Author: Sarah McLennan

a PhD candidate in history at the College of William and Mary, who is writing a dissertation on heritage tourism and national identity in the United States

Jamestown 350th Anniversary, 1957

In 1957, Virginia hosted an eight-month-long celebration known as the “Jamestown Festival” to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the founding of the colony at Jamestown. Organized through the efforts of the Virginia 350th Anniversary Commission the festival emphasized the key role that Jamestown, as the first permanent English settlement in North America, played in American history. The event drew national and international attention to the state, and brought more than a million visitors to the Jamestown area, including then-U.S. vice president Richard Nixon and Queen Elizabeth II of England. It also suffered from the limitations of its day, namely the failure to take into account more fully the perspectives of Virginia Indians and African Americans.