Top 10 Things to See at Jamestown Settlement & American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
1. Climb aboard one of three full-size re-creations of the 1607 ships – Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery – and climb into a sailor’s bunk or steer with a tiller.
2. Explore reed-covered houses in the Powhatan Indian village, grind corn or make rope to learn about the culture of the Virginia Indians.
3. Try on an armor helmet and breastplate in the re-created 1610-14 fort and take in matchlock musket-firing demonstration.
4. See rare 1600s artifacts in Jamestown Settlement permanent exhibition galleries featuring dioramas and immersive settings that tell the story of the Powhatan Indians, English colonists and west central Africans who converged Virginia.
5. Take in the introductory film “1607: A Nation Takes Root” shown throughout the day.
6. Play an interactive game in the exhibition galleries to compare and contrast the Powhatan Indian, English and west central African culture’s language, religion, government, economy, family structure, recreation and art.
7. Take in the dramatic gallery presentation “From Africa to Virginia” that chronicles African encounters with Europeans, the impact on African culture, and the development of the transatlantic slave trade.
8. Take a stroll down the “great hall” spanning the length of the museum’s exhibition galleries that offers, with illustrations and text, a chronological journey from 1600 to 1699, when the capital of Virginia moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg.
9. Dine in the Jamestown Settlement Café, serving light-fare, including freshly prepared salads, soups, sandwiches, desserts and beverages.
10. Take a little history home with you by shopping in one of three Jamestown Settlement gift shops.
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
1. Explore the re-created Continental Army encampment, representing two companies of American soldiers, to learn about life in the army. Enlist, wander through soldiers’ tents and see demonstrations of musket-firing and surgical and medical techniques, and delve into the art of espionage.
2. View the award-winning “Liberty Fever” introductory film that features stories of personal accounts of five people during the American Revolution.
3. Discover life for a typical farming family on the re-created Revolution-era farm, featuring a house, kitchen, tobacco barn, tool shed and slave quarters. Take part in demonstrations of open-hearth cooking, flax-breaking, tending the field crops or watering the garden.
4. Just beyond a French siege cannon in the permanent galleries, take in “The Siege of Yorktown” experiential theater that transports visitors to the Siege of Yorktown with wind, smoke and the thunder of cannon fire.
5. See a rare July 1776 broadside of the Declaration of Independence.
6. Experience “Personal Stories of the Revolution” in a gallery interactive that features actors in period attire who portray 20 different people of the Revolution, illustrated with images of artifacts connected to their lives. There’s also a personality quiz that allows visitors to match the person with the common traits.
7. See an early 18th-century portrait of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, one of the two earliest known portraits done from life of an African who had been enslaved in the British colonies that became the United States.
8. Inside gallery exhibits, play the Battle Game using a touch table to command troops during the battles of Cowpens, Camden or Kings Mountain in South Carolina.
9. Take in “I Was There” – an exhibit along the museum’s Grand Corridor timeline – that features stories and images of people who experienced the American Revolution and who lived long enough to see the invention of photography.
10. Shop in the spacious gift shop for books and collectibles to remember your visit to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.