Artifact Adventures brings contents of museum's display cases to life

Staff writer

The knives are out at Historic Jamestowne. So are the Native American knapping tools and the English blacksmith’s files. Or at least replicas of them are.

Artifact Adventures, a special exhibition at Historic Jamestowne’s Archaearium, gives visitors a closer look at artifacts locked inside glass display cases. Historical interpreters give demonstrations, using reproductions, that show how those artifacts were used.

“It aims to bring the stories of the artifacts featured in the exhibits to life. Through living history interpreters, guests can see how the artifacts in the display cases would have been used 400 years ago through live demonstrations,” said Amber Phelps, manager of educational and youth programs at Jamestown Rediscovery.

Highlights of the program include demonstrations of blacksmithing and coopering, and visitors can learn from Daniel Firehawk Abbott, a Nanticoke interpreter. Visitors can witness knapping — the process by which Native Americans created arrowheads, as well as how a blacksmith uses a file to build hinges.

Alongside tradesmen demonstrations are family-friendly activities like pottery mending, where visitors can attempt to piece together broken terracotta pots, and sort through material from the John Smith well, a water source for colonists back-filled with their trash that now provides insight into their lives, Phelps said.

“The children’s programs, like pottery mending or mini-digs, showcase the journey the artifacts in the Archaearium embark upon once they have been excavated,” Phelps said.

Artifact Adventures

When: March 2 and March 16.

Where: Historic Jamestowne, 1368 Colonial Parkway.

Cost: Free with paid admission to Historic Jamestowne. General admission is $20 for adults (16 years old and older) and free for children (15 years old and younger).

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007,, @jajacobs_

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