Division to offer 19 special events during May 2014

April 15th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring 17 special events during the month of May 2014 at the six museums of the state of Delaware, as well as Dover Days programs at Legislative Hall and the Delaware Public Archives. A full schedule of events is included below. Except where noted, all programs are free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-744-5055.

Beaded purse, c. 1900–1910. From the collections of the state of Delaware. The purse will be featured in the “Simple Pleasures: Picnic, Play and Dance” display at The Old State House.

Beaded purse, c. 1900–1910. From the collections of the state of Delaware. The purse will be featured in the “Simple Pleasures: Picnic, Play and Dance” display at The Old State House.

Beginning May 1, 2014
“Dress for Success: The Edwardian Gentlemen’s Wardrobe and Accessories.” Display of objects of adornment, fashion and accessories for male grooming from the time period depicted in the Downton Abbey television series. From the collections of the state of Delaware. Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Ave., Dover. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival—May 2 and 3, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Limited visitation hours on other dates; call 302-739-9194 before planning a visit.

Beginning May 1, 2014
“Simple Pleasures: Picnic, Play and Dance.” Display of original Edwardian and roaring 20s fashions that reflect the spirit of the liberated “modern” woman as depicted in the Downton Abbey television series. From the collections of the state of Delaware. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival—May 2, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. May 3, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m., May 4, 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Other times, Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Friday, May 2, 2014
A Taste of Jazz: From the Beginning.” Guided tours explore the sounds of the Jazz Age and the role played by Delaware’s native son, E.R. Johnson in jazz-music history, accompanied by early-jazz recordings played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Friday, May 2, 2014
“Madam C.J. Walker, Millionairess.” Dr. Daisy Century of the American Historical Theatre portrays the 19th century entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of the Walker Company which specialized in hair-care products for African-Americans. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Programs at 6 and 8 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–9 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Madam C.J. Walker (at the wheel) and three unidentified friends in an undated photo.

Madam C.J. Walker (at the wheel) and three unidentified friends in an undated photo.

 Saturday, May 3, 2014
“The War of the Roses: Delaware’s Suffragist Movement.” Guided tours explore Delaware’s role in the movement that resulted in women gaining the right to vote, and how the movement affected people’s daily lives and influenced women’s attire. Tours will also examine the famous speech on suffrage by Gov. John G. Townsend Jr. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014
“Nipper and Other Famous Dogs.” Learn about the inquisitive little dog who adorns the Victor trademark, “His Masters Voice,” and hear how this popular pooch paved the way for other famous canines of the 20th century. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, May 3, 2014
“An Illegal Activity.” Utilizing the exhibit “An Illegal Activity: The Underground Railroad in Delaware” as a backdrop, guided tours will explore Delaware’s crucial role in the Underground Railroad and on two Delaware leaders who aided in this “freedom enterprise.” Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival. First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, Delaware Public Archives building, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dover. Tours at 10 a.m. and Noon. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, May 3, 2014
Dover Days at the John Dickinson Plantation. Activities include tours, colonial games and hearth cooking utilizing 18th-century recipes. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Mansion house at the John Dickinson Plantation.

Mansion house at the John Dickinson Plantation.

Saturday, May 3, 2014
“Dry as a Martini: Prohibition in Delaware, Neither Shaken nor Stirred.Interactive performance/presentation—complete with historical interpreters in 1920s-style dress—exploring the state’s ratification of the 18th amendment, its attempts to enforce the law, and its ratification of the 21st amendment repealing Prohibition. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Programs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, May 3, 2014
“No Ordinary Speakeasy: The Johnson Club.” Musical presentation by DonDel productions in which the museum will be transformed into a speakeasy (minus the alcohol) featuring 1920s smooth blues. Guests are invited to come in “twenties” dress. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Performances at 1 and 3 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, May 3, 2014
“The Wooden World Revealed: The Archaeology and History of the DeBraak.” Chuck Fithian, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ curator of archaeology, will discuss the British warship that sank off the coast of Delaware in 1798. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival. Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dover. 1:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Sunday, May 4, 2014
“Alice Roosevelt’s Maid.” Kim Hanley of the American Historical Theatre portrays Peggy, maid of Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter Alice. Program provides audiences with an up-close look at the clothing and personal items of wealthy women during the Gilded Age. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Programs at 1 and 3 p.m. Museum open 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Sunday, May 4, 2014
“Simple Pleasures: Picnic, Play and Dance.” Ann Baker Horsey, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ curator of collections, will discuss spring and summer recreational activities and their original Edwardian and Roaring ´20s fashions. Part of the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 2 p.m. Museum open 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, May 10, 2014
Seventh annual Symposium on the Early Colonial Archaeology of the Delaware Valley Region. Featuring informal presentations, the program is designed to build a regional-level dialog that can identify the uniqueness of the early colonial cultures of the Delaware Valley. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-323-4453. To reserve a place, send an e-mail to craig.lukezic@de.state.us.

New Castle Court House Museum

New Castle Court House Museum

Saturday, May 10, 2014
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.–3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014
A Day in Old New Castle. The oldest house and garden tour in the nation includes programs at the New Castle Court House Museum and the New Castle Green. Sponsored by Immanuel Episcopal Church. Downtown New Castle. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission charge. 1-877-496-9498.

Saturday, May 17, 2014
Herb Day at the John Dickinson Plantation. Visitors will learn about 18th century uses for herbs and create a sachet to take home. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Saturday, May 24, 2014
Battledore and Shuttlecock Day at the John Dickinson Plantation. Experience the fun, exercise and competition of battledore and shuttlecock, an early game similar to that of modern badminton. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Activities 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Saturday, May 24, 2014
Third Annual Zwaanendael Maritime Festival. Maritime-themed activities, games, displays by local organizations and more. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Schedule released for 2014 tours of His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak

April 15th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

After a highly successful second season in 2013 which saw attendance increase by 38 percent, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will again offer public lecture/tours of the hull of His Majesty’s Sloop DeBraak, 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 the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798. Lecture/tours will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the following Mondays during 2014: June 2, 9, 23 and 30; July 7, 14, 21 and 28; Aug. 4, 11, 18 and 25; and Sept. 8, 15, 22 and 29. Note: Tours will not be conducted on June 16 and Sept. 1.

Viewing area inside the DeBraak hull facility. The surviving section of the ship’s hull can be seen in the left of the photo.

Viewing area inside the DeBraak hull facility. The surviving section of the ship’s hull can be seen in the left of the photo.

All programs begin at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., where a lecture on the ship will be presented in conjunction with the exhibit “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World.” The exhibit tells the story of the vessel, its crew and the historical context within which it operated in the late 18th century. Ticket holders will then be transported, via van, to the DeBraak hull facility in nearby Cape Henlopen State Park for a curator-led tour of the surviving section of the ship’s hull.

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

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

Available through the Shop Delaware website, nonrefundable tickets for the lecture/tours are $10 per person (restricted to persons aged 10 and above) with a limit of 12 visitors per program. Due to the limited number of seats that are available for each lecture/tour, ticket purchases are encouraged well in advance. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Significance of DeBraak…

During the late-18th and early-19th centuries, sloops of war such as DeBraak played an increasingly important role in Royal Navy campaigns. These relatively small vessels combined speed, agility, shallow draft and increased firepower, all of which made them formidable naval vessels. As the only Royal Navy sloop of war from this time period that has been recovered anywhere in the world, DeBraak serves as an invaluable historical resource for a time when Britannia ruled the waves and the United States was just beginning to develop its sea legs.

The surviving section of the DeBraak’s hull and its associated artifact collection have been curated by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs since they were acquired by the state of Delaware in 1992. Approximately one-third of the hull survives including the keel, keelson and framing elements of the lower hull, and a large section of the starboard (right) side.

Preliminary schedule released for 2014 Chautauqua tent show

April 7th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

“With Malice Toward None…Delaware Life During the Civil War” to take place in Lewes, Del. from June 15–19, 2014

The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs and the Lewes Historical Society have released the preliminary schedule of events (listed below) for the 16th annual Chautauqua tent show that will take place in Lewes, Del. from June 15–19, 2014.

Entitled “With Malice Toward None…Delaware Life During the Civil War,” the five-day series of programs will explore the impact of the American Civil War on the Delaware homefront and on the more than 13,000 Delawareans who fought in the bloody conflict that pitted state against state and brother against brother. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Willis Phelps will portray Pvt. James Elbert of the U.S. Colored Troops on June 15.

Willis Phelps will portray Pvt. James Elbert of the U.S. Colored Troops on June 15.

A unique mixture of education and entertainment, Lewes’ Chautauqua will be held under a large tent and will feature re-enactors who take on the personas of celebrated historical figures, educating and entertaining audiences as they bring the past to life. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions and interact with the featured characters who will include abolitionist and Union spy Harriet Tubman; Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross Clara Barton; President Abraham Lincoln; poet and Civil War nurse Walt Whitman; and Delawarean James Elbert from Polktown who enlisted in the United States Colored Troops.

Bob Gleason will portray President Abraham Lincoln on June 18.

Bob Gleason will portray President Abraham Lincoln on June 18.

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 (or colloquially, 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.

Dr. Daisy Century will portray Harriet Tubman on June 15.

Dr. Daisy Century will portray Harriet Tubman on June 15.

Reborn in the 1970s as a vehicle for humanities education, modern Chautauquas are organized around a core program in which re-enactors portray celebrated historical figures, speaking and interacting with audiences, often in the setting of a large outdoor tent. Modern Chautauquas have been presented annually in Delaware since 1999 featuring a wide variety of historical figures including Amelia Earhart; Dolley Madison; Eleanor Roosevelt; Edgar Allan Poe; the Lone Ranger; John Philip Sousa; and Delaware’s own Allen McLane, F.O.C. Darley and Clifford Brown.

This program is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities Forum, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

DE_Humanites_logo_4color-HIRES

The program is co-sponsored by the Lewes Historical Society and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs with additional financial support from the Delaware Heritage Commission, Delmarva Power and Sussex County Council under the auspices of Councilwoman Joan Deaver.

“With Malice Toward None…Delaware Life During the Civil War16th annual Chautauqua tent show, Lewes, Del., June 15–19, 2014
Preliminary schedule as of April 14, 2014
Free admission for all events

In the event of adverse weather conditions, programs may be moved indoors to the Lewes Presbyterian Church located at 133 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del. Call 302-645-1148 to confirm.

Sunday, June 15, 2014
Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 302-645-1148
Noon–Presentation by members of the Lewes Base Ball Club exploring baseball in the late-19th and early-20th centuries and the history of social and athletic life in Lewes

2 p.m.–Songs and stories of the Civil War by Matthew Dodd

3 p.m.–”Conflicting Loyalties in the Border: Delawareans During the Civil War.” Presentation by historian Peter Dalleo, Ph.D.

4 p.m.–Willis Phelps portrays Pvt. James Elbert from Polktown, Del., a member of the U.S. Colored Troops

6 p.m.–Songs and stories of the Civil War by Matthew Dodd

Matthew Dodd will perform songs and stories of the Civil War on June 15.

Matthew Dodd will perform songs and stories of the Civil War on June 15.

Monday, June 16, 2014
Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 302-645-1148
1 p.m.–“Delaware in the Civil War.” Presentation by David Price, historic-site interpreter, New Castle Court House Museum

2 p.m.–“Close to the Vest and Under the Skirt.” Presentation on the dresses and dressing of the 1860s lady and gentleman by Karen Jessee and Thomas Tear of Grand Oak Plantation

3 p.m.–“Benjamin Burton and His Participation in President Lincoln’s ‘Compensated Emancipation’ Scheme.” Presentation on the Indian River Hundred farmer who was the largest slaveholder in Delaware in 1862 by Richard Carter, communications director for the Delaware state Senate

4 p.m.–“David G. Farragut—America’s First Admiral.” Presentation on the Union naval commander noted for his victories at New Orleans and Mobile Bay by Ken Hickman, military historian and former curator of the USS Constellation Museum in Baltimore

6 p.m.–Music of the Civil War by Covered Bridge

7 p.m.–Patricia Troilo of the American Historical Theatre portrays Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross Clara Barton

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Stango Park, 111 Adams Ave., Lewes. 302-645-1148
7 p.m.–Musical performance by blues band Dr. Harmonica & Rockett 88. Part of Lewes’ Summer Concert Series

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Lewes Historical Society complex, 110 Shipcarpenter St., Lewes. 302-645-7670
1 p.m.–“Governor Ross of Delaware.” Program on William Henry Harrison Ross, slaveholder, Southern sympathizer and governor of Delaware from 1851 to 1855 by Claudia Leister, executive director of the Milford Museum

2 p.m.–Presentation on Union Army Maj. Gen. Alfred T. A. Torbert of Georgetown, Del. by Marvin Schelhouse, Marine veteran and Civil War historian

3 p.m.–Presentation on Delaware during the Civil War by Tom Ryan, Civil War author and historian

4 p.m.–“The Lincolns: Portrait of a Family,” presentation by Daniel Pritchett, history educator and member of the Lincoln Forum

6 p.m.–Civil War music and commentary by the Libby Prison Minstrels

7 p.m.–Robert Gleason of the American Historical Theatre portrays President Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, June 19, 2014
Lewes Historical Society complex, 110 Shipcarpenter St., Lewes. 302-645-7670
1 p.m.–“Swallowing the Yellow Dog,” play by the Fort Delaware Museum Theatre on two Confederate prisoners at Fort Delaware and their contrasting commitments to the Southern cause

2 p.m.–“Delaware as a Border State in the American Civil War.” Presentation by Luke Clawson, reference archivist at Hagley Museum and Library

3 p.m.–“Lewes During the Civil War.” Presentation by Michael Morgan, historian and author

4 p.m.–”The Poetry of Walt Whitman: War and Peace.” Presentation on Whitman’s views on war and warriors by poet Anne Colwell, associate professor of English and creative writing at the University of Delaware

6 p.m.–“There Stands Jackson,” the story of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as told by a grandfather, who served with the general, to his grandson; and “Conference With General Lee,” a
Lone Ranger show that centers around four former Confederate soldiers who want to restart the Civil War. Old-time radio shows presented by the Possum Point Players’ Ad Hoc Touring Company of Georgetown, Del.

7 p.m.–David Scott Taylor of the American Historical Theatre portrays Walt Whitman

David Scott Taylor will portray Walt Whitman on June 19.

David Scott Taylor will portray Walt Whitman on June 19.

Delaware State Historic Preservation Office recent accomplishments

March 28th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

The Delaware State Historic Preservation Office has recently released a report on some of the most significant accomplishments that it has achieved during the past year. A unit of the state’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the office administers a broad range of federal and state programs that identify, register and help to preserve Delaware’s historic places and unique cultural identity.

Go to the following to read the report.

DE SHPO FY 2013 Accomplishments_cover with border

Dover’s Old State House launches coffee-hour lecture series

March 19th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

Beginning on April 3, 2014, The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, Del., will be offering a new series of history lectures that will be held during the time period just after people have left work for the day. Focusing on Delaware-history topics, the lectures will take place between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. on selected Thursdays in April, 2014.

Old State House History Coffee Hour Lecture Series poster compressed

A complete listing of Old State House History Coffee-Hour Lecture Series programs follows. Additional lectures will be scheduled based on public interest in the series. All programs are free and open to the public with complimentary coffee available for those in attendance. For additional information, call 302-744-5055.

Old State House History Coffee-Hour Lecture Series

Thursday, April 3, 2014
“A Spy and a Hero: Delaware’s Allen McLane.” Lecture by historic-site interpreter Tom Welch on Allen McLane of Smyrna, Del., a hero of the American Revolution, speaker of the state House of Representatives and delegate at Delaware’s Constitution Ratification Convention.

Thursday, April 10, 2014
“Last Call: The Early Temperance Movement in Delaware.” Lecture by Nancy Gardner on the movement which sought to reduce or prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Thursday, April 17, 2014
“Murder and Mayhem: The Borders of Delaware.” Lecture by Brian Cannon, lead historic-site interpreter at the New Castle Court House Museum, on Delaware’s unique arched boundary and the factors that created a lawless environment near the state’s ambiguous borders with Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Delaware’s Dutch heritage, Underground Railroad poetry and Colonial games to be featured at division museums in April 2014

March 18th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

During the month of April 2014, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be offering 19 special programs at the state of Delaware’s six museums. A full schedule of events is included below. All programs listed are free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-744-5055.

Delaware’s long-standing connection to the Netherlands—which stretches back in time to the state’s first European colony, Swanendael, established by the Dutch in 1631 in present-day Lewes—will be explored in a series of programs that will take place throughout the month at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes.

“Landing of the DeVries Colony at Swaanendael, Lewes, Delaware 1631” by Stanley M. Arthurs. Courtesy of the permanent collection of the University of Delaware. Delaware’s Dutch heritage will be explored in a series of programs at the Zwaanendael Museum during April 2014.

“Landing of the DeVries Colony at Swaanendael, Lewes, Delaware 1631” by Stanley M. Arthurs. Courtesy of the permanent collection of the University of Delaware. Delaware’s Dutch heritage will be explored in a series of programs at the Zwaanendael Museum during April 2014.

From Thursday to Saturday, April 10 to 12, the museum will feature Dutch games, crafts and a display of Delftware ceramics as part of the Lewes Tulip Festival, a city-wide series of activities celebrating Lewes’ Dutch roots. On April 19, the museum will celebrate Dutch-American Friendship Day which commemorates April 19, 1782, the day that John Adams, who would later become the second president of the United States, was received by the States General in The Hague and recognized as Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America. It was also the day that the house he had purchased at Fluwelen Burgwal 18 in The Hague was to become the first American embassy in the world. Finally, on Saturday, April 26, the museum will present King’s Day, a celebration of the birthday of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

Other April highlights include “Delaware and the Underground Railroad Through Poetry,” an exploration of poetry written about the Underground Railroad by both popular and little-known poets including Thurman W. Adams of Seaford, Del. The program will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at The Old State House located at 25 The Green, in Dover. On Saturday, April 26, between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., the John Dickinson Plantation, located at 340 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover, will present Colonial Games Day in which visitors will have an opportunity to experience the fun and exercise of 18th and 19th century games including rolling hoops, ring toss and game of graces.

Rolling hoops at the John Dickinson Plantation.

Rolling hoops at the John Dickinson Plantation.

Special events at the museums of the state of Delaware, April 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014
“A Spy and a Hero: Delaware’s Allen McLane.” Lecture by historic-site interpreter Tom Welch on Allen McLane of Smyrna, Del., a hero of the American Revolution, speaker of the state House of Representatives and delegate at Delaware’s Constitution Ratification Convention. Part of the History Coffee-Hour Lecture Series. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 5:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, April 5, 2014
“An 18th Century Sweet Tooth.” Hands-on workshop in which visitors will learn how to create 18th-century sweets and goodies. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Saturday, April 5, 2014
“Delaware and the Underground Railroad Through Poetry.” Program examines poetry written about the Underground Railroad by both popular and little-known poets including Thurman W. Adams of Seaford, Del. 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. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, April 5, 2014
“The Environment in Colonial Delaware.” Lecture by historic-site interpreter Alan Roth. Held in commemoration of Earth Day. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Program at 2 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than April 2, 2014.

Saturday, April 5 and Friday, April 18, 2014 “1904 Fire at the Camden Plant.” Guided tours focus on the fire that devastated the Victor Talking Machine Company’s Camden, N.J. plant in 1904, and the changes in safety and manufacturing that resulted from the tragedy. Tours will also feature a special blend of vintage recordings 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. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, April 5 and Friday, April 18, 2014 “An Illegal Activity.” Utilizing the exhibit “An Illegal Activity: The Underground Railroad in Delaware” as a backdrop, guided tours will explore Delaware’s crucial role in the Underground Railroad and on two Delaware leaders who aided in this “freedom enterprise.” First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, Delaware Public Archives building, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dover. Tours at 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. on April 5; 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. on April 18. 302-744-5055.

Thursday, April 10, 2014
“Last Call: The Early Temperance Movement in Delaware.” Lecture by Nancy Gardner on the movement which sought to reduce or prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Part of the History Coffee-Hour Lecture Series. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 5:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Thursday–Saturday, April 10-12, 2014
Lewes Tulip Festival. City-wide series of activities celebrating Lewes’ Dutch heritage including Dutch games, crafts and a display of Delftware ceramics at the Zwaanendael Museum. Sponsored by the Lewes Chamber of Commerce. Downtown Lewes. 302-645-8073.

Saturday, April 12, 2014
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.–3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Thursday, April 17, 2014
“Murder and Mayhem: The Borders of Delaware.” Lecture by Brian Cannon, lead historic-site interpreter at the New Castle Court House Museum, on Delaware’s unique arched boundary and the factors that created a lawless environment near the state’s ambiguous borders with Pennsylvania and Maryland. Part of the History Coffee-Hour Lecture Series. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 5:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

 Friday, April 18, 2014
“Freedom Tours.” Special guided tours focus on the unique stories of freedom and equality that impacted Delaware citizens. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, April 19, 2014
Dutch-American Friendship Day. Discover Delaware’s Dutch roots and learn how that connection is alive today. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Saturday, April 19, 2014
Earth Day at the John Dickinson Plantation. Explore the natural beauty at the home of the “Penman of the Revolution” and enjoy tours of the colonial-revival garden and the kitchen herb-and-vegetable garden. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Activities 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Saturday, April 26, 2014
King’s Day. Celebration of the birthday of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands including the presentation “From Koninginnedag to Koningsdag: A Transition in the Dutch Royal House of Orange” at 2 p.m. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Saturday, April 26, 2014
Colonial Games Day at the John Dickinson Plantation. Experience the fun and exercise of 18th and 19th century games. Enjoy rolling hoops, ring toss and game of graces. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Activities 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Harriet Tubman Day in Delaware proclaimed

March 10th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

Governor Jack Markell has issued a proclamation declaring March 10, 2014 as Harriet Tubman Day in Delaware in commemoration of the 101st anniversary of the death of the noted Underground Railroad conductor. The proclamation was delivered by Chief Deputy Secretary of State Rick Geisenberger in a March 6, 2014 ceremony at Dover’s Old State House.

Harriet Tubman (as portrayed by Delores Blakey) holding a copy of the Harriet Tubman Day proclamation. Behind her are (from left) Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Director Tim Slavin; the Rev. Rita Mishoe Paige, pastor of Star Hill African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dover; Ann Gravatt from the Delaware Department of Transportation; Chief Deputy Secretary of State Rick Geisenberger; and state Rep. Donald Blakey.

Harriet Tubman (as portrayed by Delores Blakey) holding a copy of the Harriet Tubman Day proclamation. Behind her are (from left) Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Director Tim Slavin; the Rev. Rita Mishoe Paige, pastor of Star Hill African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dover; Ann Gravatt from the Delaware Department of Transportation; Chief Deputy Secretary of State Rick Geisenberger; and state Rep. Donald Blakey.

Born a slave in 1820, Harriet Tubman is probably the most well-known figure on the Underground Railroad. She is credited with personally escorting over 300 slaves to freedom on more than 20 separate trips through Maryland and Delaware. These escapes included her own from a Dorchester County, Md. farm in 1849.

Tubman was an abolitionist, humanitarian and Union spy during the Civil War. Her 100 percent success rate in helping slaves escape to freedom made her a legend throughout the country. She is documented as traveling through Sussex and Kent counties in Delaware with the aid of local black families, and she frequently collaborated with noted abolitionist Thomas Garrett of Wilmington. Their role is featured prominently in the exhibit An Illegal Activity: The Underground Railroad in Delaware” which is currently on display at the First State Heritage Welcome Center and Galleries in Dover. After the war, Tubman settled in Auburn, N.Y. and died there on March 10, 1913. This date is now celebrated nationally as Harriet Tubman Day.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

In addition to comments by Geisenberger, the Harriet Tubman Day proclamation ceremony included an invocation by the Rev. Rita Mishoe Paige, pastor of Star Hill African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dover; reflections by state Rep. Donald Blakey; and comments by Ann Gravatt from the Delaware Department of Transportation who discussed the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a series of Delaware roads that follow routes Tubman utilized when leading slaves from captivity in Maryland, through Delaware, to relative freedom in Pennsylvania. The ceremony was hosted by Tim Slavin, director of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Highlights of the program included musical performances by the Interdenominational Chorus of Dover and by students from St. John’s Lutheran School; and a special appearance by Harriet Tubman (as portrayed by historical interpreter Delores Blakey) who received the proclamation certificate from Geisenberger.

In his comments, Geisenberger reflected on the words of the nation’s Pledge of Allegiance, noting that there was a time, not long ago, when “liberty and justice for all” was denied to Americans of African descent, and that the words of the pledge were only fully realized through the tireless efforts of heroes such as Harriet Tubman. Commenting on her 100 percent success rate as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Tubman (as portrayed by Blakey) noted, “I never had a train go off the track and I never lost a passenger.”

Call for papers: “The Early Colonial Delaware Valley—An Archaeological and Historical Symposium”

February 24th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the Archaeological Society of Delaware, is seeking informal, interdisciplinary presentations on archaeology and cultures of the Delaware Valley which will be presented at “The Early Colonial Delaware Valley—An Archaeological and Historical Symposium” that will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at the New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., in New Castle, Del.

Now in its seventh year, the symposium is dedicated to building a regional-level dialog that can identify the uniqueness of the cultures that existed in the Delaware Valley during the early period of European colonization. Persons interested in making a presentation at the symposium should submit an abstract no later than April 25, 2014.

Admission to the symposium is free and open to the public. To submit an abstract or to make a reservation to attend the symposium, contact Craig Lukezic at craig.lukezic@state.de.us or call 302-736-7407.

Albertus Del Orient Browere, “Recruiting Peter Stuyvesant's Army for the Recapture of Fort Casimir,” 1838. Photo courtesy of the Biggs Museum of American Art.

Albertus Del Orient Browere, “Recruiting Peter Stuyvesant’s Army for the Recapture of Fort Casimir,” 1838. Photo courtesy of the Biggs Museum of American Art.

National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week in Washington, D.C., March 3-6, 2014

February 24th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

Historic preservationists from across the country will meet in Washington, D.C. from March 3 to 6, 2014 for National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week, an annual gathering that promotes sound federal preservation policy and programs. Sponsored by Preservation Action and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, activities will include sessions on key preservation-related issues capped off by visits to Capitol Hill for meetings with members of Congress.

National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week logo

Division releases 2013 annual report

February 21st, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

“Planning for the Future, Striving for Excellence: Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Annual Report 2013”The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs recently released its 2013 annual report which spotlights the agency’s significant long-range planning activities and its commitment to the highest standards of integrity and quality in service to the community. Go to the following to read the full report: “Planning for the Future, Striving for Excellence: Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Annual Report 2013.”