“Delaware Railroads: Elegant Travel and Timely Transport” exhibit to open at Lewes, Del.’s Zwaanendael Museum on July 7, 2018
(DOVER, Del.—June 19, 2018)—Beginning on July 7, 2018, a new exhibit, entitled “Delaware Railroads: Elegant Travel and Timely Transport,” will be on display at the Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes, Del. The exhibit replaces “Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past” which has been on view since June 2015.
Planned and created by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the exhibit utilizes photographs; and posters, tickets, timetables, maps and historical objects from the collections of the State of Delaware to tell the history of rail travel and transport in the First State. In particular, the exhibit will explore four railroads that were historically important in Delaware: The New Castle and Frenchtown Railroad (1832), the Delaware Railroad (1852), the Junction and Breakwater Railroad (1857) and the Queen Anne’s Railroad (1896). The exhibit will compliment Lewes’ 20th annual Chautauqua tent show—“All Aboard: Delaware and the Railroad ” that will take place from Sept. 13 to 15, 2018.
Economic growth, development and prosperity resulted from the construction of railway lines in Delaware. Due to the increased comfort and speed by which passengers and cargo could be transported, new connections to destinations and markets outside of the Delmarva Peninsula were established. This led to the development of canning companies and seafood processing plants, allowing products to be shipped to the larger metropolitan areas of Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Farmers growing peaches, tomatoes, strawberries, wheat and other produce became prosperous during the “boom” times. Later on, chickens and holly wreaths became important commodities. Passengers were able to take popular day-excursions to special events such as the World’s Fair in New York City. Railroad travel was elegant and timely. However, with the advent of improved highways, vehicles and freight trucks, rail travel in Delaware, outside the heavily utilized Northeast Corridor, ended by1950, and freight lines were significantly reduced. A bright spot remaining today is the Wilmington & Western Railroad, a popular excursion line with steam powered rides outside of Wilmington.
“Delaware Railroads: Elegant Travel and Timely Transport” will be on display beginning on July 7, 2018 and continuing for an indeterminate period of time at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del. Museum operating-hours from April 1 to Oct. 31 are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. From Nov. 1 through March 31, museum operating-hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.
The Zwaanendael Museum was built in 1931 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the state’s first European colony, Swanendael, established by the Dutch along Hoorn Kill (present-day Lewes-Rehoboth Canal) in 1631. Designed by E. William Martin (architect of Legislative Hall and the Hall of Records in Dover), the museum is modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands, and features a stepped facade gable with carved stonework and decorated shutters. The museum’s exhibits and presentations provide a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military and social history.
The Zwaanendael Museum is administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history and heritage. 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 management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.