Celebration expected to draw millions to the state

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 22, 2005

The 400th anniversary of the nation’s first permanent English-speaking settlement, Jamestown, is still two years away.

But planning for the celebration that officials expect to draw millions of visitors into the state-and in particularly, the nearby Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Williamsburg and York-town-began almost a decade ago with the creation of the Jamestown 2007 Commission.

Historic attractions in the area have undergone massive capital projects in preparation for the state’s yearlong birthday bash. These include:

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Historic Jamestown: In 2005, the National Park Service and Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities teamed up to open a $4.2 million, 8,000-square foot collection facility to house artifacts excavated from the 1607 James Fort site.

The Archaearium, a new $5 million exhibition facility opening in the spring 2006, will showcase unearthed objects used by the first colonists in the historic fort and town site.

Also, in the fall of 2006, a new visitor center will be opening.

The Jamestown Settlement, formerly called Jamestown Festival Park, is in the final stages of implementing a 10-year, $78.1 million capital plan that includes a new 143,000-square-foot gallery and outdoor interpretive enhancements, featuring a recreated colonial fort and Powhatan village, and replacements of two of the 1607 replica ships.

In 2006, the Godspeed, a replica of one of three Jamestown ships, will spend three months sailing to six major east coast cities promoting Virginia’s 400th anniversary. The ship will serve as a floating museum on life in 17th century museum.