Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Experience the Wonder of the First Permanent English Settlement in Jamestown

Think history is boring? Take a trip to Jamestown. Anyone who visits the Jamestown settlement with an open mind and makes an honest effort to understand what those English settlers faced in 1607 will come away with a new appreciation for history. And that's why a trip to Jamestown may be just what your school or family needs.

History teachers and parents who want their kids to better appreciate history have to compete today with iPods, cell phones, television, and Facebook. Yet a person, no matter her age, can't help but be impressed with the adventure our ancestors endured at the Jamestown 1607 settlement. This is what makes a trip to the Jamestown settlement such a potential life-changing event. I remember the first time I went with my grandfather many years ago. I was a young child, absolutely enthralled by the ships and the fort and all that was there. And while I can't remember all the details of that distant memory, I remember how it helped shape my love for history from that day forward.

Those who visit Jamestown can likewise experience the story of America's beginnings, for it was at Jamestown that England established its first permanent colony in the New World. Sponsored by the Virginia Company, a group of 104 men and boys began the Jamestown settlement in 1607 on the banks of Virginia's James River.

Those who visit Jamestown today can take in the various exhibition galleries and learn about life in the 17th and 18th centuries. The community suffered terrible hardships in its early years, but survived, thanks in part to the leadership of John Smith. Their endurance made them the first permanent English settlement in the New World, which could not be said of the two previous ill-fated attempts in Roanoke.

Today at Jamestown Settlement, the story of these survivors is told through gallery exhibits, film, and costumed historical interpreters who describe and demonstrate daily life in the early 17th century. Visitors can board replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607. It's these ships that I remember the most from my youthful trip. You can also explore life-size re-creations of the colonists' fort and a Powhatan village.

If you're looking for a place to visit where history can truly come alive, Jamestown is one of the best places to experience.

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