When the Virginia Company sailed from England to establish the first permanent English colony in the New World they were instructed by the Crown to settle Virginia and find a waterway to the Orient. Where the settlers landed on May 14, 1607, was eventually named Jamestown Virginia. This town, situated on the banks of the James River, became a site of great historic importance to the history of the United States, and today, the history of this site is celebrated and protected by two separate sites: Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne.
Historic Jamestowne, jointly administered by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities and the National Park Service, maintains a mission to preserve and protect the archaeological remains of the original site of the first permanent English settlement in North America. Jamestown Settlement is a state-run living-history museum, which gives visitors the chance to explore galleries and outdoor areas with ships, a fort, and a Powhatan Indian village. At the settlement, administrators and caretakers try to tell the stories of the three Colonial Jamestown cultures; European, North American and African, in order to better understand seventeenth-century America and to promote the preservation of Jamestown history.
During your visit to the two separate sites at Jamestown Virginia, you can take part in interactive exercises designed to give users an idea of how Jamestown archaeologists do their work, or you can visit the Teacher's Corner where you can obtain information on educational programs and the entrance fee waiver for educational institutions. The park also offers lesson plans online to share the discoveries made by Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists with teachers and students.
Living history tours regarding colonial Jamestown are offered daily, with costumed interpreters briefing visitors on Jamestown history, and explaining how Jamestown settlers lived their daily lives. If you're an adult visiting Jamestown Virginia, Jamestown Settlement offers Adult Group Tours where the research database of the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeology project is the basis for the information presented on Jamestown settlers and the town in general. Groups must have a minimum of ten participants to reserve the Adult Group Tour program.
In addition to visiting Jamestown Settlement's living history museum, guests who are particularly interested in Jamestown history will certainly enjoy the opportunity to see the archaeological excavations of the original site. Historic Jamestowne is on Jamestown Island along the Colonial Parkway, and here you can watch archaeologists with the rediscovery program excavate the site of the recently discovered James Fort, dating to 1607. Park rangers explain the scholarly research, and visitors are able to walk among the ruins of many original buildings that stood in the town, such as the original seventeenth-century church tower.
To visit Colonial Jamestown and find out about Jamestown settlers and Jamestown history, simply take the Colonial Parkway from the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor's Center to Colonial Jamestown, which is about nine miles away. You can also catch a shuttle from the Historic Triangle Shuttle Service company offering transportation to Jamestown, Yorktown, and Colonial Williamsburg. There is an admission fee, but all visitors under 16 are admitted free. The historic Jamestown sites are open daily every day of the year, except December 25 and January 1. The Entrance Station opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm, with the exception of the summer months between June 15 and August 15, when it remains open until 6 pm.