Jamestown Settlement: A Journey Back Through Time


Have you ever wondered what life was like during the early colonies before America was as we know it today? If so, a visit to the Jamestown Settlement may just be the educational destination you’re looking for.


Allowing visitors young and old alike a chance to experience daily life as it was back in the 17th century, the settlement of Jamestown provides a fascinating look at a bygone era. The Jamestown Settlement is perfect for educational tours, as it allows students and their teachers to travel through time and step into a world completely different from today’s modern living.


Serving as a living history museum in the great state of Virginia, Jamestown Settlement offers visitors an understanding of America’s first permanent English colony. Ideal for history and social studies classes, student tour participants will explore daily life through films, fascinating exhibits, and the living history part through the outdoor recreations of a Powhatan Indian village, three English ships, and even a colonial fort. Count me in!


Your educational journey begins with a tour of the gallery exhibits and a short introductory film that traces the origins of Jamestown and its citizens who arrived from England. Exploring their lives and interactions with the Powhatan Indians over the course of a century, the film also offers a glimpse into the convergence of cultures between the English and west central Africans. Once outside, teachers and their students will have an opportunity to take in all of the recreated colonial scenes.


Dating back to 1607, Jamestown was the first successful and permanent colony in North America. It was a place where the settlers had to come to terms with their new world and find a way to thrive. It has therefore become a major archeological site allowing all who visit to experience her beauty and history. Inside the galleries, visitors will see hundreds of objects that date to our nation’s beginnings. There are over 500 displayed at any given time! Through these objects, the story and origins of Jamestown is told in vivid detail.


Continuing your journey, visitors will then have a chance to experience the living history museum. Here, students will gain a greater understanding of the Jamestown Settlement through the interactive side of their educational tour. With guides dressed in clothes appropriate to the time period, students and their teachers will feel as if they’ve journeyed hundreds of years back in time. These historical interpreters will share and demonstrate what life was like back in the early infancy of our nation.


One of the highlights are the recreations of the three ships the English sailed on when leaving England for Virginia in the year 1607. Called the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, the original ships set sail from London on December 20, 1606. Carrying 105 passengers and 39 crew members, the voyage took four months. This ambitious expedition was funded by the Virginia Company of London who, were tasked with forming a colony in Virginia. Arriving in late April, and having spent several weeks searching for a suitable site, the Company finally agreed upon the area we know today on May 13, 1607. Today, recreations of these famous ships can be found along the shores of the James River. Climb abroad and learn about the harrowing journey, take in the tight quarters, witness knot-tying, and learn about plotting and navigation. Historical interpreters are always there to answer any you questions you might have. Once you’re ready, an authentic Indian village awaits!


Called Paspahegh Town, visitors are encouraged to explore the Powhatan way of life through archaeological findings. Once inhabited by the Paspahegh Indians, they were the closest to Jamestown and played a vital and sometimes troublesome role in the success of the colony. Perhaps the most famous Powhatan Indian was that of Pocahontas. Daughter of the powerful Powhatan leader, Pocahontas has become a well-known historical figure. A visit to this village will allow you to experience what life might have been like for her from reed covered houses, to carved wooden posts, student tour participants will have the chance to learn all about the Powhatan culture. Guides will share with you the way they prepared food, processed animal hides, made tools, pottery, and so much more! I can’t give it all away now…


Your final stop on your educational student tour to Jamestown will be to the James Fort. Constructed to depict exactly what the Virginia Company’s military outpost would’ve looked like from 1610-1614, James Fort provides students and their teachers another fascinating living history aspect to the colony. Once inside the triangular wooden structure, be sure to take in its unique wattle and daub foundation. What’s that you might wonder? Well wattle and daub is a material formerly or traditionally used in building walls, consisting of a network of interwoven sticks and twigs covered with mud or clay. There you’ll also find the great craft of thatched roofs! The fort is home to numerous dwellings including an Anglican church, a court of guard, storehouse, a cape merchant’s office, and the governor’s house. As you wander around, be sure to check out the blacksmith’s forge where an assortment of metal objects are constructed and repaired. You may even see wood and leather products being produced with 17th century style tools!


The settlement of Jamestown offers such a wide assortment of things to see and do for student tours that you might want to budget in some extra time. Not only does it provide a glimpse into the past but it allows us to not loose hold of how our great nation started. Through interactive sites and archaeological digs, we are able to preserve something that is truly special for generations to come.


So come and discover the world of 17th century Virginia, a time that’s so completely different than what you’re used to, but full of historical significance!