Men, women, and children from West Africa were kidnapped and brought to America as slaves with the largest number coming from West Africa in the early to mid-eighteenth century. The African exhibit, the only one not imported from abroad, depicting a 1740's setting, contains several buildings in a compound and a garden with African vegetables which have become staples of the southern American diet, in it.
A 1600's English farm building shows the life of a working English farmer or some modest substance.
The Indian exhibit captures the essentials of a woods Indian family from the 1730's, just as the European incursion into the Shenandoah Valley began. The mounded garden captures the mixed agriculture typical of Native Americans that the Mayflower expedition found on its arrival in Plymouth in 1620 and which continued until the tribes were driven still further west into the plains and beyond.
This farmstead captures the spirit of the humble beginnings experienced by the first settlers arriving in the Valley, many of German origin drifting south from Pennsylvania. The snow on the ground is actually fiber, placed there to represent winter in Valley Forge, for a film being made the day we visited.
By the 1820's, life in the Valley had improved, as people streamed through on their way to other places while many others settled here. A large number of the people who came and stayed were of German origin, many Amish and Mennonite, a people whose communities still exist in the region.