Pamunkey Indian Tribe


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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 their existence.

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.  Phone number below under CONTACT.


Adults - $5.00

Children/Seniors -  $3.00


Please note - the museum only accepts cash or checks.  No credit cards.  Sorry.


175 Lay Landing Road

King William, VA 23086

(804) 843-4792


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 tribe, please click here.

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