Rehabilitation work underway at Lewes’ Zwaanendael Museum

(DOVER, Del.—June 22, 2020)—On June 22, 2020, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs began rehabilitation work at the Zwaanendael Museum located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del. Expected to continue for approximately one month, work will include cleaning of the entire exterior of the building with attention paid to its ornamental-design features, replacement of weather-damaged shutters and repainting of all remaining window frames and shutters according to existing colors and design.

Photo of the Zwaanendael Museum
Zwaanendael Museum

The division will work with the contractor to limit public inconvenience during the project. Residents and visitors will notice the presence of equipment, materials and workers on site as well as the usual noises that go with construction work during daytime hours. No evening or weekend work is anticipated.

The museum will remain open during the process, but, in keeping with Gov. Carney’s plans for reopening the state in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, visitation is limited to 30-minute, self-guided tours by advance registration only on Fridays and Saturdays at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.; and Sundays at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Call 302-645-1148 for reservations and additional information.

Photo of the Zwaanendael Museum's statue of David Pietersz de Vries
Ornamental-design features on the Zwaanendael Museum including a statue of David Pietersz de Vries, general administrator of the Swanendael colony.

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. Crowning the building’s façade is a statue of David Pietersz de Vries, general administrator of the Swanendael colony. 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. 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.

Picture of the Logo of the American Alliance of Museums logo


Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-608-5326