Historic Jamestowne archaerium museum provides hands on, educational fun in winter months

aluck@tidewaterreview.com

Historic Jamestowne is providing educational, family fun during the winter months for the second year in a row.

The program “Artifact Adventures” brings 17th-century Jamestown to life with hands-on activities on the first and third weekends of every month from January to March at the Voorhees Archaearium Archaeology Museum.

The event was designed for those wanting to visit the historic site but avoid the cold weather, according to Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation manager of education and youth programs Amber Phelps.

“We do have people that come visit in the winter time, but the outside environment is uncomfortable this time of year,” Phelps said. “It’s unpredictable, it could be 60 degrees or 10 degrees.”

The program includes 13 activities including writing a time capsule note for someone living in 2419 to read, digging artifacts out of sand, and sorting through excavated materials to find bones, shells, brick and more.

Four interpreters have discussion stations to talk about lifestyles back in the 17th century, such as a Native American, colonist, blacksmith and cooper.

Daniel Firehawk of the Nanticoke tribe of Maryland’s Eastern Shore discussed the lifestyles of the Tidewater Algonquians and their interactions with the Jamestown settlers.

Firehawk also showed museum visitors how to make the head of an ax, how to make a woven basket and what aspects of Native American dress mean.

English colonist Anas Todkill, who explored the Chesapeake with Capt. John Smith, told visitors about the voyage to Virginia and what tools and tactics he and his fellow colonists used to survive in the new land.

Todkill taught museum visitor Addison Guthrie, 9, from Alexandria, how he used a diptych sundial compass to find out what direction he was headed and what day it was depending on the phase of the moon.

“I had fun learning from him,” Addison said. “I learned a lot about tools he uses.”

Norfolk resident Lori Clark said she thinks the program is great and educational for all ages.

“It’s great because it’s cold out and we just stumbled upon the event,” Clark said. “The Native American man was very thorough and full of knowledge.”

One of Clark’s son, Liam, 9, said he liked listening to the Native American man, blacksmith and digging for artifacts.

Danielle McCadden came from Washington, D.C., to visit Jamestown for the first time.

“It’s nice to take a break from the cold,” McCadden said. “I love that there are non-traditional type of exhibits with interaction and discussion.”

Phelps said the museum finds that guests tend to stay a bit longer during the activities.

“We average about 30-45 minutes per family at each station,” Phelps said. “We are looking at doing more at doing more archaeological and family friendly activities for all seasons.”

The event is free with admission for Historic Jamestowne. Visit the historicjamestowne.org’s event calendar for more information.

Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, aluck@tidewaterreview.com or @ashleyrluck on Twitter

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