Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mysteries of the Lost Colony and New World

North Carolina Museum of History Press Release

Mysteries of the Lost Colony and A New World: England's First View of America from the British Museum

Oct. 20, 2007, to Jan. 13, 2008

August 18, 2007, marks the 420th birthday of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in America. Weeks after her birth, her grandfather, John White, governor of the Roanoke Island colony and an artist, traveled to England for supplies. When he returned three years later, the entire colony had vanished.

Today, the Lost Colony mystery remains ― as do the exceptional watercolor drawings White created of Roanoke Island in 1585 and 1586. Visitors to the N.C. Museum of History can see more than 70 of these original watercolors, on view for the first time in 40 years outside of England, in a major exhibition opening Saturday, October 20, in Raleigh. White’s detailed renderings from his expeditions to the New World give us the only surviving visual English record of America at the time of European contact.The complete collection of White’s extraordinary images of New World flora and fauna and Algonquian Indians will be featured in Mysteries of the Lost Colony and A New World: England’s First View of America from the British Museum.

This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, presented through the collaboration of the N.C. Museum of History and British Museum, will run through January 13, 2008. White’s watercolors in A New World: England’s First View of America — called “enthralling” and “unmissable” by London’s Daily Telegraph — form the heart of the larger exhibition. Mysteries of the Lost Colony, produced by the N.C. Museum of History, will give visitors a deeper understanding of England’s first attempts at a permanent settlement in America and will offer several perspectives surrounding the colonists’ disappearance. Exhibit items, such as Algonquian Indian artifacts and other 16th-century objects, offer clues to this unsolved puzzle.

Visitors can follow the 70-year history of the outdoor drama “The Lost Colony,” produced by the Roanoke Island Historical Association, and walk through an Indian village made with set pieces from the drama. The Indian village will feature hands-on activities and the opportunity for further exploration with museum docents.Mysteries of the Lost Colony will include several engravings from the 1500s by Theodor de Bry, a Flemish publisher who engraved prints based on White’s watercolors. De Bry’s engravings were used to illustrate Thomas Harriot’s written account of the 1585 Roanoke voyage, A brief and true report of the new found land of Virginia. A rare 1590 German hand-colored version of Harriot’s manuscript will also be on view. An exhibition catalog, A New World: England’s First View of America, published by UNC Press (2007), is available in the Museum Shop for $60 (hardcover) and $29.95 (paperback).
Initial exhibition sponsors are Blue Cross/Blue Shield, GlaxoSmithKline, the Josephus Daniels Foundation and Time Warner Cable. To bring this exciting adventure to Raleigh, the N.C. Museum of History is collaborating with not only the British Museum, but with Brenau University; the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at East Carolina University; Lost Colony Inc.; National Park Service; Roanoke Island Festival Park, a division of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources; Roanoke Island Historical Association; UNC-Chapel Hill and private collectors.

Ticket and Group Tour Information

Tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for students, senior citizens, active military personnel and adult groups of 10 or more; $5 for children ages 5 to 12 and youth groups ages 5 to 18; free for children ages 4 and under and for Associates members. Purchase tickets at the Museum Shop, online at or through or (Service charges apply for etix purchases.) For more ticket information, call 919-807-7900. Most major credit cards are accepted.

To schedule tours for groups of 10 or more, call the Capital Area Visitor Center at 919-807-7950 or toll-free at 866-724-8687. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more.

From Oct. 20, 2007, to Jan. 13, 2008, the N.C. Museum of History’s hours will be Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information about the N.C. Museum of History, call 919-807-7900 or visit The museum is part of the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, an agency of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. The department’s Web site is