30-31.
  • We 3 Strings, comprised of Jack Murray, Jessica Carchic and Joanna Pearson on violin, viola and cello at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown — Dec. 20, 23 and 29.

All performance times, unless otherwise noted, are at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Jamestown Settlement, and 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

A Colonial Christmas is funded in part by a grant from the York County Arts Commission.

More information

Tickets to both museums: $23 adults, $12 ages 6-12.

Tickets to Jamestown Settlement: $17 adults, $8 ages 6-12.

Tickets to American Revolution Museum at Yorktown: $12 adults, $7 ages 6-12.

Children younger than six are free to enter both museums.

For residents of James City County, York County, Williamsburg and students at the College of William and Mary, admission is free with proof of residency.

Christmas-themed private tours are available for an additional fee with advance reservations for a party of no more than 14 people. Reservations can be made online or by calling 253-4939.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at both museums.

Directions: Jamestown Settlement is off of Route 31 southwest of Williamsburg. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is off of Route 1020 in Yorktown.

Info: Call 888-593-4682 or 253-4838.

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