A partnership between Colonial Williamsburg and Preservation Virginia is coming to an end Dec. 31 after five years of shared archaeological and educational activities that linked the living history museum with Historic Jamestowne and its team of archaeologists working to excavate James Fort.
The partnership paired archaeological discoveries at Historic Jamestowne with Colonial Williamsburg’s educational programs both online and in museums.
Colonial Williamsburg also oversaw operations and helped to market and raise funds for Historic Jamestowne while supporting projects like the stabilization of the church tower.
Preservation Virginia is a nonprofit which owns Historic Jamestowne and conducts ongoing archaeological work to excavate the remains of James Fort.
In a news release from Preservation Virginia, the group’s executive director, Elizabeth Kostelny, and Colonial Williamsburg Foundation President and CEO Mitchell B. Reiss left the door open to future collaboration.
In the meantime, a new foundation will be created to oversee fundraising and operations for Historic Jamestowne, the museum on the southwest corner of Jamestown Island that features the church, the archaeological work and the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium.
At the head of the yet unnamed foundation will be Jim Horn, a longtime stalwart of Colonial Williamsburg who presently works as the vice president of research and historical interpretation and the O’Neill Director of the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library.
Horn has spent the past five years overseeing Historic Jamestowne, a job he will continue in his role with the new foundation.
“Historic Jamestowne is a world class archaeological site and I am delighted to join Preservation Virginia to lead the remarkable work that is taking place there,” Horn said in the news release. “I look forward to working with Dr. William “Bill” Kelso, his research team, and the exceptionally talented staff and volunteers to build upon past successes and make our public programs at Historic Jamestowne even better.”
Kostelny said Wednesday the end of the partnership will not affect guest experience at Historic Jamestowne. She said new programs and events will be forthcoming, commemorating such anniversaries as the 1619 first meeting of representative government in the New World. That meeting took place at Jamestown’s church.
She said she is excited Horn will now be overseeing Historic Jamestowne on a full-time basis. Horn, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, spent 20 years teaching at the University of Brighton before joining Colonial Williamsburg. He has authored six books on topics that include Jamestown and the lost colony of Roanoke, a site in North Carolina where the English attempted to settle in the 16th century.
Reiss, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation president and CEO, said in the release Horn has made invaluable contributions to Colonial Williamsburg in the 12 years he has spent with the foundation.
“While sad that we will no longer benefit from Jim’s many talents, we are delighted that he will work to strengthen this unique historic site for future generations,” Reiss said in the release.
Preservation Virginia is more than a century old and operates historic sites across the state, including Bacon’s Castle in Surry County and the Cape Henry Lighthouse at Fort Story. The group acquired 22.5 acres on Jamestown Island in 1893, almost 40 years before the National Park Service established itself on the island.
In 1994, the group began the Jamestown Rediscovery project, which sought to locate James Fort. The fort was built in the first days of English settlement on the island. Archaeological work has been ongoing since the fort site was found, with more than 2 million artifacts discovered so far.
For a look at some of the work underway at the fort, check out WYDaily’s Jamestown Unearthed series: