Drive West Up the James River — Next Stop: the 17th Century

The Virginia Indian Community of Arrohateck & the English Citie of Henricus

Henricus Historical Park is located on Virginia’s historic James River about 80 miles west of Jamestown (America’s first successful colony) and 20 miles southeast of Richmond.

The Citie of Henricus became, in 1611, the site of the second successful English colony in North America. It was also the place where early experiments in tobacco agriculture encouraged what was to become an economic success story, leading to the beginning of America’s economic system. This 9-acre living history park lies within the 810 acre Dutch Gap Nature Preserve with its diverse woods, wetlands and wildlife. Our educational and public programs emphasize how life was lived, over hundreds of years, in this Eastern Woodlands environment by the Virginia Indians and by the early Colonial English.

Our Pre-K – 12 multi-curricular, hands-on and interactive programs fit the history of the 17th century into its political, economic and cultural backgrounds together with an understanding of the sciences and technology of the era. Much of America’s present-day culture developed from this earliest start. Henricus education programs emphasize not only the history and social studies curriculum, but the sciences and technologies of the time. We incorporate aspects of biology, geology, environmental sciences and math into each of our programs. The field of Archaeology is used to help explain how we know about life in the past.

STEM Education is incorporated into this 17th century site, by tracking the evolution of the sciences and technology during this critical period in history. Elementary-level students work with simple machines to compare and contrast the lives of the native inhabitants and of the English settlers. Students use the same type of tools that were used to build and protect the early villages and to plant and harvest their crops. Primary-Level Programs include: People of the River: Powhatan Indians, Success of the Citie: Henricus 1611-1622, Two Lives of Pocahontas, and Mapping the James River.

Secondary-level students experiment with scientific principles (such as the scientific method, the laws of motion and the study of weather and climate) and the new technologies (such as the pendulum, weather gauges and new or enhanced weapons and navigational tools) as developed during this era and how they all helped lead to the Age of Exploration and the colonization of America. Secondary-Level Programs include: Colonial Cultures of the James River, Cultures in Contact: Archaeology & Living History, 17th Century Sciences and Math & Mapping the James River.

Additional science and math-oriented programs are coming to Henricus in the near future! The following new projects will be ready for public participation by early 2017.

The James River Wetlands Science Walk Way – will emphasize environmental, geological and biological sciences.

From Seed to Sail – Installation of the Colonial-era sailing ship Sea Lion and creation of a 17th century river commerce site, emphasizing early Virginia’s tobacco economics and culture. Programs will include activities with mathematics, technology and inventions involved in tobacco production, sailing logistics and navigational tools.

Henricus Historical Park Education also offers consulting and projects and training sessions in Project-Based Learning for primary students and Problem-Based Learning for Secondary students. Teacher Resource Sessions are offered throughout the year.

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