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Many of us observe Memorial Day by participating in parades and visiting cemeteries or memorials of the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military. It is also a wonderful time to gather with friends and family and appreciate, celebrate and reflect on all the gifts that come with American freedom, especially when you celebrate Memorial Day Weekend in the Historic Triangle.
In our humble opinion, the Historic Triangle (Colonial Williamsburg and historic Yorktown and Jamestown, Virginia) is THE place to enjoy and honor Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day weekend is from Friday, May 27 to Monday, May 30 this year, so when spring turns to summer, bring your family to the world’s largest living-history museum and learn something new about your country’s past.
There is perhaps no better destination than Colonial Williamsburg* if you love history told by those who have lived it. Thanks to professional actor-interpreters, American history is not only preserved—it’s brought back to life in living color!
Understanding the past has never been so fun. America’s military history truly begins in the Revolutionary War—the war that marked us as outspoken rebels who demanded independence from a heavy-handed authority. We’ve all learned about this war in school, but as adults living in 2022, we know all too well that the weight of war is felt by real men, women and children, each with stories of pain, loss, and inspirational strength. Colonial Williamsburg holds these stories, and lets you see where and how early Americans, free and enslaved people, and Native Americans lived, worked, and more. Click here to see a list of programs that let you step back in time and see our world as it was in the 17th and 18th centuries.
*Colonial Williamsburg is offering free admission to all active duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, national guardsmen and their immediate dependents. Free admission includes access to historic trades and sites, two world-class art museums, and a complimentary shuttle service.
Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown tell the story of 17th-century Virginia—a true story and a fascinating one. Learn about the birth of America in the very place where these events actually happened, from the arrival of the English colonists at Jamestown in 1607 to the encounters that shaped our nation’s history.
Visitors can visit a re-created 1610-14 fort with wattle-and-daub dwellings topped with thatch roofs, an Anglican church, a court of guard, a storehouse and a governor’s house. Interact with historical interpreters as they forge and repair real metal objects in a blacksmith’s forge and show how actual matchlock muskets are fired. You can also see how families repaired clothing, prepared meals, and cultivated food and tobacco crops.
Valuable archaeological findings at a site near Jamestown have helped recreate a Paspahegh town, complete with crops, cooking circles, a ceremonial circle of carved wooden posts, and reed-covered houses. Interact with costumed historical interpreters, who demonstrate how the Powhatan people grew and prepared food, made tools and pottery, and more!
Along the shores of the James River, see re-creations of the three ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607. Climb aboard to learn about each of the wooden ships’ square-rigged masts, tonnage and cargo, as well as shipboard life for the 104 men and boys who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. Whether on the pier or on the main deck, Historical interpreters share the four-and-a-half-month voyage from England in December 1606 to Jamestown in May 1607, and periodically demonstrate knot-tying, sail-raising, and 17th-century piloting and navigation.
Through films, indoor gallery exhibits and outdoor living history, immerse yourself in 17th-century Virginia history and culture this Memorial Day, and learn something new about the past!