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Tickets still available for lecture/tours of the hull of the DeBraak, a shipwrecked 18th-century British warship

Date Posted: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Categories:  Historical and Cultural Affairs News Sussex County

-Activities originate at Lewes, Del.’s Zwaanendael Museum. Open dates run through Sept. 29, 2014-

A limited number of tickets are still available for the Lewes, Del. based lecture/tours of the hull of His Majesty’s Sloop DeBraak, a British warship that was escorting and protecting a convoy of British and American merchant ships en route to the United States when it was capsized and lost off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798. The program is a 2014 recipient of a Leadership in History Award, the American Association for State and Local History’s most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. Remaining lecture/tours, which are limited to 12 visitors per program, will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the following Mondays during 2014: Aug. 4, 11, 18 and 25; and Sept. 15, 22 and 29. (No program on Sept. 1.)

Artistic rendition of the capsizing of the DeBraak by Peggy Kane, 1990.

Artistic rendition of the capsizing of the DeBraak by Peggy Kane, 1990.

Conducted by historical interpreters from the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, activities begin at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., where a lecture on the ship will be presented in conjunction with the exhibit, “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World.” The exhibit tells the story of the vessel, its crew and the historical context within which it operated in the late 18th century. Ticket holders will then be transported, via van, to the DeBraak hull facility in nearby Cape Henlopen State Park for a tour of the surviving section of the ship’s hull.

Viewing area inside the DeBraak hull facility. The surviving section of the ship’s hull can be seen in the left of the photo.

Viewing area inside the DeBraak hull facility. The surviving section of the ship’s hull can be seen in the left of the photo.

Nonrefundable tickets for the lecture/tours are $10 per person (restricted to persons aged 10 and above) and are available through the Shop Delaware website. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Significance of DeBraak…

During the late-18th and early-19th centuries, sloops of war such as DeBraak played an increasingly important role in Royal Navy campaigns. These relatively small vessels combined speed, agility, shallow draft and increased firepower, all of which made them formidable naval vessels. As the only Royal Navy sloop of war from this time period that has been recovered anywhere in the world, DeBraak serves as an invaluable historical resource for a time when Britannia ruled the waves and the United States was just beginning to develop its sea legs.

The surviving section of the DeBraak’s hull and its associated artifact collection have been curated by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs since they were acquired by the state of Delaware in 1992. Approximately one-third of the hull survives including the keel, keelson and framing elements of the lower hull, and a large section of the starboard (right) side.

Visitors enjoying a tour of the DeBraak hull.

Visitors enjoying a tour of the DeBraak hull.

 

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