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Brave the Maze at the Virginia Living Museum

Newport News, VA (December 26, 2018)–American Adventure opens at the Virginia Living Museum January 19, 2019 through April 21, 2019. The exhibit challenges the visitor to Brave the Maze and journey through an experience much like the early colonists.  The exhibit that dares to ask, “Will You Survive?”  This exhibit is made possible thanks to presenting sponsor National Exterminating Company.

In 1607, settlers landed on the shores of Virginia and called it home, creating the first permanent European settlement. Little did they know that less than half of them would survive the year in this new wilderness. Minotaur Mazes’ American Adventure takes visitors on an immersive, educational role-play adventure that asks them to conquer one great challenge: survive the year as one of the original Jamestown colonists.

Blending historical accuracy and the complexities of real life and death decisions, American Adventure delivers a truly unique and effective learning experience. Visitors choose a unique identity of one the Jamestown colonists and track a series of life choices on an easy to use abacus representing “life points” for health, wealth, food, and morale. You have to maintain all of them to “survive” the exhibit. Visitors will encounter four content-rich “Season Galleries” and engage in hands-on activities that result in choices relevant to their character. Survival is based on visitor knowledge and ingenuity but also the abilities and priorities of chosen identity. The American Adventure experience quickly reveals the reality of what Jamestown’s settlers faced, but also how everyday decisions and interactions with the environment can be a matter of life and death.

“Better than a video game, better than reading facts, you will step off a ship’s gangplank into a three dimensional game where you make decisions and face the luck of fate under the conditions facing the early colonists,” Senior Director of Exhibits Fred Farris said.

Originally co-developed by the Virginia Living Museum and Minotaur Mazes as Survivor: Jamestown, this production has been adapted for a national audience and a broader early colonist viewpoint. It won the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), its most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. The award presentation was underwritten, in part, by The History Channel. The exhibition also won the Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience from the Association of Science and Technology Centers.

American Adventure is a 2,000 square foot, interactive maze that provides a kinesthetic learning experience about surviving and thriving in the natural world of the 17 the century Chesapeake Bay region, including important distinctions about flora and fauna. Visitors will also learn how this part of Virginia has changed over the years and how it established the framework of living in 1619 and beyond. The hands-on exhibit includes an indoor rock wall and zipline.

Visitors will also meet live animals that were new to the early colonists and discover how to tell if an animal is poisonous, venomous, or edible with Jamestown Animal Mystery programs every Saturdays at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm. Guest will explore the vital role astronomy played in the journey to and survival in the New World at 1:30pm in the Abbitt Planetarium with the show Skies of Jamestown. Dates may vary.

Hear the colonists’ own words as they encounter strange animals in a new world with the Museum’s free Uniguide audio tours. Look for Jamestown Connection signage throughout the Museum to see how the environment has changed since 1607. Plus, The Crazy Forts! Build Zone in the American Adventure exhibit gallery features a colorful set of spheres and sticks that will have children’s imaginations run wild as they build unique forts.

The Virginia Living Museum is also pleased to announce that it is the recipients of a $10,000 marketing grant from the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution™.

The American Adventure experience will be included in Museum admission; $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 3-12. All daytime planetarium showing are free for Museum members and $4 plus Museum admission for non-members.

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