Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs sponsors 14 special events during February 2020

-Eight of the programs celebrate African American History Month-

(DOVER, Del.—Jan. 22, 2020)—During the month of February 2020, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be offering 14 special events at sites across the state. Eight of these events will be presented in commemoration of African American History Month, an annual observance celebrating the invaluable contributions that the black community has made to the culture and history of the United States. A full schedule is included below. Except where noted, all programs are free and open to the public.

 

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special events, February 2020

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020

“Lost By One Vote.” Inter-active historical theater presentation that features the pros and cons of Lincoln’s Compensated Emancipation Plan of 1862 that would have abolished slavery in Delaware and the nation. Presented in celebration of African American History Month. First Saturday in the First State program. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.
 

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020

“The Big Bang.” Screening and discussion of episode one of the three-part PBS documentary “American Epic” which explores how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time. Presented in celebration of African American History Month. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Screenings at 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor gallery (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.
 

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020

“The Summers Family: A Generational Story.” African American History Month guided tours explore the true story of the manumission (granting of freedom) of two slave children—Ruth and Thomas Summers—which took place in 1797 in the Kent County Recorder of Deeds office, located in what is now called The Old State House. The children were manumitted by their own father, James Summers, a free African American, who had obtained them from their former owner. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.
 

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020

“Blood and Soil.” Screening and discussion of episode two of the three-part PBS documentary “American Epic” which explores how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time. Presented in celebration of African American History Month. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Screenings at 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor gallery (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.
 

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020

Demonstrations by the Thistledown Fiber Arts Guild. Program explores spinning, weaving, knitting and other fabric arts. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 1–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.
 

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020

“With Malice Toward None: Abraham Lincoln in Words and Pictures.”  Historian Dan Pritchett will discuss Lincoln’s love of language and his ability to use words to influence and inspire people and to transform the nation. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 6 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-744-5054.
 

Friday, Feb. 14, 2020

Concert by Ronn McFarlane. Lute player presented in partnership with the Delaware Friends of Folk and the First State Heritage Park. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 7:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.
 

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020

“African Americans on the Eastern Shore.” Lecture by Jim Blackwell of the Seaford Museum exploring Eastern Shore history, slavery, the Ross family and Harriet Tubman. Presented in celebration of African American History Month. Lewes Public Library, 111 Adams Ave., Lewes. 2 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Feb. 14, 2020. Note: Due to overwhelming demand, the venue for this program has been changed from the Zwaanendael Museum to the Lewes Public Library.
 
Photo of Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman will be one of the subjects explored in the program, “African Americans on the Eastern Shore,” at the Lewes Public Library on Feb. 25, 2020.
 

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020

“Out of the Many, the One.” Screening and discussion of the final episode of the three-part PBS documentary “American Epic” which explores how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time. Presented in celebration of African American History Month. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Screenings at 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor gallery (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.
 

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020

The African American Experience in Delaware.” Historic-site interpreter Dennis Fisher explores Delaware’s rich African American culture, history and legacy from the 18th to the 20th century. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.
 

Monday, Feb. 17, 2020

Presidents Day. The following museums of the State of Delaware will be open: The Johnson Victrola Museum and The Old State House, open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The following museums will be closed: The John Dickinson Plantation, the New Castle Court House Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum. 302-744-5054.
 

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020

“Revisiting the Founding Era.” Presentation by Bob Vander Decker, historical interpreter for the New Castle Court House Museum and Boy Scouts of America district leader. Presented in partnership with the New Castle Public Library. Boy Scouts can earn requirements for several scout-related merit badges by attending the program. Girl Scouts and all interested youths (ages 12-18) are also welcome. New Castle Public Library, 424 Delaware St., New Castle. Program 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by a tour of the New Castle Court House Museum at 1:30 p.m. Lunch provided. Free admission but registration required by calling the library at 302-328-1995 or the museum at 302-323-4453.
 

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020

“The Women’s Suffrage Movement: Below the Color-Line.” African American History Month program by historian Syl Woolford explores the struggle for women to gain the right to vote and the role played by black women in the movement. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.
 
Photo of Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells will be one of the leaders explored in the program, “The Women’s Suffrage Movement: Below the Color-Line,” at The Old State House on Feb. 22, 2020.
 
Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020
“Coffee, Cross Stitch and Conversation.” Stitch-along program with guidance from museum historical interpreter and cross stitcher Madeline Golden. One of two original patterns featuring the Zwaanendael Museum will be available for participants as they enjoy refreshments and conversation while working on their chosen design. Appropriate for both beginners and advanced cross stitchers. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Program at 2 p.m. on the museum’s 2nd floor (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Admission fee of $10 includes materials for visitors to create their own cross stitch. Due to space restrictions, reservations for the workshop are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Feb. 15, 2020.
 
Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020
“George Washington’s Unique Skill in Picking Top Talent.” Presentation by Dr. Sam Hoff of Delaware State University and museum historical interpreter Tom Welch on the men that Washington chose to serve in the military, in his spy networks, in his Cabinet and on the Supreme Court. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 2 p.m. Museum open 1:30–4:30 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are suggested by calling 302-744-5054.
 

Exhibits and displays, February 2020

Ongoing
Delaware Railroads: Elegant Travel and Timely Transport.” Exhibit explores the history of rail travel and transport in the First State emphasizing the New Castle and Frenchtown Railroad (1832), the Delaware Railroad (1852), the Junction and Breakwater Railroad (1857) and the Queen Anne’s Railroad (1896). Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Nov. 1–March 31: Wed.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Oct. 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.
 
Ongoing
Five Stories.” Display explores the varied lives of people who lived on the plantation including Dickinson family members, tenant farmers, tradesmen, free blacks, indentured servants and enslaved individuals. John Dickinson Plantation Welcome Center, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Oct. 1–March 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Sept. 30: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.
 
Photo of panel from the “Five Stories” display
Panel from the “Five Stories” display
 
Ongoing
Letters From a Farmer in Pennsylvania.” Online exhibit explores the life of Founding Father John Dickinson and the publication of his essays that described Colonial American grievances with the British government.
 
Ongoing
New Castle: Three Forts, One Community.” Exhibit examines the 17th-century struggle for control of New Castle by the Dutch, Swedes and English, and the strongholds that they built to maintain their power. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.
 
Ongoing
The Old State House: A True Restoration 1976-2016.” Display explores preservation work that has been conducted since Delaware’s first permanent capitol building in Dover was restored to its original appearance in 1976. From the collections of the State of Delaware. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.
 
Ongoing
The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware.” Exhibit explores Delaware’s role in the clandestine network that transported American slaves to freedom including the true journey of the Hawkins family from bondage in Maryland, through Delaware, to freedom in Pennsylvania. Part II of the display explores some of the challenges faced by African-American Delawareans after the Civil War, and showcases Delaware trailblazers who helped break racial and gender barriers. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-323-4453.
 
mage from The Path to Freedom A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware
Image from “The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware” on display at the New Castle Court House Museum.
 
Ongoing
Sculpture by Charles Parks. Display of works by the noted Wilmington artist featuring historical and political figures including a Minute Man, and presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush.New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.
 
Ongoing
A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World.” Exhibit utilizes artifacts recovered from His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak, a British warship that sank off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798, to tell the story of the vessel, its crew and the historical context within which it operated in the Atlantic World of the late 18th century. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Nov. 1–March 31: Wed.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Oct. 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.
 
Ongoing
Simple Machines.” Display demonstrating the six “simple machines”—incline ramp, screw, wedge, pulley, lever and wheel—that constitute the elementary building blocks of which many more-complicated machines are composed. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Oct. 1–March 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Sept. 30: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.
 
Ongoing
When Janie Comes Marching Home: Women’s Fight to Serve.” Display explores the participation of women in America’s armed conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the present, and their fight to be allowed to serve their country during wartime. Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Ave., Dover. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission but passage through security checkpoint required. 302-744-4114.
 
Record label for Wolverine Blues by Jelly Roll Morton
The Johnson Victrola Museum showcases Victor recordings of many of the greatest African American musicians of the 20th century including Jelly Roll Morton, Marian Anderson and Duke Ellington.
 
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, school programs and hands-on activities, 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 comprehensive, 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 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

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Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-739-7787
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov

 


Program on historic African American beaches and resorts at Lewes’ Zwaanendael Museum on Jan. 18, 2020

(DOVER, Del.—Jan. 8, 2020)—On Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020 at 2 p.m., the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., will host “Black Footprints on White Sands: Historic African American Beaches and Resorts,” a presentation by Chase Jackson, program and grants manager at New Jersey’s Bayshore Center at Bivalve. The program will take place on the Zwaanendael Museum’s 2nd floor (entry via staircase; no elevator) and is free and open to the public. However, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling the museum at 302-645-1148 no later than Jan. 17, 2020.
 

Photo of to the Rosedale Beach Hotel and Resort
Visitors to the Rosedale Beach Hotel and Resort in Millsboro, Del. enjoyed boats rides on the Indian River Bay, among other activities.

 
Held in celebration of the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, Jackson’s presentation will explore beaches and resorts that African Americans could visit without fear of discrimination or violence during the segregation era. One such destination in Delaware was the Rosedale Beach Hotel and Resort in Millsboro which was run by, and for, people of color. During its heyday, the resort presented some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century including Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder, among many others.
 
 
 
Poster advertising Lionel Hampton performance at Rosedale Beach
 
Chase Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina which she parlayed into a 30-plus-year career in non-profit administration. She is also an accomplished storyteller, producer, director, actor and blues vocalist. In addition to managing its office, she handles all of the Bayshore Center’s publicity, promotion and special event/program coordination.
 

Photo of Chase Jackson
Chase Jackson

 
The Zwaanendael Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., from Nov. 1 to March 31; and Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., from April 1 to Oct. 31. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Photo of Zwaanendael Museum
Zwaanendael Museum

The 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), it is modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands, and features a stepped facade gable with carved stonework and decorated shutters.

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 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

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Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-739-7787
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to sponsor seven special events during January 2020

(DOVER, Del.—Dec. 18, 2019)—During the month of January 2020, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring seven special events at the museums of the State of Delaware. A full schedule is included below. All programs are free and open to the public.

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special events, January 2020

Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019
New Year’s Eve. The following museums of the State of Delaware will be open: The Old State House, open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; the John Dickinson Plantation and New Castle Court House Museum, open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The Johnson Victrola Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum, closed.

Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020
New Year’s Day. All 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) will be closed. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020
“Dreaming of Dover: William Penn and the Creation of Our City.” Guided tours focus on William Penn’s role in founding the city of Dover dating back to 1683. First Saturday in the First State program. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Photo of the Dover Green
The Dover Green, a public area designated by William Penn in 1683. The history of The Green will be explored as part of the program “Dreaming of Dover: William Penn and the Creation of Our City” on Jan. 4, 2020 at The Old State House.

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020
“Dreams of a Victor.” Guided tours highlight the life and times of Eldridge Reeves Johnson, founder of the Victor Talking Machine Company. Visitors will learn how a humble machinist from Delaware created one of the most successful companies in the 20th century accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Friday, Jan. 10, 2020
Concert by CoroAllegro. Choral ensemble presented in partnership with the Delaware Friends of Folk and the First State Heritage Park. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 7:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020
Demonstrations by the Thistledown Fiber Arts Guild. Program explores spinning, weaving, knitting and other fabric arts. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 1–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020
“Black Footprints on White Sands: Historic African American Beaches and Resorts.” Program on the beaches and resorts that African Americans could visit without the fear of discrimination or violence during the late-19th century. Presented by Chase Jackson, program and grants manager at the Bayshore Center at Bivalve, home of News Jersey’s tall ship A.J. Meerwald. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Program at 2 p.m. on the museum’s 2nd floor (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations for the lecture are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Jan. 17, 2020.

Monday, Jan. 20, 2020
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The following museums of the State of Delaware will be open: The Johnson Victrola Museum and The Old State House, open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The following will be closed: The John Dickinson Plantation, the New Castle Court House Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum). 302-744-5054.

Monday, Jan. 20, 2020
“Courage and Freedom.” In commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, guided tours will focus on three compelling stories of courageous Delawareans whose fight for freedom and equality began at The Old State House. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Monday, Jan. 20, 2020
“The Struggle.” In commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, guided tours focus on African-American vocalists and Civil Rights activists Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson, accompanied by 78-rpm recordings of those artists played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Photo of Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson
The lives and careers of Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson will be explored in the program, “The Struggle,” at the Johnson Victrola Museum on Jan. 20, 2020.

Exhibits and displays, January 2020
In addition to special programming, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is sponsoring the following exhibits and displays. Admission is free and open to the public:

Ongoing
Delaware Railroads: Elegant Travel and Timely Transport.” Exhibit explores the history of rail travel and transport in the First State emphasizing the New Castle and Frenchtown Railroad (1832), the Delaware Railroad (1852), the Junction and Breakwater Railroad (1857) and the Queen Anne’s Railroad (1896). Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Nov. 1–March 31: Wed.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Oct. 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Photo of Lewes Railroad Station
Postcard depicting the Lewes, Del. railroad station. From the exhibit “Delaware Railroads: Elegant Travel and Timely Transport”

Ongoing
Five Stories.”
Display explores the varied lives of people who lived on the plantation including Dickinson family members, tenant farmers, tradesmen, free blacks, indentured servants and enslaved individuals. John Dickinson Plantation Welcome Center, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Oct. 1–March 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Sept. 30: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Ongoing
Letters From a Farmer in Pennsylvania.” Online exhibit explores the life of Founding Father John Dickinson and the publication of his essays that described Colonial American grievances with the British government.

Ongoing
New Castle: Three Forts, One Community.” Exhibit examines the 17th-century struggle for control of New Castle by the Dutch, Swedes and English, and the strongholds that they built to maintain their power. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.

Ongoing
The Old State House: A True Restoration 1976-2016.” Display explores preservation work that has been conducted since Delaware’s first permanent capitol building in Dover was restored to its original appearance in 1976. From the collections of the State of Delaware. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Ongoing
The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware.” Exhibit explores Delaware’s role in the clandestine network that transported American slaves to freedom including the true journey of the Hawkins family from bondage in Maryland, through Delaware, to freedom in Pennsylvania. Part II of the display explores some of the challenges faced by Black Delawareans after the Civil War, and showcases Delaware trailblazers who helped break racial and gender barriers. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-323-4453.

mage from The Path to Freedom A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware
Image from The Path to Freedom A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware

Ongoing
Sculpture by Charles Parks. Display of works by the noted Wilmington artist featuring historical and political figures including a Minute Man, and presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.

Ongoing
A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World.” Exhibit utilizes artifacts recovered from His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak, a British warship that sank off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798, to tell the story of the vessel, its crew and the historical context within which it operated in the Atlantic World of the late 18th century. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Nov. 1–March 31: Wed.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Oct. 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Ongoing
Simple Machines.” Display demonstrating the six “simple machines”—incline ramp, screw, wedge, pulley, lever and wheel—that constitute the elementary building blocks of which many more-complicated machines are composed. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Oct. 1–March 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Sept. 30: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Photo of the Mansion house at the John Dickinson Plantation
Mansion house at the John Dickinson Plantation

Ongoing
When Janie Comes Marching Home: Women’s Fight to Serve.” Display explores the participation of women in America’s armed conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the present, and their fight to be allowed to serve their country during wartime. Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Ave., Dover. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission but passage through security checkpoint required. 302-744-4114.

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, school programs and hands-on activities, 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 comprehensive, 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 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

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Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-739-7787
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Sussex Gardeners decorate Lewes, Del.’s Zwaanendael Museum for the holidays

(DOVER, Del.—Nov. 27, 2019)—Beginning on Dec. 4, 2019 and continuing through the month of December, the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., will be decorated for the holidays based on the theme “Here We Go a Caroling.” Decorations will be provided by the Sussex Gardeners, a Rehoboth Beach-based horticultural group that will utilize plant material and holiday objects to illustrate the songs “Here We Come a Wassailing,” “The Holly and the Ivy,” “Jolly Old St. Nicholas,” “Let It Snow,” “Silver Bells” and “Winter Wonderland.”

Photo of members of the Sussex Gardeners decorating the Zwaanendael Museum sign for the holidays in 2017.
Members of the Sussex Gardeners decorating the Zwaanendael Museum sign for the holidays in 2017.

The decorations will also be featured in two special programs—“Hospitality Night,” which will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m.; and “Tour Zwaanendael Museum,” which will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Presented in conjunction with the Lewes Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Lewes Merchants’ Hospitality Night “Hospitality Night” will present a warm and inviting evening in which luminarias will light the walkway to the museum, and activities will include historical interpreters, demonstrations, music and seasonal refreshments.

The second program, “Tour Zwaanendael Museum,” held in conjunction with the Lewes Historical Society’s Christmas Tour of Lewes, will provide visitors with an opportunity to explore this historic museum which showcases the Lewes-area’s maritime, military and social history.

Photo of Marty Last of the Sussex Gardeners preparing an arrangement for the 2019 holiday display.
Marty Last of the Sussex Gardeners preparing an arrangement for the 2019 holiday display.

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.

The Zwaanendael Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., from Nov. 1 to March 31; and Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., from April 1 to Oct. 31. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Photo of Zwaanendael Museum
Zwaanendael Museum

The 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.

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 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.

Photo of the American Alliance of Museums logo


Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to sponsor nine special programs during the 2019 winter-holiday season

(DOVER, Del.—Nov. 20, 2019)—The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring nine special events, including four winter-holiday-themed activities, between Nov. 28, 2019 and Jan. 1, 2020. A full schedule is included below. All programs are free and open to the public.

Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019
Thanksgiving Day. All 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) will be closed. 302-744-5054.

Friday, Nov. 29, 2019
Day After Thanksgiving. All museums of the State of Delaware will be open: The Johnson Victrola Museum and The Old State House, open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; the John Dickinson Plantation, New Castle Court House Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum, open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019
“Hospitality Night.” Holiday-themed program in which the museum will be decorated for the season by the Sussex Gardeners including luminarias lighting the entrance walkway. Activities will include historical interpreters, demonstrations, music and seasonal refreshments. Presented in partnership with the Lewes Chamber of Commerce. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 5–8 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
“Holidays With Victor.” Guided tours examine holiday music recorded by Victor Records accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Postor featuring a Victor for Christmas
The Johnson Victrola Museum will present “Holidays With Victor” on Dec. 7, 2019.

Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
“The First State.” Guided tours explore Delaware’s ratification of the U.S. Constitution and its legacy as the first state to enter the union. First Saturday in the First State program. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
Delaware Day awards ceremony. Event honors participants in the Delaware Department of State’s 18th annual Delaware Day Fourth Grade Competition which challenges students to create displays that help illustrate and explain the U.S. Constitution and the role played by Delawareans in the writing and ratification of the nation’s founding document. Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dover. 10 a.m. 302-744-5000.

Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
“Tour Zwaanendael Museum.” Enjoy the museum’s festive holiday-décor created by the Sussex Gardeners. Event held in conjunction with the Lewes Historical Society’s Christmas Tour of Lewes. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
“Delaware Valley Archaeology and History Symposium.” Featuring presentations on the history and archaeology of the lower Delaware Valley that include new research and recent updates to on-going projects including Avery’s Rest and the search for Fort Casimir. Presented in partnership with the Archaeological Society of Delaware and the New Castle Historical Society. The Arsenal, 30 Market St., New Castle. 9:30–3:30 p.m. 302-322-2794.

Illustration depicting Fort Casimir
Image of Fort Casimir after it had been captured by the Swedes, improved and renamed Fort Trefalddighet. The fort will be one of the topics explored at the “Delaware Valley Archaeology and History Symposium” on Dec. 7, 2019.

Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
CANCELLED: Buena Vista Holiday Open House. One-day-only event featuring tours of one of Delaware’s most historic homes decorated for the holidays, refreshments in the library and a hands-on activity for children and adults. Buena Vista: A Delaware Country Estate, 661 S. Dupont Highway (Route 13), New Castle. 10 a.m.–1 p.m. 302-323-4430. NOTE: Event cancelled.

Friday, Dec. 13, 2019
Grey Fox Band. Blues ensemble presented in partnership with the Delaware Friends of Folk and the First State Heritage Park. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 7:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019
Spirit of Christmas in New Castle.” One of the best preserved Colonial-era towns in America features a day-long series of events including tours of decorated historic homes, re-enactments, programs at museums including the New Castle Court House Museum, crafts, musical entertainment and more. Downtown New Castle. 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. 302-328-3279.

Photo of the New Castle Green in snow
The New Castle Green with the New Castle Court House Museum in the foreground. The historic town will host the “Spirit of Christmas in New Castle” on Dec. 14, 2019.

Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019
Demonstrations by the Thistledown Fiber Arts Guild. Program explores spinning, weaving, knitting and other fabric arts. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 1–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Photo of the Mansion house at the John Dickinson Plantation
Mansion house at the John Dickinson Plantation

Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019
Christmas Eve. The following museums of the State of Delaware will be open: The Old State House, open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; the John Dickinson Plantation and New Castle Court House Museum, open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The Johnson Victrola Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum, closed.

Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019
Christmas Day. All 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) will be closed. 302-744-5054.

Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019
New Year’s Eve. The following museums of the State of Delaware will be open: The Old State House, open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; the John Dickinson Plantation and New Castle Court House Museum, open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The Johnson Victrola Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum, closed.

Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020
New Year’s Day. All 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) will be closed. 302-744-5054.

Exhibits and displays

In addition to special programming, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is sponsoring the following exhibits and displays. Admission is free and open to the public:

Through Dec. 12, 2019
Delaware Day Competition Display.” Works by participants in the Delaware Department of State’s 18th annual Delaware Day Fourth Grade Competition which challenges students to illustrate and explain the U.S. Constitution and the role played by Delawareans in the writing and ratification of the nation’s founding document. Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Ave., Dover. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission but passage through security checkpoint required. 302-744-4114.

Detail from Bunker Hill Elementary School’s display from last year’s Delaware Day Fourth Grade Competition.
Detail from Bunker Hill Elementary School’s display from last year’s Delaware Day Fourth Grade Competition.

Ongoing
Delaware Railroads: Elegant Travel and Timely Transport.” Exhibit explores the history of rail travel and transport in the First State emphasizing the New Castle and Frenchtown Railroad (1832), the Delaware Railroad (1852), the Junction and Breakwater Railroad (1857) and the Queen Anne’s Railroad (1896). Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Nov. 1–March 31: Wed.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Oct. 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Photo of an antique toy train
Cast iron passenger train including engine, tender and three passenger cars. Made by Vindex Toy Company, Belvedere, Ill., circa 1905. From the exhibit “Delaware Railroads: Elegant Travel and Timely Transport” at the Zwaanendael Museum.

Ongoing
Five Stories.” Display explores the varied lives of people who lived on the plantation including Dickinson family members, tenant farmers, tradesmen, free blacks, indentured servants and enslaved individuals. John Dickinson Plantation Welcome Center, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Oct. 1–March 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Sept. 30: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Ongoing
Letters From a Farmer in Pennsylvania.” Online exhibit explores the life of Founding Father John Dickinson and the publication of his essays that described Colonial American grievances with the British government.

Ongoing
New Castle: Three Forts, One Community.” Exhibit examines the 17th-century struggle for control of New Castle by the Dutch, Swedes and English, and the strongholds that they built to maintain their power. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.

Ongoing
The Old State House: A True Restoration 1976-2016.” Display explores preservation work that has been conducted since Delaware’s first permanent capitol building in Dover was restored to its original appearance in 1976. From the collections of the State of Delaware. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Photo of The Old State House at night
The Old State House

 

Ongoing
The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware.” Exhibit explores Delaware’s role in the clandestine network that transported American slaves to freedom including the true journey of the Hawkins family from bondage in Maryland, through Delaware, to freedom in Pennsylvania. Part II of the display explores some of the challenges faced by Black Delawareans after the Civil War, and showcases Delaware trailblazers who helped break racial and gender barriers. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-323-4453.

Ongoing
Sculpture by Charles Parks. Display of works by the noted Wilmington artist featuring historical and political figures including a Minute Man, and presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.

Ongoing
A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World.” Exhibit utilizes artifacts recovered from His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak, a British warship that sank off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798, to tell the story of the vessel, its crew and the historical context within which it operated in the Atlantic World of the late 18th century. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Nov. 1–March 31: Wed.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Oct. 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Ongoing
Simple Machines.” Display demonstrating the six “simple machines”—incline ramp, screw, wedge, pulley, lever and wheel—that constitute the elementary building blocks of which many more-complicated machines are composed. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Oct. 1–March 31: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. April 1–Sept. 30: Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Ongoing
When Janie Comes Marching Home: Women’s Fight to Serve.” Display explores the participation of women in America’s armed conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the present, and their fight to be allowed to serve their country during wartime. Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Ave., Dover. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission but passage through security checkpoint required. 302-744-4114.

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, school programs and hands-on activities, 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 comprehensive, 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 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

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Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-739-7787
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware