Zwaanendael Museum Decorated For The Holidays

(DOVER, Del. — Dec. 4, 2020) — During the week of Nov. 30, 2020, the Rehoboth-Beach-based Sussex Gardeners completed the installation of outdoor and indoor holiday decorations at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del. Based on the theme, “Lighting the Way,” this year’s decorations utilize plant material and holiday objects to illustrate various sources of light including lanterns, lightships, lighthouses, starlight and luminarias. The museum’s decorations are presented in conjunction with Lewes Lights, a community event in which the city’s residents decorate their home exteriors for the holiday season.

Photo of a Zwaanendael Museum bench decorated for the holidays by the Sussex Gardeners.
Zwaanendael Museum bench decorated for the holidays by the Sussex Gardeners.


Founded in 1937 as the Nassau Garden Committee, the 50-plus-member Sussex Gardeners brings together members of the community who have an interest in the fine art of gardening, landscape design, floral design and horticulture. The group’s community outreach includes programs in garden therapy, conservation and civic beautification.

Photo of members of the Sussex Gardeners preparing to decorate the Zwaanendael Museum for the holidays.
Members of the Sussex Gardeners preparing to decorate the Zwaanendael Museum for the holidays.

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.

Photo of Zwaanendael Museum
Zwaanendael Museum

Museum exhibits and presentations provide a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military and social history. Current exhibits include “Delaware Railroads: Elegant Travel and Timely Transport” which explores the history of rail travel and transport in the First State; and “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World” which tells the story of His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak, a British warship that sank off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798.

The Zwaanendael Museum is open for free, 45-minute tours by reservation only from Wednesday through Saturday at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. For additional information about visiting the museum, go to or call 302-645-1148.

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