Tuesday, November 6, 2012

History close up and personal

First things first. Last night Scooterchick fixed a fabulous dinner, and I would be remiss if I didn't share it with you. The entree included tilapia fillets, marinated flash fried prawns, broccoli and carrots, as you can see from this picture.

As if that wasn't enough when I mentioned being a little peckish later in the evening she delivered this little snack to me on the couch.

Typically when I finish something like this even if it's shared the only thing left to say is "whoooooof!" 

This morning after breakfast we headed out to see what mischief we could get up to. I had wanted to take this particular picture of the Colonial Parkway where I-64 goes over top of it. The coveted double arch bridge shot.....whoo...hoo!

Along the way to our destination we passed Sandy Bay which is the outflow to Powhatan Creek, and has tidal marsh. I tried to catch the flavor of the wind on the grass.

Soon enough we were at our destination. Having seen the James Towne National Monument yesterday, today we were going to the Jamestown Museum, a fish of a different color altogether.

So we came to the Jamestown Settlement, a huge museum and more. This was the approach to the big show, a promenade celebrating the quadricentennial year of the founding of James Towne in 1607. Every state was represented with a plaque congratulating Virginia on it's founding.

At the far end of the promenade and the close end of the museum was a sculpture fountain, representing the main ship that founded the settlement. More on this later. It was a very well done fountain or sculpture or sculptain or founture or something.....you decide.

I took another view looking back toward the promenade to show the scul-ountai-re from another view. I though it very interesting.

This is the entry to the museum, as you can see even the entry is big. If it weren't so cool today, and on the shore of the James River at the outflow to Chesapeake Bay, I could swear we were in Texas.

Even the benches wanted you to know where they were, and had no problem showing it.

Once we got inside the museum we thought a glamour shot might be in order. Since we are such a good looking young couple, we know it will not go to waste, and you were wondering when you would see our smiling faces.....

Here's another picture, more of a long shot as we managed to cajole our friend into taking the picture for us. I think he did a fine job.

This is the gallery leading down the museum. This is the only picture I could take as photography within the exhibits was expressly forbidden. Let me just say there was a HUGE amount of stuff within the exhibit space, starting from pre-history to the present with a plethora of exhibits, all very well done.

Once we had seen the video presentation and overview and some of the museum exhibits we went outside to see the exterior exhibits. There is a full scale reproduction of the fort, the ruins of which we saw in our last entry. Knock Knock....Who's there....Enemies...Boom! With a cannon pointing directly anyone knocking on the door, these guys were prepared.

If you remember the church from the last post, this shows it as it would have been back in the day. Since church was twice a day at 10 and 4, and there were severe penalties for missing a service the employees chose to attend, rather than face the consequences. Here is Scooterchick with a quick pic.

Here is a picture inside the armory. The re-enactors took great care to explain the weaponry, tactics and outlook of the employees at the time. Guns were never far from hand, because they were paranoid of attack from the Spanish, Powhatan or each other.......

This picture is of the other end of the armory, pikes, flintlocks, rapiers, knives, armor aand every known implement of destruction were stored here. As the guides said "it was all designed to keep the red stuff on the inside of you, and to let it out of your enemies."

The Barracks building which was shown in the previous post is seen here in fine shape. It was a mud and stud building, but the whitewash kept the weather and bugs out, and the thick thatch roof kept the inside dry. Note the wheel barrel.

A picture of the interior reveals barrels of tobacco, furs and other commodities stored up for transshipment to England. In addition there were agricultural tools and other things necessary to the survival of the settlement. Keep in mind that the company superintendent ruled with an iron fist, and that the individual employees owned the clothes on their backs and very little else. Everything was meted out on a strict rationing system.

In the rafters we see "the golden weed" drying. A freeman named John Rolfe had brought tobacco seed from the West Indies and the Orinoco region of Venezuela, and managed to start cultivating it in Virginia. This ensured the economic survival of the colony.

Leaving the fort and walking down to the waterfront, we see my beloved, grinning and soaking up the history. She is in her element, as we both love museums and history...........kewl!

Upon reaching the waterfront we encounter replicas of the ships which first arrived here. This is the Discovery, a pinnace of 20 tons, with a crew of 9, and a further 20 passengers. She was the only ship the Virginia Company owned outright, and was 49 feet 6 inches in length.

The big ship, the Susan Constant was 116 feet overall and had a crew of 17 with 54 passengers, who slept on mattresses which rested on the barrels of supplies to establish the colony.

Here is a stern picture of the Susan Constant, showing a small after deck that the captain could access from his cabin to walk around the stern of the ship. It looks very much as though I've been photobombed by Scooterchick in this photo.

Once on board, my beloved took up with a sailor, fickle fickle women, who gave her a history lesson of the life of an ordinary sailor on a voyage like this. I managed to hold my tongue when it was clear he needed a stern "avast ye matey, get your grubby meathooks of my spouse, or I'll have words with the Cap'n and we'll  bothe see you swinge from the yardarm" !

This is a picture of the tween decks, where the passengers and cargo made way for the colony.
Keep in mind that they set out just after Christmas 1606. A fine time for a voyage in the North Atlantic! What were they thinking?

After leaving the port side attractions, we went up the path to a recreated Powhatan Village. They lived in semi-permanent settlements constructed of woven mat coverings over wooden framed structures. It appeared that they were better suited to the environment than the British interlopers.

There was a demonstration of a frame for the stretching and working of skin. This ensured that their methods of preservation completely cleaned and preserved the hide.

Here is my beloved, showing the details of the interior of a Powhatan house. They had sleeping platforms, a ventilation hole for smoke,  a central fireplace for heat and areas for storage of cured furs and for food.

Here are some cured furs and a sleeping platform. i was about ready to have a nap by this time, but i soldiered on, as there was more yet to see.

The preceding picture was of the chief's house. Scooterchick turned around and gasped when confronted by a bear skin. it was a good size.


Here she is examining a badger skin, or is it a skunk? Either way the pelt was soft. The chief's house was substantially larger than the others as befitted his status and rank.

These re-enactors gave us some information on Powhatan daily life, and their construction techniques. They are paid docents who describe the exhibits and really know their stuff.

they are not shy about having their pictures taken either. I remarked on her fox stole, and was corrected in that it was actually coyote.

Here is a powder puff tree. I don't actually know what it's called, but I like the look.

This is a long shot of the museum from our entry point. The building is at least twice the length of a football field. It's a long walk back to the car, and my feet are begging me to get off!!!!!

This is the main entry hall. It's also the main exit hall. The light is fading and it's time for dinner okay?

Having walked and walked and walked, we drove home, and ate BBQ. No picture as it wasn't pictureworthy, but it was filling. And so, another action packed day of history. It is also polling day in the United States, and we are hanging on the results.  Pray for America!  and have a good sleep!

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