May’s a big month in the world of Jamestown. Museums will hold the annual Jamestown Day, the debut of the original play “Mother Tongue” and other events.
Jamestown Day, which recognizes the settlement’s founding, brings special events to both Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne on May 11. The former is a living-history museum, while the latter is focused on archeology at the site of the 1607 settlement.
Re-creations of the three ships that brought the first Englishmen to Jamestown take center stage during the event at Jamestown Settlement.
“At the ships’ pier, visitors can see re-creations of the ships — designated ‘the official fleet of the Commonwealth’ — that brought English colonists to Virginia in 1607,” Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation spokeswoman Meghan van Joosten said.
The Godspeed will demonstrate sailing maneuvers in the James River, and visitors can board the Susan Constant to take in special programing about nautical navigation during the 17th century. The day also will feature programs that examine English, African and Native American cultures with hands-on activities, van Joosten said.
At Historic Jamestowne, there are new programs “From Fort to Port,” which explores the tobacco industry and the development of Jamestown into a port, and “In the Footsteps of Democracy,” which looks at excavation of the area where representative government in the English settlement was developed at the site of the Memorial Church, Historic Jamestown spokeswoman Kelly Beckley said.
There’s also a presentation on Tidewater Indian objects and culture, and demonstrations of English trades and modern archaeological conservation methods.
“Mother Tongue” will debut 7:30 p.m. May 10-11 and May 16-18 at Jamestown Settlement. The play, written by regional Emmy Award-winning scriptwriter Abigail Schumann, imagines the interactions of Matoaka, a Native American woman, Anne Burras Laydon, an English woman, and Angelo, an African woman.
“It presents these women with a stage and a voice to talk about their lives, the ways in which they were different and more importantly the ways in which they were the same," said Peter Armstrong, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation senior director of museum operations and education. Tickets are $20.
At Historic Jamestowne, visitors can join a special tour led by Archaeology and Research director Bill Kelso for a closer look at archaeology at Jamestown at the Tales of the Silver Shovel tour — a reflection on 25 years of study.
“Dr. Kelso led the team that initially found James Fort in 1994 and has been a part of all of Jamestown Rediscovery's major discoveries throughout the past 25 years of excavations,” Beckley said. “It's a really unique opportunity for guests to hear about all of our most exciting moments.”
Adult tickets are $60 and tickets for children 15 years and younger are $40. Tours start at 10 a.m. May 7 and May 21.
May programming at Jamestown Island
For more information about events at Jamestown Settlement, visit historyisfun.org/jamestown-settlement.
For more information about events at Historic Jamestowne, visit historicjamestowne.org.
Both sites have separate admission for Jamestown Day.
Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, firstname.lastname@example.org, @jajacobs_