Delaware’s 23rd Annual Chautauqua From Sept. 9–12, 2021

(DOVER, Del. — Aug. 23, 2021) — American enterprise and ingenuity will be brought to life in Delaware’s 23rd annual Chautauqua, “The I’s Have It: Industry, Innovation, and Invention,” that will be livestreamed on the Internet from Sept. 9 through 12, 2021. Delaware’s Chautauqua programs are produced by the Zwaanendael Museum and the New Castle Court House Museum.

Banner for the 2021 Chautauqua

Each day of activities will be capped off with evening performances by actor-historians from the American Historical Theatre portraying, respectively, George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, Madame C.J. Walker and Alexander Graham Bell. For a complete listing of activities, go to https://history.delaware.gov/23rd-annual-chautauqua/.

Photo of Keith Henley as George Washington Carver
Keith Henley will portray George Washington Carver on Sept. 9, 2021.

In addition to being livestreamed, two programs in Lewes, Del. will feature live, in-person programs held in Stango Park, 114 Third St. — a concert by the Smooth Sound Big Band at 6 p.m. on Sept. on Sept. 9, and an Old-Time Radio Show presented by the Possum Point Players Radio Theatre at 6 p.m. on Sept. 10. Visitors attending these programs must bring their own chairs.

Photo of Bob Gleason as Thomas Edison
Bob Gleason will portray Thomas Edison on Sept. 10, 2021.

In addition to being livestreamed, all events on Sept. 11 and 12 will be presented in a tent located on The Green adjacent to The New Castle Court House Museum at 211 Delaware St in New Castle, Del. In-person attendance will be allowed for all New Castle programs. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own chairs as limited seating will be available.

Photo of Daisey Century as Madame C.J. Walker
Daisy Century will portray Madame C.J. Walker on the New Castle Green on Sept. 11, 2021.

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

Photo of Bob Gleason as Alexander Graham Bell
Bob Gleason will portray Alexander Graham Bell on the New Castle Green on Sept. 12, 2021.

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.

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 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.

“The I’s Have It: Industry, Innovation, and Invention” 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 grants from the New Castle Arts Council, New Castle Community Partnership and Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Photo of the 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 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.

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Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-608-5326
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Guided Visitation To The African Burial Ground At The John Dickinson Plantation

(DOVER, Del. — Aug. 23, 2021) — The John Dickinson Plantation is offering the opportunity to visit the African burial ground and engage with guides about the complex history of the site. The burial ground is believed to be the final resting place for enslaved and free Black men, women and children who died on the plantation. The guided visitations will reflect on the historical context and archaeological research surrounding this significant piece of Delaware’s shared history.

View, from the John Dickinson Plantation’s log’d dwelling, looking across agricultural fields to the location of the African burial ground.
View, from the John Dickinson Plantation’s log’d dwelling, looking across agricultural fields to the location of the African burial ground.

Guided visitations will be available on the following days at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.:

Sept. 17, 21, 24, 25 and 28
Oct. 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 23, 26 and 29
Nov. 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19 and 20

The 1 ½ hour experience will include an orientation in the visitor center, a tour of the recreated log’d dwelling and a mile round-trip walk to the burial ground, which will include a moment of silence.

Due to limited capacity, reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 302-739-3277.

For the safety of guests and staff, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs reserves the right to cancel or postpone any event due to due to inclement and/or dangerous weather conditions.

A majority of the activities will take place outdoors. Participants must be prepared for adverse weather conditions and for travel, by foot, over uneven terrain including an unpaved road and an agricultural field. The wearing of appropriate clothing is advised including a hat, closed-toed shoes with good tread such as sneakers or boots, long pants and clothing that accounts for current weather conditions and the presence of insects. Visitors are also advised to bring their own insect repellant and sunscreen.

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 burial ground was found on March 9, 2021 on the property of the John Dickinson Plantation located at 340 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover, Del. Answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the burial ground are available on the John Dickinson Plantation website. Additional information can be found in the podcast, “African Americans on the John Dickinson Plantation.”

These guided visitations are conducted as part of the division’s mission to share the stories of the lives of the Black families who lived, labored 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.

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Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-608-5326
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Historical Affairs to Sponsor 2 Programs in August 2021

(DOVER, Del. — July 27, 2021) — The wreck of the DeBraak and War of 1812 hero Commodore Thomas Macdonough will be explored in virtual programs streamed live via Zoom by Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs museums during the month of August 2021. Admission is free but reservations are required. Go to the following for additional information and reservation instructions: https://history.delaware.gov/2021/07/26/division-to-sponsor-2-virtual-programs-in-august-2021/.

Portrait of Commodore McDonough
Portrait of Commodore Thomas Macdonough by Thomas Sully that hangs in the House of Representatives chamber of The Old State House. Historical interpreter Steven Mumford will portray the noted mariner on Aug. 26, 2021.

Virtual programs in August 2021

Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021
“The Wreck of the DeBraak.” Virtual program from the Zwaanendael Museum explores the history of the British warship DeBraak which sank off the coast of Lewes in May of 1798 only to be recovered by treasure hunters nearly 200 years later. 3:30 p.m. For additional information, call 302-645-1148 or mailto:zmuseum@delaware.gov.

Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021
“Commodore Thomas Macdonough and the Battle of Plattsburgh.” Virtual living-history program from The Old State House in which historical interpreter Steven Mumford will portray Delaware hero Commodore Thomas Macdonough. As part of the program, Macdonough will reminisce about his life and activities during the War of 1812 including the important victory at the Battle of Plattsburgh. 1 p.m. For additional information, call 302-744-5054 or mailto:OSHmuseum@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.

Picture of the Logo of the American Alliance of Museums

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, 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.

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Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-608-5326
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Historical Affairs to Sponsor 4 Programs During July 2021

(DOVER, Del. — June 24, 2021) — The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring four special programs during the month of July 2021. Two of the programs will be streamed live on the internet with reservations required. A full schedule is included below. All programs are free and open to the public. Go to the following for additional information and reservation instructions:
https://history.delaware.gov/2021/06/05/hca-july-2021-programs.

Photo of historical interpreters reading the Declaration of Independence from the steps of The Old State House.
Historical interpreters will read the Declaration of Independence from the steps of The Old State House on July 3 and 4, 2021.

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs programs, July 2021

Thursday, July 1, 2021
“The Wreck of the DeBraak.” Virtual program from the Zwaanendael Museum explores the history of the British warship DeBraak which sank off the coast of Lewes in May of 1798 only to be recovered by treasure hunters nearly 200 years later. Program streamed live via Zoom. Registration required and only available by clicking here. 3:30 p.m. For additional information, call 302-645-1148 or mailto:zmuseum@delaware.gov.

Saturday, July 3, 2021
Reading of the Declaration of Independence. Program commences with the ringing of The Old State House bell in celebration of the nation’s birthday, followed immediately by historical interpreters, dressed in period clothing, reciting the Declaration of Independence outside near the spot where the document was first read to the citizens of Dover in 1776. 2 p.m. First Saturday in the First State program. In addition, tours of the museum will be conducted, by advance reservations only, at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Call 302-744-5054 for reservations.

Sunday, July 4, 2021
Independence Day. The Old State House and New Castle Court House Museum, open for tours by reservation. The John Dickinson Plantation, the Johnson Victrola Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum, closed. 302-744-5054

Sunday, July 4, 2021
Reading of the Declaration of Independence. Beginning at 2 and 4 p.m., programs commence with the ringing of The Old State House bell in celebration of the nation’s birthday, followed immediately by historical interpreters, dressed in period clothing, reciting the Declaration of Independence outside near the spot where the document was first read to the citizens of Dover in 1776. Half-hour tours of the museum at 1 and 3 p.m. by advance reservations only. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Call 302-744-5054 for reservations.

Monday, July 5, 2021
Independence Day observed. 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 July 10, 2021
CANCELLED: “Live Trivia at the Johnson Victrola Museum.” Persons interested in history, science, phonographs and early 1900s America can test their knowledge at the museum’s first trivia event. Outdoor summer program; dress appropriately for the weather. Open to both individuals and teams. Prizes will be awarded. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 1 p.m. Rain date: July 17. Admission free but limited to 30 participants. Reservations required by calling 302-739-3262 or mailto:jvmuseum@Delaware.gov. NOTE: Event cancelled due to potential for excessive heat.

Saturday July 24, 2021
“The American Revolution From Other Perspectives.” Virtual lecture from The Old State House by historic-site interpreter Gavin Malone explores how the American Revolution was part of a much larger conflict that spanned several continents and included British loyalists, African Americans and Indigenous peoples. Program streamed live via Zoom. Registration required and only available by clicking here. 1 p.m. For additional information, call 302-744-5054 or mailto:OSHmuseum@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.

Picture of the Logo of the American Alliance of Museums

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, 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.

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Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-608-5326
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Historical Affairs sponsors 6 programs in May

(DOVER, Del. — April 20, 2022) — The archaeology series “History Unearthed,” “Trivia Night” and “The Wreck of the DeBraak” will be explored in virtual programs streamed live on the Web by Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs museums during the month of May 2021. All programs are free and open to the public. Go to the following for additional information and reservation instructions: https://history.delaware.gov/2021/04/19/hca-6-programs-may-2021/.

Artistic rendition of the capsizing of the DeBraak by Peggy Kane, 1990
Artistic rendition of the capsizing of the DeBraak by Peggy Kane, 1990. The virtual program, “The Wreck of the DeBraak,” will be streamed live from the Zwaanendael Museum on May 6 and 25, 2021.

Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs programs, May 2021

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
“Trivia Nights.” Virtual program hosted by the John Dickinson Plantation and the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve featuring science, history, art and more. Interactive program hosted live on Webex. Registration required by April 27, 2021. 6 p.m. For additional information, call 302-739-3277 or JDPmuseum@delaware.gov.

Thursday, May 6, 2021
“The Wreck of the DeBraak.” Virtual program from the Zwaanendael Museum explores the history of the British warship DeBraak which sank off the coast of Lewes in May of 1798 only to be recovered by treasure hunters nearly 200 years later. Program streamed live via Zoom. Registration required. 3:30 p.m. For additional information, call 302-645-1148 or zmuseum@delaware.gov.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
“The Wreck of the DeBraak.” Virtual program explores the history of the British warship DeBraak which sank off the coast of Lewes in May of 1798 only to be recovered by treasure hunters nearly 200 years later. Part of “History Unearthed,” the Zwaanendael Museum’s three-day series of lectures exploring Delaware’s rich archaeological history. Program streamed live via Zoom. Registration required. 1 p.m. For additional information, call 302-645-1148 or zmuseum@delaware.gov.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021
“Diving Into History: A Look at Maritime Archaeology.” Virtual program in which Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs archaeologist Stephanie Soder explores the history and methods of maritime archaeology and discusses work completed on Delaware’s famous (and infamous) wrecks. Part of “History Unearthed,” the Zwaanendael Museum’s three-day series of lectures exploring Delaware’s rich archaeological history. Program streamed live via Zoom. Registration required. 1 p.m. For additional information, call 302-645-1148 or zmuseum@delaware.gov.

Thursday, May 27, 2021
“Putting the Pieces Together.” Virtual program explores the role of archaeologists as detectives using their powers of deduction to identify artifacts and put the puzzle pieces together. Part of “History Unearthed,” the Zwaanendael Museum’s three-day series of lectures exploring Delaware’s rich archaeological history. Program streamed live via Zoom. Registration required. 1 p.m. For additional information, call 302-645-1148 or zmuseum@delaware.gov.

Thursday, May 27, 2021
“Architecture or Artifact.” Virtual program in which Fran Mahon, research fellow for the Preservation Society of Newport County (R.I.), explores how looking at local landscapes and buildings as artifacts can help to enhance an understanding of local history. Part of “History Unearthed,” the Zwaanendael Museum’s three-day series of lectures exploring Delaware’s rich archaeological history. Program streamed live via Zoom. Registration required. 5:30 p.m. For additional information, call 302-645-1148 or zmuseum@delaware.gov.

Monday, May 31, 2021
Memorial 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.

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.

Picture of the Logo of the American Alliance of Museums

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, 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.

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Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-608-5326
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov