Demonstrations of 18th-century crafts to be featured at Dover, Del.’s John Dickinson Plantation in July 2014

–Listing of plantation events through December 2014 also included–

During the month of July 2014, the John Dickinson Plantation, located at 340 Kitts Hummock Rd. in Dover, Del., will present six special programs featuring demonstrations of traditional crafts that would have been made during the 18th century when John Dickinson was in residence at the property. The site will also be open for visitation and tours between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Admission is free. For additional information, call 302-739-3277.

John Dickinson Plantation historic-site interpreter Barbara Carrow demonstrating plaster casting.

On Wednesday, July 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., the plantation will present “Hands On History” featuring demonstrations of different traditional crafts each week including sachet making, paper marbling, paper quilling, plantation journal-making and plaster casting. On Saturday, July 12, between 1 and 3 p.m., the Thistledown Fiber Arts Guild will be conducting demonstrations of spinning, weaving, knitting and other fabric arts.

Mansion house at the John Dickinson Plantation.

The John Dickinson Plantation was the boyhood home and country estate of John Dickinson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, signer of the U.S. Constitution and “Penman of the Revolution.” The plantation features Dickinson’s original 1740 brick home, reconstructed farm buildings and a log’d dwelling, surrounded by rich agricultural lands stretching down to the banks of the St. Jones River.

John Dickinson

Following is a schedule of plantation events through December 2014. All programs take place at the John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, Del. The property is open Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Times for special programs are indicated. Admission is free for all events listed. For additional information, call 302-739-3277.

John Dickinson Plantation special events through December 2014

“Simple Machines.” Exhibit demonstrating the six “simple machines”—incline ramp, screw, wedge, pulley, lever and wheel —that constitute the elementary building blocks of which all complicated machines are composed.

Thursday, June 26, 2014
“Thirsty on Thursdays.” Learn how to make cool 18th-century drinks including switchels, lemonade and tea. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Saturdays, July 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 13, Nov. 8 and Dec. 13, 2014
Demonstrations by the Thistledown Fiber Arts Guild. Program explores spinning, weaving, knitting and other fabric arts. 1–3 p.m.

Wednesdays, July 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, 2014
Hands On History. Visitors will experience 18th-century history by participating in a different demonstration each week. Hands-on demonstrations will include sachet making, paper marbling, paper quilling, plantation journal-making and plaster casting. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Wednesdays, Aug. 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2014
“Weaving Wednesdays.” Indoor, staff-led program in which visitors will learn how to weave a blanket or rag rug. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Weaving demonstration at the John Dickinson Plantation.

Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014
“Raiding the Mansion—Plundering the House of all its Provisions.” Learn about the Tory raid on the plantation’s mansion house through a special tour, and through examination of letters and primary documents. 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Thursdays, Sept. 4, 11, 18 and 25, 2014
“Taper Thursdays.” Learn to make your own candle and help the plantation dip 200 candles that John Dickinson would have required from his tenants are part of their leases. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014
“Hearth Cooking Basics.” Hands-on workshop. 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Martha Wagner, historic-site interpreter at the John Dickinson Plantation, conducting a hearth-cooking demonstration.

Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014
“Smoked, Pickled and Salted for Survival.” Learn how smoked, pickled and salted meats helped stretch food reserves in the winter, and participate in pickling meats with brine and smoking meats in the plantation’s smokehouse. In addition, join the John Dickinson Plantation in celebration of the St. Jones Reserve’s “Arts in the Estuary” program from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014
“A Day in the Life of the John Dickinson Plantation.” Visitors of all ages will enjoy a day of music, food, entertainment and hands-on activities from colonial trades to hearth cooking in the 18th-century setting of the home of the “Penman of the Revolution.” 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014
“Lantern Tours of the Plantation.” Programs explore the parties, games, dances and entertainment that would have abounded at the plantation during the nighttime in the 18th century. Activities will also include wagon-ride guided-tours conducted by staff of the St. Jones Reserve exploring the nocturnal life of the estuary. Programs 6–7 p.m. and 7:30–8:30 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-739-3277.

Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014
“An 18th-Century Sweet Tooth.” Hands-on workshop in which visitors can learn how to create 18th-century sweets and goodies. 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

Thursdays, Nov. 6, 13 and 20, 2014
John Dickinson’s Birthday Month. Visitors celebrate the birth of John Dickinson by helping to make a great cake and decorate it using royal icing and shaped marzipan. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014
Candle-making workshops. Bayberry-candle workshop from 10 a.m.–noon examines bayberries and their use in creating bayberry candles. Presented in partnership with the St. Jones Reserve. Reservations required by calling the St. Jones Reserve at 302-739-3436. “Light Me Up!” workshop on candle dipping and discussion of lighting devices of the 18th century from 1–3 p.m. Reservations required by calling 302-739-3277 no later than Nov. 14.

Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014
“Handmade for the Holidays.” Seasonal program in which visitors can learn to create and decorate cards through the art of paper quilling and stenciling, and write a personal note with a quill pen. 11–2:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014
“Handmade for the Holidays.” Seasonal program in which visitors can create a sachet with herbs and spices. 11–2:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014
“Handmade for the Holidays.” Seasonal program in which visitors can create a plaster ornament. 11–2:30 p.m.


Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone:  302-736-7413