Header photo information: In 1919, Pamunkey Indian couple Nannie and Paul Miles, along with an unidentified child and Union Ottaway Collins holding a dog, posed on the front porch of a house on the Pamunkey Reservation in Virginia. Frank Speck photograph collection, N12730; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.


Student and youth groups visiting Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, Virginia, can spend some time learning about the perseverance of Virginia’s Indian population in a new, yearlong special exhibition. “FOCUSED: A Century of Virginia Indian Resilience” uses personal and professional photography collections to display 100 years of change — from the passage and repeal of the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 to state and federal recognition today. The exhibit will run through March 25, 2022.

In the exhibit, students are introduced to Virginia’s 11 state and federally recognized Indian tribes through contemporary photography and objects. The photographs in the exhibit draw from collections held by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, as well as images from anthropologist Frank Speck; award-winning Baltimore Sun photographer A. Aubrey Bodine; and portraits by contemporary American Indian photographers.

Along with photography, the exhibit shares stories, artifacts and anecdotes to highlight themes central to Virginia Indian daily life, including the establishment and maintenance of Virginia Indian reservations and tribal lands, education, hunting and fishing, and traditional crafts and cultural heritage.

“We’re excited to have the ‘FOCUSED’ special exhibition at Jamestown Settlement that explores little-known stories of Virginia Indians over the past century and how their culture and traditions endure today,” said Joan Heikens, senior sales and promotions manager at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. “Students and groups of all ages can experience this contemporary aspect of Virginia history and also immerse themselves in the shared stories of diverse cultures in the 17th and 18th centuries through exhibits and living history at Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.”

Blacksmith, Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg, Va.
Credit: Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation

Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown offer a variety of in-person and virtual education programs for student groups. At the museums, students see hundreds of unique artifacts in the exhibition galleries as well as costumed historical interpreters in the outdoor, living history areas.

Jamestown Settlement interprets 17th-century Virginia. Visitors discover the story of America’s first permanent English colony, founded in 1607, and the ensuing convergence of the Powhatan Indian, English and West Central African cultures.

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown tells anew the story of the nation’s founding, from the twilight of the colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution and beyond.

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Williamsburg, Va.
Credit: Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation

For more information about guided tours and programs, call 757-253-4939 or visit jyfmuseums.org.

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Courtney Birchmeier oversees the editorial department at Group Tour Media. With half a decade under her belt in the group travel industry, she's eager to connect tour operators and group leaders with new destinations. It's a great day at the office if her dog, a chow/lab mix named "Kiwi," is in tow. In her free time, she enjoys reading (for fun, with no red pen in hand), sampling craft beer (New Holland Brewing's "Dragon's Milk," anyone?) and adding new destinations to her travel bucket list (like Salzburg, Austria).