Pamunkey Indian Tribe
The major focus of the Pamunkey Indian
Museum is to teach about the Pamunkey people and their way of life throughout history,
from the ice age to the present. Tools and other items are shown as they would have been
seen and used by the Native Americans of that period. Original artifacts are displayed
along with replicas based on the most up-to-date information on how things were made,
handled, used, and worn out. It is hoped visitors will be inspired by our history and
whether by a brisk walk through or studying some period in detail, an interest will be
generated about the lives of the people who left this great legacy.
Built to resemble the houses of the ancient
Pamunkey, the museum now houses their story. Set within the quiet confines of the
reservation, the museum is the only documented history of a tribe that has existed on its
present homeland since the Ice Ages and played a significant leadership role in the
activities of Virginia's Native American population throughout history.
To walk through the museum is to walk
through time. Beginning with the Ice Age, you are made familiar with "The
People" (what they looked like, their ornaments, and their personal existence):
"Their Natural Environment" (the land they inhabited, and how it looked);
"Their Settlement" (the dwelling places of the people); and "Their
Subsistence" (the tools they used and how they survived). These four themes reappear
in each of the archeological time frames shown until you reach the present. The four
themes are color-coded blue, green, yellow and red respectively to assist you in following
them as you move from case to case.
Some visitors find a trip through a museum
dissatisfying because it is impossible to envision the lives of the people being
represented merely by looking at a display case full of artifacts that may or may not be
recognizable; the Pamunkey Indian Museum is a refreshing change. Several new concepts were
used in developing the displays that make it possible for the viewer to see and relate to
the Pamunkey people throughout time. Artifacts and replicas have been combined to give an
authentic view of the lifestyle of the tribe; and concise, descriptive narrative supports
each display. Interwoven through these explanations of replicas and artifacts are quotes
from early visitors about the life of the Native American at that time. In summary, the
people and their way of life are featured by showing how tools and art forms worked into
No matter how long the visit to the museum,
whether for a day or an hour, there will be many things to learn. The museum is an
educational experience so broad in scope as to appeal to the casual observer; yet it still
maintains a wealth of information for those who wish to take the time to review the
displays in depth. In addition, a ten minute video presentation gives a capsulized history
of the tribe.
Of course, an effort such as this does not
spring forth of its own volition. Mr. Warren Cook and Mr. Errett Callahan, Anthropologist
and Experimental Archeologist, were major forces behind the museum's creation. In addition
to his extensive research and design work, Errett was responsible for the production of
the museum's replicas and contributed significantly to the collection of artifacts. Other
sources for the museum collection include Wahansacook and other tribal members, tribal
collections, local collections, the Virginia Research Center of Archeology,
archaeologists, and the Pamunkey Research Center. Without the support of Mr. Callahan and
these individuals and organizations, the museum would not exist today.
The museum gift shop sells many Pamunkey
handcrafted items. Of particular note is the pottery which is made using centuries old
techniques and clay dug from the Pamunkey River.
Please note - the
museum only accepts cash or checks. No credit cards. Sorry.
Please call for latest hours to
ensure the museum is open. (804) 843-4792
Adults - $2.50
Seniors - $1.75
Please note - the museum only
accepts cash or checks. No credit cards. Sorry.
175 Lay Landing Road
King William, VA 23086
This telephone number is provided for museum operations and not general tribal inquiries. If that is the purpose of your
call, you will not receive an answer or return call. If you have a need to contact the
© Copyright 2010 and beyond, Pamunkey Indian Tribe
All rights reserved.