Epilogue: Late-Twentieth-Century Transformations: Pocahontas and Captain John Smith in Late-Twentieth-Century Jamestown
In 1999, the undifferentiated Indian of the seventeenth-century masque lives on in the tourist gift shop at the Jamestown Settlement museum near Williamsburg, Virginia. This museum gift shop distinguishes between Indians from India and the Americas, but it does not sell products only from or about Virginia Indians. Enter this shop and you will find books, trinkets, and children’s toys about Indians as one generic type and Indians from all over North America. The Jamestown Settlement museum sells rings made by the Eastern Cherokee, books and tapes about Indians of the Southwest, books about Indians of the Lower Mississippi, and the ubiquitous dream catchers, products designed to get Americans in touch with “their” Indian natures and heritage.1 Such products might not (and obviously do not) cause a tourist to pause, since, after all, this museum tells a story about Indians. But the assumptions behind this gift shop display becomes apparent when its Indian offerings are compared with its offerings about the “other side” of the story. When the shop is dealing with English colonial material, it does not sell material about the French colonization of America or about Spanish efforts in the Caribbean, or even about English activity in the New England colonies that became important to England soon after the Virginia settlement was underway. Were one to ask the staff why those other materials are not available in the gift shop the answer would be quite clear—those are not the stories this museum is about.
KeywordsMuseum Visitor English People Educational Film Display Case Colonial Transformation
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