HID­DEN IN VA. HIS­TORY

Daily Press (Sunday) - - Front Page - By James F. Lee Spe­cial to The Washington Post

“Tenac­ity: Women in Jamestown and Early Vir­ginia,” an ex­hi­bi­tion at Jamestown Set­tle­ment, tells the lit­tle­known sto­ries of the English, African and Na­tive Amer­i­can women who cre­ated Vir­ginia.

Ex­hi­bi­tion at Jamestown Set­tle­ment tells sto­ries of the English, African and Na­tive Amer­i­can women who cre­ated Vir­ginia

Anne Bur­ras was only14 when she ar­rived in Jamestown in1608. She was maid­ser­vant to an­other woman who died shortly af­ter their ar­rival. For a time, Anne was the only English woman in a colony of about 200 men. She mar­ried two months later, faced near star­va­tion, mis­car­ried af­ter re­ceiv­ing a se­vere whip­ping for vi­o­lat­ing mar­tial law, sur­vived a deadly at­tack by Na­tive Amer­i­cans and even­tu­ally bore four daugh­ters.

Hers is one of dozens of nar­ra­tives fea­tured at “Tenac­ity: Women in Jamestown and Early Vir­ginia,” an ex­hi­bi­tion at Jamestown Set­tle­ment run­ning through Jan. 5, 2020. Its pur­pose is to tell the lit­tle-known sto­ries of the English, African and Na­tive Amer­i­can women who cre­ated Vir­ginia. Each riser on the stair­way that leads to the ex­hi­bi­tion gal­leries is in­scribed with the name of a woman. At the en­trance to the gallery, a wall panel chal­lenges vis­i­tors to “Re­mem­ber the names of these women and speak them.”

“Tenac­ity” is a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort funded by the Com­mon­wealth of Vir­ginia, James City County and Amer­i­can Evo­lu­tion, a statewide cel­e­bra­tion high­light­ing the 400th an­niver­sary of key events in1619 Vir­ginia. Spe­cial ar­ti­facts have been loaned by 22 in­sti­tu­tions in the United States and Bri­tain — in­clud­ing the Victoria and Al­bert Museum, the Museum of London and the Shake­speare Birth­place Trust. Sev­eral items are be­ing shown in North Amer­ica for the first time.

It’s an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion that il­lus­trates how the ma­te­rial cul­ture of sev­eral worlds col­lided in Vir­ginia: Powhatan clay pots, cups made from tur­tle shells, bone awls, English sil­ver bod­kins, straight pins — even a gof­fer­ing iron to make neck ruffs, an im­por­tant part of Euro­pean cloth­ing in the17th cen­tury. There are lux­u­ri­ous fur­nish­ings from the plan­ta­tion pe­riod, in­clud­ing a Ja­panned cab­i­net from Europe and one of the old­est known pieces of Vir­ginia-made fur­ni­ture — a mag­nif­i­cent court cup­board. And there are items for chil­dren — a fruit­wood rat­tle and an elab­o­rately carved wal­nut high­chair.

The ex­hi­bi­tion uses the ar­ti­facts to­gether with his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments to piece to­gether the sto­ries of the women who would have used such items. Touch screens, wall pan­els, videos and dis­plays bring their sto­ries to life.

COUR­TESY OF JAMESTOWN-YORK­TOWN FOUN­DA­TION

A Jamestown set­tle­ment his­tor­i­cal in­ter­preter sews shirts in a re-cre­ated fort. Spe­cial ar­ti­facts have been loaned by 22 in­sti­tu­tions for the new ex­hi­bi­tion on women.

COUR­TESY OF THE NA­TIONAL ARCHIVES OF THE UNITED KING­DOM

Among the rare doc­u­ments is this “Muster of the In­hab­i­tants of Vir­ginia” from 1624 to 1625, on loan from the Na­tionalArchives of the United King­dom.

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