Monday, February 8, 2010

Jamestown Virginia - "living history" celebrating the birth of America

The first settlement of Virginia on the east coast is arguably the starting point for the United States of Americas collective history and understanding of its culture. In our recent class talks about the significance of buildings like Monticello and Washington DC as a historical location, I thought to make a comparison to the “Living History” of the Virginia and Jamestown Foundation Museums based around the first colonial landing site of the United states. Virginia’s tourism and educational outreaches in its Museums and foundations celebrate over 400 hundred years since its discovery and formulates our learning and understand the origin of American identity and culture. There are numerous websites that boast of the “Living History” that the Museum offers;

“Today at Jamestown Settlement, the story of the people who founded Jamestown and of the Virginia Indians they encountered is told through film, gallery exhibits and living history. Expansive gallery exhibits and an introductory film trace Jamestown's beginnings in England and the first century of the Virginia colony and describe the cultures of the Powhatan Indians, Europeans and Africans who converged in 1600s Virginia. Outdoors, visitors can board replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607, explore life-size re-creations of the colonists' fort and a Powhatan village, and tour a seasonal riverfront discovery area to learn about European, Powhatan and African economic activities associated with water. In the outdoor areas, costumed historical interpreters describe and demonstrate daily life in the early 17th century.” –

I thought this presented a similar comparison to the NMAI in Washington DC. Like the NMAI, the Jamestown foundations goal is to represent properly the history of its location and significance and ongoing significance it has on American identity; creating a “living” breathing historical entity that educates about the origin of this country IN the location where American history started. Naturally understanding where and more importantly how the birth of the nation came to be is key to taking forth the legacy left behind by the settles over 400 years ago.

“Jamestown – from their sacrifice, our nation was born—Every American should stand here once” – Jamestown Foundation

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