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‘TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia’
Special Exhibit Coming to Jamestown Settlement
Submitted by Tracy Perkins

Tenacity ImageWILLIAMSBURG, Va., August 17, 2018 — "TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia," a special yearlong exhibition opening November 10 at Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia history and culture, will explore little-known, captivating personal stories of real women in Jamestown and the early Virginia colony and their tenacious spirit and impact on a fledgling society.

The special exhibition is a legacy project of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, a national observance of the 400th anniversary of key historical events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 and continue to influence America today.

Women's roles in the events of early Virginia history were rarely recorded. History gives us only fragments of their lives – a name here, a date of arrival there, a court case, marriage or death. Some of their stories have never been told.

This story-driven special exhibition will feature artifacts, images and primary sources – some on display in America for the first time – to examine the struggles women faced in the New World and their contributions. Visitors will hear stories of the first English women in the Virginia colony beginning in 1608 and the Powhatan Indian women they encountered. Exhibits will examine stories of the first documented African woman to arrive in Virginia in 1619, and the Virginia Company of London's effort that same year to encourage the growth of the Jamestown colony by recruiting single English women. From women's roles to women's rights, the exhibition will connect issues of the 17th century and their relevance today.

Discover the stories of Anne Burras Laydon, an English woman who arrived in 1608 at the age of 14 as a maidservant; Cockacoeske, a Virginia Indian woman who was recognized by the colonial government as the "Queen of the Pamunkey" and ruled until her death in 1686; and Mary Johnson, an African woman who arrived in 1623 and labored on a Southside Virginia plantation and later gained her freedom and became a landowner in Virginia.

Along with the James town-Yorktown Foundation's collection of 17th-century objects, the special exhibition will feature more than 60 artifacts on loan from 22 international and national institutions, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Museum of London, Master and Fellows of Magdalene College Cambridge, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, National Archives, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

"TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia" is funded in part by the Commonwealth of Virginia, James City County and 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, with additional support from the Robins Foundation.


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