John Dickinson Plantation Receives Award of Excellence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The John Dickinson Plantation is administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.

 

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


FREE New Castle History Camp, July 25–29, 2022

(DOVER, Del. — June 2, 2022) — Children ages 10 to 13 are invited to explore the storied past of one of America’s most historic towns during the FREE New Castle History Camp that will take place from July 25 to 29, 2022 in New Castle, Delaware. Among a host of topics, participants will discover how Native Americans used the land, explore colonial kitchen gardens and weigh in as jurors in the momentous Thomas Garrett trial. At the end of each day, campers will test their skills as historians by researching and designing a creative group project that will be presented to friends and family at the end of the week at the New Castle Public Library.

Photo of the New Castle Court House Museum
New Castle Court House Museum, one of the participating organizations in the New Castle History Camp

Registered campers must be dropped off no earlier than 8:30 a.m. at the New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., and picked up no later than 12:30 p.m. from the New Castle Public Library, 424 Delaware St. In addition to sessions at those locations, camp activities will be hosted and conducted by several of the town’s most prestigious history organizations including the First State National Historical Park, New Castle Historical Society and the Delaware Historical Society’s Read House and Gardens.

Open to children ages 10–13, the New Castle History Camp is free but limited to the first 25 participants on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration closes June 30, 2022 at midnight or when there are no longer any openings, whichever happens first.

For detailed information on the New Castle History Camp, go to https://history.delaware.gov/new-castle-history-camp/. For registration and questions, contact New Castle Court House Museum Lead Interpreter Juliette Wurm at mailto:Juliette.Wurm@delaware.gov or 302-323-4453.

The New Castle Court House Museum is administered by the Delaware 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: 302-577-5170
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Historical Affairs Programs In June 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Remaining division program in May 2022

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

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

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


The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the State’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.

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


‘The Wooden World Revealed’ at Lewes’ Zwaanendael Museum

-Day-long series of activities explores the 1798 sinking of HMS DeBraak-

(DOVER, Del. — May 13, 2022) — Visitors to Lewes, Del. will have an opportunity to learn about the 1798 wreck of the British warship DeBraak in the program “The Wooden World Revealed” that will take place outdoors on Saturday, May 21, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., in Zwaanendael Park located adjacent to the Zwaanendael Museum at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del.

Artistic rendition of the capsizing of the DeBraak by Peggy Kane, 1990
Artistic rendition of the capsizing of the DeBraak by Peggy Kane, 1990

Held in conjunction with Lewes’ Maritime Day 2022, “The Wooden World Revealed” activities will include block-and-tackle demonstrations; “Life at Sea,” a program on day-to day experiences on an 18th-century sailing vessel; and, at 2:30 p.m., a presentation of the program “The Wreck of the DeBraak.”

Admission to “The Wooden World Revealed” is free and open to the public, but guests are urged to bring their own chairs. In the event of inclement weather, the program may be cancelled. Call the museum for additional information at 302-645-1148.

His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak was a British warship that was escorting and protecting a convoy of British and American merchant ships en route to the United States when it was capsized and lost off Cape Henlopen on May 25, 1798. The remains of the ship’s hull and associated artifact collection have been curated by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs since they were acquired by State of Delaware in 1992. An exhibit on the ship, “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World,” is currently on display at the museum.

The Zwaanendael Museum was built in 1931 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the state’s first European colony, Swanendael, established by the Dutch along Hoorn Kill (present-day Lewes-Rehoboth Canal) in 1631. Designed by E. William Martin (architect of Legislative Hall and the Hall of Records in Dover), the museum is modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands, and features a stepped façade gable with carved stonework and decorated shutters. The museum’s exhibits and presentations provide a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military and social history.

Photo of the Zwaanendael Museum by Cindy Dolan
Zwaanendael Museum. Photo by Cindy Dolan

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.

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


Natural World On Display At Buena Vista On May 14, 2022

-Free one-day-only affair showcases one of Delaware’s most historic estates-

(DOVER, Del. — May 4, 2022) — The natural world will be bursting with life and color during the Buena Vista spring event that will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at Buena Vista: A Delaware Country Estate, located at 661 S. Dupont Highway (Route 13), southwest of New Castle, Delaware.

Photo of horticultural displays at Buena Vista
Horticultural displays at Buena Vista

Activities will include outdoor children’s games, nature walks, guided tours of the grounds and mansion, and educational programs by the Sunshine Plein Air Artists and Bluebird Society. Guests are encouraged to bring picnic lunches and cameras for this one-day-only opportunity to explore one of Delaware’s most historic estates.

Admission to the event is free and open to the public but, as noted in the schedule below, reservations are required for some of the activities due to space limitations. For reservations, call 302-323-4430. For additional information, go to https://history.delaware.gov/2022/04/08/bv-spring-event-2022. In case of inclement weather, the event may be postponed to the following day, Sunday, May 15, during the same hours.

Buena Vista spring event schedule of activities

10 a.m.– 3 p.m.
Self-guided walks in the gardens and through the estate property on a paved trail; children’s games on the lawn; and craft activities including the building and painting of bluebird boxes. Guests are also invited to take photos at their leisure and to bring a picnic lunch. Free, no reservations required

Photo of a trail at Buena Vista
Section of the paved trail that crosses Buena Vista’s grounds

10:15–11 a.m.
Guided tour of the gardens. Limited to 20 participants. Free but reservations required

10:30–11 a.m.
Guided tour of the Buena Vista mansion. Limited to 20 participants. Free but reservations required

11 a.m.–Noon
Guided tour via the paved trail that crosses Buena Vista’s agricultural fields and natural areas. Limited to 20 participants. Free but reservations required

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Outdoor painting session led by the Sunshine Plein Air Artists. Limited to 20 participants. Free but reservations required. Art supplies provided but participants must bring their own chairs

Photo of a member of the Sunshine Plein Air Artists painting on the grounds of Buena Vista
Member of the Sunshine Plein Air Artists painting on the grounds of Buena Vista

12–1 p.m.
Lecture on bluebirds by the Bluebird Society. Free, no reservations required

1:15–2 p.m.
Guided tour of the gardens. Limited to 20 participants. Free but reservations required

1:30–2 p.m.
Guided tour of the Buena Vista mansion. Limited to 20 participants. Free but reservations required

2–3 p.m.
Guided tour via the paved trail that crosses Buena Vista’s agricultural fields and natural areas. Limited to 20 participants. Free but reservations required

2:15–3 p.m.
Outdoor painting session led by the Sunshine Plein Air Artists. Limited to 20 participants. Free but reservations required. Art supplies provided but participants must bring their own chairs

Photo of the Buena Vista mansion
Buena Vista mansion

The main section of the Buena Vista mansion was built between 1845 and 1847 by John M. Clayton, United States secretary of state from 1849 to 1850 under presidents Taylor and Fillmore, and United States senator from 1829 to 1836, 1845 to 1849, and 1853 until his death in 1856. The home later became the residence of C. Douglass Buck, governor of Delaware from 1929 to 1937 and United States senator from 1942 to 1948. Buena Vista and its grounds were donated to the State by the Buck family in 1965 and now serve as a conference/event center administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the State’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.