Fort Christina Offers a Historical Destination This Summer
-Partner Site of the First State National Historical Park to Host Summer 2018 Events-
(DOVER, Del.—June 1, 2018)—Fort Christina National Historic Landmark, one of the partner sites of the First State National Historical Park, offers visitors access to one of the cornerstones of Delaware history and an expanded schedule of activities from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends. Building on last year’s success, Fort Christina is now staffed by guides who offer free interpretive tours to the public. Children can also earn Junior Ranger badges on the first Saturdays in June, July and August. This special heritage site marks the approximate location where a group of Swedish and Finnish colonists from the ships Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Grip landed on a natural wharf of “blue rocks” in 1638. It was here that the first Swedish settlement in America began—the first permanent European settlement in Delaware.
Located at 1110 E. Seventh St. in Wilmington, Del., next to the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation and Copeland Maritime Center, Fort Christina will be open between May 26 and Sept. 3 on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 4 p.m. (closed on July 4). Site hours and activities are supported by a partnership between the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the First Sate National Historical Park and the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation. Admission is free to all visitors.
As part of its new 2018 summer hours, Fort Christina will host a series of “First Saturdays” celebrations open to the public. On June 2, “Celebrate Sweden” will mark the founding of the colony of New Sweden (now Delaware) and the anniversary of the site as a park. “Celebrate Pirates” at the Wilmington Pirate Festival will be hosted on Saturday, July 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with family-centered activities and ship tours at the Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard and Fort Christina. The event promises to bring an exciting day of pirate-themed ship tours, demonstrations, games and crafts as well as live music, face painting, food and beverages. The event is open to the public with free admission and fees for some activities. August will bring “Celebrate National Park Service” on Saturday, Aug. 4 in recognition of the anniversary of the founding of the U.S. parks system. Educational tours and a variety of activities will be posted at www.KalmarNyckel.org as they are announced.
In 2016, Fort Christina re-opened as one of several statewide components of the First State National Historical Park and part of a larger effort to create a first class historical and cultural destination on Wilmington’s East Seventh Street peninsula. The goal is to integrate and develop the historic and cultural attractions of the Kalmar Nyckel shipyard campus, Fort Christina, Old Swedes Church and the Hendrickson House, along with the Christina River water taxi and other Riverfront attractions. Organizations working to make this dream a reality include the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, the National Park Service, Old Swedes Foundation and the Riverfront Development Corporation.
The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is an agency of the State of Delaware. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and ownership of historic properties across the state including Fort Christina National Historic Landmark.
The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation is a non-profit educational organization with the mission of preserving and promoting the cultural and maritime heritage of Delaware and the Delaware Valley for the education and enrichment of all. The foundation is a volunteer-based organization that built, owns and operates the Kalmar Nyckel. The Tall Ship of Delaware is a present-day reproduction of the flagship from the 1638 expedition that founded the colony of New Sweden. Launched in 1997, Kalmar Nyckel serves as a floating classroom and an inspirational platform that offers people of all ages a variety of sea- and land-based recreational and educational experiences.