Delaware’s Annual Chautauqua Tent Show, Sept. 8–11, 2022

(DOVER, Del. — Aug. 29, 2022) — Entertainment, and the artists who brought it to life, will be explored in Delaware’s 24th annual Chautauqua tent show — “That’s Entertainment!” — that will take place on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 8 and 9, 2022 at Zwaanendael Park located next to the Zwaanendael Museum at 102 Kings Highway, in Lewes, Del.; and on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 10 and 11, 2022 on the Green located adjacent to the New Castle Court House Museum at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del. For those who cannot attend in person, many Chautauqua activities will also be livestreamed on the web.

A unique mixture of education and entertainment, Chautauqua events in both locations will be held under a large tent and will feature theater, music, dance, film, visual arts, lectures and more. On Sept. 8, 10 and 11, the day’s activities will be capped off with evening performances by actor-historians from the American Historical Theatre portraying, respectively, Buffalo Bill, showman of the American West; sharpshooter Annie Oakley; and Ichabod Crane, a character from Washington Irving’s story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Sept. 9 events will culminate with a musical performance of songs of the Underground Railroad by Linda Harris and David B. Cole. For a complete listing of Chautauqua activities, go to https://history.delaware.gov/tent-show/.

Photo of Linda Harris and David B. Cole
Songs of the Underground Railroad will be performed by Linda Harris and David B. Cole on Sept. 9.

Admission for all Chautauqua programs is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact the Zwaanendael Museum at mailto:zmusuem@delware.gov or 302-645-1148; or the New Castle Court House Museum at mailto:ncchmuseum@delaware.gov or 302-323-4453.

Chautauqua takes its name from a series of adult education programs that were first held at a campsite on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in upstate New York during the late 19th century. Chautauquas spread throughout America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries bringing speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day to a wide cross-section of the nation’s rural and small-town population. Circuit Chautauquas (also known as Tent Chautauquas) were an itinerant manifestation of the movement. Programs would be presented in tents pitched in a field near town. After several days, the Chautauqua would fold its tents and move on to the next community. The popularity of Chautauquas peaked in the mid-1920s, after which radio, movies and automobiles brought about the gradual disappearance of the movement by the 1940s.

Photo of Kim Hanley as Annie Oakley
Kim Hanley of the American Historical Theatre will portray sharpshooter Annie Oakley on Sept. 10.

Reborn in the 1970s as a vehicle for humanities education, modern Chautauquas are organized around a core program in which re-enactors take on the personas of celebrated historical figures, educating and entertaining audiences as they bring the past to life. Modern Chautauquas have been presented annually in Delaware since 1999 featuring a wide variety of historical figures including George Washington Carver; Lucretia Mott; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Mark Twain; Woodrow Wilson; Teddy Roosevelt; Abraham Lincoln; Amelia Earhart; Dolley Madison; Eleanor Roosevelt; Edgar Allan Poe; the Lone Ranger; John Philip Sousa; and Delaware’s own Pvt. James Elbert, Maj. Allen McLane, F.O.C. Darley and Clifford Brown.

“That’s Entertainment!” is co-sponsored by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Zwaanendael and New Castle Court House museums, and the New Castle Historical Society. Partial funding is provided by Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Photo of Delaware Humanities logo

The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is 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 public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five 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.

Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-577-5170
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Historical Affairs programs in September 2022

(DOVER, Del. — Aug. 16, 2022) — The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring seven special programs during the month of September 2022. A full schedule is included below. Admission is free and open to the public, but reservations are required for some programs. Go to the following link for additional information and reservation instructions: https://history.delaware.gov/2022/08/01/hca-programs-sept-2022/.

Painting depicting the Battle of the Chesapeake
Painting depicting the Battle of the Chesapeake from the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, Norfolk, Va. The battle will be explored in a Sept. 24, 2022 program at The Old State House.

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special programs, September 2022

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022
“That’s Entertainment.” Delaware’s 24th annual Chautauqua tent show featuring a day-long series of activities culminating with Bob Gleason of the American Historical Theatre portraying Buffalo Bill. Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Noon–9 p.m. 302-645-1148 or mailto:zmuseum@delaware.gov.

Friday, Sept. 9, 2022
“That’s Entertainment.” Delaware’s 24th annual Chautauqua tent show featuring a day-long series of activities culminating with a musical performance of songs of the Underground Railroad by Linda Harris and David B. Cole. Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Noon–9 p.m. 302-645-1148 or mailto:zmuseum@delaware.gov.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022
“That’s Entertainment.” Delaware’s 24th annual Chautauqua tent show featuring a day-long series of activities culminating with Kim Hanley of the American Historical Theatre portraying sharpshooter Annie Oakley. The Green adjacent to the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Noon–6:30 p.m. 302-323-4453 or mailto:NCCHmuseum@delaware.gov.

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022
“That’s Entertainment.” Delaware’s 24th annual Chautauqua tent show featuring a day-long series of activities culminating with Neill Hartley of the American Historical Theatre portraying Ichabod Crane, a character from Washington Irving’s story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” The Green adjacent to the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Noon–6:30 p.m. 302-323-4453 or mailto:NCCHmuseum@delaware.gov.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022
Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site: Touring the homestead. Join historical interpreters for this introductory program on the history of the Cooch’s Bridge homestead. Learn about some of the individuals who lived on the property, how they shaped the land around them and how the location’s landscape contributed to national history. Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site, 961 South Old Baltimore Pike, Newark. Tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Limit 20 visitors per tour. Free admission but reservations required. 302-922-7116 or mailto:CBmuseum@delaware.gov. NOTE: Both tours are fully booked.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022
“The Battle of the Chesapeake.” Multi-media presentation by historical interpreter Tom Welch on how the French fleet under Adm. de Grasse paved the way for the surrender of Gen. Cornwallis at Yorktown and the ultimate victory for the American forces over the British. Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 1 p.m. 302-744-5054 or mailto:OSHmuseum@delaware.gov.

Friday, Sept. 30, 2022
“Well Seasoned Heirlooms.” In this virtual series, historic-site interpreter Kimberly Fritsch of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ New Castle Court House Museum shines a spotlight on the practices, recipes and women throughout Delaware history as they speak to us through their food. Cookbooks became a way for women to pass along their legacy and convey a sense of what was important in their culture, daily lives and, even, weather occurrences and events of the time. Program streamed live via Zoom. Noon. Free but registration required. 302-323-4453 or mailto:NCCHmuseum@delaware.gov.

Remaining division program in August 2022

In addition, the division will be presenting the following programs during the remainder of August.

Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022
“Restorative Justice.” Talk by Charito Calvachi-Mateyko examines the modern concept of criminal justice and the theory of restorative justice as an alternative to the current system. Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Noon. 302-323-4453 or mailto:NCCHmuseum@delaware.gov.

Monday, Aug. 29, 2022
“Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner: Delaware’s Woman of Steele!” Virtual program in which historic site interpreter Kimberly Fritsch of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ New Castle Court House Museum explores Delaware’s chicken industry and the first major breeder of Delaware chickens — Cecile Steele. The event will also feature a chicken recipe. Part of the series, “Well Seasoned Heirlooms,” which shines a spotlight on the culinary practices, recipes and personalized cookbooks of women throughout Delaware history as they speak to us through their food. Program streamed live via Zoom. Noon. Free but registration required by going to the following: https://history.delaware.gov/2022/07/04/hca-programs-august-2022/. 302-323-4453 or mailto:NCCHmuseum@delaware.gov.

Administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the five museums of the State of Delaware — the John Dickinson Plantation, the Johnson Victrola Museum, the New Castle Court House Museum, The Old State House and the Zwaanendael Museum — tell the story of the First State’s contributions to the history and culture of the United States. Through tours, exhibits and special programs, the museums shine a spotlight on Delaware’s unique history and the diverse people who came to live there. The museums are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The New Castle Court House Museum and the John Dickinson Plantation are partner sites of the First State National Historical Park. The Old State House is located on the Dover Green, another partner site of the park. Go to the following for a long-term calendar of division-sponsored events.


The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is 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 public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five 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.

Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-577-5170
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


John Dickinson Plantation Receives Award of Excellence

(DOVER, Del. — June 15, 2022) — The American Association for State and Local History announced today that it has presented a prestigious Award of Excellence to the John Dickinson Plantation, Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, for the project, “Search, Discovery, and Interpretation of the African Burial Ground at the John Dickinson Plantation.” The Award of Excellence is part of the Association’s Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation of state and local history.

Logo for American Association for State and Local History Leadership in History Awards

As part of the project, a concerted effort to find the burial ground at the John Dickinson Plantation began in the late summer of 2020. In March 2021, after utilizing research from surviving documents, aerial photography and archaeology, the African Burial Ground was discovered. Project development began with decisions on how to interpret this culturally sensitive and historically significant site. The goals for interpretation included delineating the historical context of enslaved peoples’ lives, recognizing African Americans in the cultural landscape and locating those with ties to the burial ground. Initial programs included public visitations to the African Burial Ground, a virtual visitation for school children, and culminated in an online panel discussion on Dec. 8, 2021 with Gov. John Carney, which can be seen here: https://youtu.be/P1JliA3uwL4.

Photo showing the location of the African burial ground in a field at the John Dickinson Plantation.
Stakes mark the location of the African burial ground in a field at the John Dickinson Plantation.

The American Association for State and Local History’s awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions and programs to make contributions in this arena.

The John Dickinson Plantation is located at 340 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover, Delaware. Dickinson, known as the “Penman of the Revolution,” was one of America’s founding fathers who wrote of freedom and liberty for all while holding human beings in bondage. The John Dickinson Plantation tells the stories of the Dickinson family; and the tenant farmers; indentured servants; and the free and enslaved Black men, women and children who lived, worked and died on the plantation.

Photo of the log'd dwelling at the John Dickinson Plantation
Log’d dwelling at the John Dickinson Plantation. The building is a recreation of the type of housing inhabited by enslaved people at the plantation as well as tenants and indentured servants. The site’s mansion house is in the background.


The John Dickinson Plantation 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.

 

Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-577-5170
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Historical Affairs Programs In June 2022

(DOVER, Del. — May 25, 2022) — The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring four special programs during the month of June 2022. A full schedule is included below. Admission is free and open to the public, but reservations are required for some programs. Go to the following link for additional information and reservation instructions: https://history.delaware.gov/2022/05/02/hca-programs-june-2022.

Photo of the a scene in front of the New Castle Court House Museum as part of a previous Separation Day parade.
Scene in front of the New Castle Court House Museum as part of a previous Separation Day parade.

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special programs, June 2022

Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, 2022
Separation Day. Celebration marking the 246th anniversary of Delaware’s separation from Great Britain and Pennsylvania and the formation of the Delaware State. Event includes activities at the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ New Castle Court House Museum. Downtown New Castle. Friday, 6–9:30 p.m. Saturday, Noon–10 p.m. 302-323-4453.

Saturday, June 11, 2022
Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site: Touring the homestead. Join historical interpreters for this introductory program on the history of the Cooch’s Bridge homestead. Learn about some of the individuals who lived on the property, how they shaped the land around them and how the location’s landscape contributed to national history. Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site, 961 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark. Tours at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Limit 20 visitors per tour. Free admission but reservations required. NOTE: Tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. are fully booked. 302-922-7116 or mailto:CBmuseum@delaware.gov.

Saturday, June 18, 2022
“Rosedale Beach.” Virtual Juneteenth program from the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Zwaanendael Museum in which Tamara Burks discusses the Millsboro, Del. resort/hotel where Black, Indigenous and other people of color found relaxation and entertainment from the 1900s to the 1970s. Program streamed live via Zoom. 4 p.m. Free admission but reservations required. 302-645-1148 or mailto:zmuseum@delaware.gov.

Saturday, June 25, 2022
“An Uphill Battle: The Unfulfilled Promise of the Civil War 1865-1896.” At the end of the Civil War, great change seemed promised with the first federal civil rights acts and amendments. Why instead did the nation descend into segregation? In recognition of Juneteenth, lead historic-site interpreter Gavin Malone explores the constitutional amendments, the first federal civil rights acts, Delaware’s political climate and reactions to federal legislation ending with the Plessy decision. Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 1 p.m. 302-744-5054 or mailto:OSHmuseum@delaware.gov.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022
“Well Seasoned Heirlooms.” Virtual program in which historic site interpreter Kimberly Fritsch of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ New Castle Court House Museum shines a spotlight on the culinary practices, recipes and personalized cookbooks of women throughout Delaware history as they speak to us through their food. Cookbooks became a way for women to pass along their legacy and convey a sense of what was important in their culture, daily lives and, even, weather occurrences and events of the time. Program streamed live via Zoom. Noon. Free admission but reservations required. 302-323-4453 or mailto:NCCHmuseum@delaware.gov.


Remaining division program in May 2022

In addition, the division will be presenting the following program during the remainder of May.

Saturday, May 28, 2022
“Time Traveling Tea.” Program in which lead historical interpreter Juliette Wurm explores the time when the court house building served as a restaurant called the Old Court House Tea Room which was in operation from the 1920s until the 1950s. Complimentary tea and light refreshments provided. Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. 11:30 a.m. Free admission but reservations required. 302-323-4453 or mailto:NCCHmuseum@delaware.gov.

Administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the five museums of the State of Delaware — the John Dickinson Plantation, the Johnson Victrola Museum, the New Castle Court House Museum, The Old State House and the Zwaanendael Museum — tell the story of the First State’s contributions to the history and culture of the United States. Through tours, exhibits and special programs, the museums shine a spotlight on Delaware’s unique history and the diverse people who came to live there. The museums are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The New Castle Court House Museum and the John Dickinson Plantation are partner sites of the First State National Historical Park. The Old State House is located on the Dover Green, another partner site of the park. Go to the following for a long-term calendar of division-sponsored events.


The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is 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 public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five 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.

Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-577-5170
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


The Delaware Public Archives unveils the Abraham Shadd Family Historical Marker

The Delaware Public Archives was proud to unveil its newest State of Delaware Historical Marker on Wednesday, February 3, 2022, in Wilmington, Delaware honoring the Abraham Shadd Family.

 

A cobbler by day and an abolitionist by night, Abraham Shadd lived in Wilmington, Delaware in the early 19th Century with his family.  Shadd owned several pieces of property, served in a number of anti-slavery organizations, and actively fought in the abolitionist movement. Following the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, Abraham, his wife Harriet, and their 13 children would move to Canada. His eldest daughter, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, would become the first Black woman newspaper editor in North America, as well as an advocate for the abolitionist and women’s suffrage movements.

 

More than 90 guests and friends joined with the Honorable John C. Carney, Governor, State of Delaware, who opened the event by proclaiming February as Black History Month; the Honorable Bethany Hall-Long, Lieutenant Governor, State of Delaware; the Honorable S. Elizabeth Lockman, State Senator and State of Delaware Historical Marker sponsor; members of the Delaware Black Caucus; and direct descendants of Abraham Shadd.

 

Abraham Shadd Family Historical Marker
Abraham Shadd Family Historical Marker

Abraham Shadd
Abraham Shadd