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


Delaware Valley Archaeology and History Symposium at the Arsenal in New Castle, Del. on Dec. 7, 2019

Archaeologists and volunteers working at the Avery’s Rest site.

(DOVER, Del.—Nov. 21, 2019)—On Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the Archaeological Society of Delaware and the New Castle Historical Society, will present the “Delaware Valley Archaeology and History Symposium.” The event will include scholarly presentations on the history and archaeology of the lower Delaware Valley including new research and recent updates on the Avery’s Rest archaeological site in Sussex County Del., and the search for Fort Casimir in New Castle, Del.

Illustration depicting Fort Casimir
Image of Fort Casimir after it had been captured by the Swedes, improved and renamed Fort Trefalddighet.

The symposium will take place at the Arsenal building, headquarters of the New Castle Historical Society, located at 30 Market St. in New Castle, Del. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information about the symposium, contact coordinator John Martin at John.W.Martin@delaware.gov or call 302-736-7406. For information on the Arsenal building, call 302-322-2794.

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: 302-739-7787
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware


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


Sussex Conservation District offers free workshop on stormwater pond maintenance Dec. 5 in Lewes

GEORGETOWN – Sussex County property owners who want to learn more about stormwater pond maintenance are invited to attend free workshops being offered Thursday, Dec. 5, by the Sussex Conservation District at the DNREC Lewes Conference Room located at 901 Pilottown Road, Lewes, DE 19958. The morning workshop will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and run until noon. An afternoon workshop will begin with registration at 1:30 p.m. and run until 5 p.m.

Stormwater ponds collect surface runoff to manage and help prevent downstream flooding, remove pollutants, and settle suspended sediments transported by stormwater. These ponds can add to the aesthetics of a community, and homeowners often pay a premium to be close to these waterfront sites.

The task of maintaining stormwater ponds falls on the property owner. In many cases, the owner is a homeowners’ association or maintenance corporation, whose responsibilities also include open space management. Some associations seek professional support, while others choose to manage them on their own. Other property owners may not even be aware that the ponds require ongoing and sometimes extensive maintenance.

The workshop will provide general information on why stormwater pond management is needed and how to ensure a pond’s proper function for years to come. Many homeowners do not reach out for technical assistance until there is a problem.

Seating is limited and pre-registration is encouraged. To register for a workshop or for more information, please contact the Sussex Conservation District at 302-856-2105, or register online at www.sussexconservation.org.

For more information about Delaware’s Sediment and Stormwater Program, which operates within DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship’s Conservation Program Section, visit DNREC Sediment and Stormwater.

Contact: Jessica Watson, Sussex Conservation District, 302-856-2105, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.


Fourth graders’ Delaware Day projects on display at Legislative Hall in Dover from Nov. 13–Dec. 12, 2019

(DOVER, Del.—Nov. 6, 2019)—Delaware fourth-grade students will showcase their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and Delaware’s role in the founding of the nation in a series of creative displays on view from Nov. 13 to Dec. 12, 2019 at Legislative Hall, located at 411 Legislative Ave. in Dover, Del. The home of Delaware’s General Assembly, Legislative Hall is open to the public Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free but visitors must pass through a security checkpoint at the entrance to the building. For additional information on the competition, call 302-608-5328. For additional information about visiting Legislative Hall, call 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

Delaware Day commemorates the anniversary of Delaware becoming the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on Dec. 7, 1787. Six months later, on June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document thereby providing the two-thirds majority of the states needed to establish the Constitution as the law of the land.

Sponsored annually by Delaware’s secretary of state, the Delaware Day Fourth Grade Competition encourages students to study the Constitution and to discover Delaware’s role in its writing and ratification. Students’ observations are presented in a panel-display format that incorporates prose, artwork, songs and political cartoons. Each display is reviewed for historical accuracy, spelling, creativity and artistic merit.

A ceremony honoring the 2019 participants in the competition will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 at 10 a.m. at the Delaware Public Archives building located at 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Dover, Del. Admission is free.

The 2019 Delaware Day Fourth Grade Competition was planned and organized by the Delaware Department of State’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs in cooperation with representatives of Delaware Public Archives and the Division of the Arts. Several Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs employees served as judges for the history competition while employees of the Division of the Arts judged the entries on their artistic merits.

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.gov