Division honored with prestigious History in Progress Award

October 15th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

The American Association for State and Local History has presented a prestigious History in Progress Award to the Delaware Historical Society and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs for their collaborative exhibit “Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980.” The award, a component of the association’s Leadership in History Awards program, is presented for projects that are highly inspirational; exhibit exceptional scholarship; and/or are exceedingly entrepreneurial in terms of funding, partnerships or collaborations, creative problem-solving or unusual project design, and inclusiveness. Only four projects in the entire nation were honored with the award in 2014.

Presentation of the History in Progress Award for the exhibit “Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980.” From left are Bob Beatty, interim president and chief executive officer of the American Association for State and Local History; Constance J. Cooper, chief curator of the Delaware Historical Society; Marian Carpenter, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs curator of collections management; and Lynne Ireland, deputy director of the Nebraska State Historical Society and immediate-past chairperson of the American Association for State and Local History.

Presentation of the History in Progress Award for the exhibit “Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980.” From left are Bob Beatty, interim president and chief executive officer of the American Association for State and Local History; Constance J. Cooper, chief curator of the Delaware Historical Society; Marian Carpenter, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs curator of collections management; and Lynne Ireland, deputy director of the Nebraska State Historical Society and immediate-past chairperson of the American Association for State and Local History.

“Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980” explored the faith experiences of Delaware’s black community and its contributions to the development of religion in the United States including a commemoration of the bicentennial of the African Union Methodist tradition and the August Quarterly, the nation’s oldest African-American religious festival.

Section of the exhibit “Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980.”

Section of the exhibit “Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980.”

On-display from Sept. 27, 2013 to June 14, 2014 at the Delaware History Museum, a unit of the Delaware Historical Society located at 504 N. Market St. in Wilmington, Del., the exhibit was created through a partnership between the society’s curatorial staff, which researched and wrote the exhibit narrative and organized loans of exhibited objects; and the division’s Collections, Affiliates, Research and Exhibits (CARE) Team which designed, fabricated and installed the exhibit. Go to the following to view the exhibit online.

History in Progress Award for the exhibit “Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980.”

History in Progress Award for the exhibit “Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980.”

The American Association for State and Local History initiated the Leadership in History Awards program in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation and interpretation of state and local history throughout America. In 2014, the association conferred 77 national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, books and organizations.

In addition to the History in Progress award, the “Forging Faith” exhibit was honored with an Award of Merit which recognizes excellence in history programs, projects and people when compared with similar activities nationwide. The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs was also the recipient of an Award of Merit for the “The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World,” a multi-dimensional interpretive program on the British warship that sank off the coast of Delaware in the late 18th century.

Visitors enjoying a tour of the DeBraak hull as part of program “The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World.”

Visitors enjoying a tour of the DeBraak hull as part of program “The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World.”

In addition to its three Leadership in History awards, the division was also recognized as a graduate of the association’s StEPs program (Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations) which helps small- and mid-sized history museums assess policies and practices, manage daily operations and plan for the future.

All of the honors noted above were conferred during the American Association for State and Local History’s awards banquet which took place in St. Paul, Minn. on Sept. 19, 2014. Constance J. Cooper, chief curator of the Delaware Historical Society, and Marian Carpenter, the division’s curator of collections management, accepted honors on behalf of their respective organizations.

Division to offer 17 free programs during November 2014

October 9th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

During the month of November 2014, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be offering 17 special programs at the state of Delaware’s 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.

House chamber in Dover, Del.’s Old State House. The venerable structure will be explored in “The People’s House” programs on Nov. 4 and 11, 2014. Photo by Don Pearse Photographers.

House of Representatives chamber in Dover, Del.’s Old State House. The venerable structure will be explored in “The People’s House” programs on Nov. 4 and 11, 2014. Photo by Don Pearse Photographers.

In honor of Election Day, The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, will present “The People’s House,”guided tours that explore the significance of The Old State House and the many state and county governmental functions that were conducted there between 1791 and 1933. Tours will take place between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Nov. 4 and 11.

On Saturday, Nov. 15, the John Dickinson Plantation, located at 340 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover, will present two candle-making workshops. In partnership with the St. Jones Reserve, the plantation will present a bayberry-candle workshop from 10 a.m. to noon. Reservations for this workshop are required by calling the St. Jones Reserve at 302-739-3436. Between 1 and 3 p.m., the plantation will present “Light Me Up!,” a workshop on candle dipping and discussion of lighting devices of the 18th century. Reservations for this program are required by calling 302-739-3277 no later than Nov. 14.

Hand-dipped candles at the John Dickinson Plantation. The plantation will offer candle-making workshops on Nov. 15, 2014.

Hand-dipped candles at the John Dickinson Plantation. The plantation will offer candle-making workshops on Nov. 15, 2014.

Finally, on Saturday, Nov. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, will present Dutch-American Heritage Day, a series of activities exploring the contributions that the Dutch have made to the economic, social, political and cultural life of Delaware and the United States. At 2 p.m., the museum will present a lecture by Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs archaeologist Craig Lukezic exploring Dutch colonial activities in Delaware.

“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 the Dutch-American Heritage Day program at the Zwaanendael Museum on Nov. 15, 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 the Dutch-American Heritage Day program at the Zwaanendael Museum on Nov. 15, 2014.

Administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the six museums of the State of Delaware—the New Castle Court House Museum, the John Dickinson Plantation, the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, The Old State House, the Johnson Victrola Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum—tell the story of the First State’s contributions to the history and culture of the United States. Through displays, exhibits and special programs, the museums explore how the state’s distinctive physical environment, in combination with the people who came to live there, gave Delaware an identity that is different from any other place.

Special events, November 2014
Note: Recent program changes are highlighted in yellow.

Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014
“Man’s Best Friend.” Guided tours explore one of the most celebrated canines in the world—Nipper, the dog who adorns the Victor trademark, “His Masters Voice.” Programs will also include original Victor 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.

Nipper, the dog in the Victor Talking Machine Company logo, will be featured in the “Man’s Best Friend” program at the Johnson Victrola Museum on Nov. 1, 2014.

Nipper, the dog in the Victor Talking Machine Company logo, will be featured in the “Man’s Best Friend” program at the Johnson Victrola Museum on Nov. 1, 2014.

Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014
“18th Century Market Fair.” Programs explore an era when The Green served as the focal point of life in Dover as historical interpreters explore the goods, wares and political attitudes of the 1700s. The Old State House will celebrate the fair with special tours and appearances by historical re-enactors. Sponsored by the First State Heritage Park. The Green, Dover. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 302-739-9194.

Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, and Tuesdays, Nov. 4 and 11, 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. 302-744-5055.

Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014
“Swing.” In celebration of Election Day, guests will be treated to the sounds of Swing music as recorded by Victor Records on 78-rpm disks and played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Tuesdays, Nov. 4 and 11, 2014
“The People’s House.” In honor of Election Day, guided tours will explore the significance of The Old State House and the many state and county governmental functions that were conducted there between 1791 and 1933. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Thursdays, Nov. 6, 13 and 20, 2014
John Dickinson’s Birthday Month. Visitors celebrate the birth of John Dickinson by helping to make a great cake and decorate it using royal icing and shaped marzipan. 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, Nov. 8, 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, Nov. 8, 2014
“Delaware’s Decades—the 1970s: ‘Coastal Zone Act of 1971.’ ” Program description TBA. Lecture by Kevin Coyle, principal planner for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, on the landmark state-legislation that limited industrial development in Delaware’s coastal areas. Part five of an eight-part series exploring decades in Delaware’s history. 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 Nov. 6, 2014. Note additional program info.

Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014
“The Victors of World War I: The Power of Music.” In celebration of Veterans Day, this lively program will examine music’s influence during World War I when patriotic songs were being composed throughout America. Hear 78-rpm recordings of this inspirational music played on authentic Victor Talking Machines, and explore how the Victor Talking Machine Company’s Camden, N.J. factory led the fight to make the world safe for democracy. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014
Candle-making workshops. Bayberry-candle workshop from 10 a.m.–noon examines bayberries and their use in creating bayberry candles. Presented in partnership with the St. Jones Reserve. Reservations required by calling the St. Jones Reserve at 302-739-3436. “Light Me Up!” workshop on candle dipping and discussion of lighting devices of the 18th century from 1–3 p.m. Reservations required by calling 302-739-3277 no later than Nov. 14. Museum also open for visitation 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover.

Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014
Dutch-American Heritage Day. Learn about the contributions that the Dutch have made to the economic, social, political and cultural life of Delaware and the United States. Program will include a lecture by Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs archaeologist Craig Lukezic. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Lecture at 2 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014
“Handmade for the Holidays.” Seasonal program in which visitors can learn to create and decorate cards through the art of paper quilling and stenciling, and write a personal note with a quill pen. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11–2:30 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.


Millsboro’s Burton-Blackstone-Carey Store added to the National Register of Historic Places

September 29th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

On Sept. 19, 2014, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs received notification from the National Park Service that the Burton-Blackstone-Carey Store in Millsboro has been officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the United States government’s official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation.

Burton-Blackstone-Carey Store in 2012.

Burton-Blackstone-Carey Store in 2012.

Located at 103 S. State St., the two-story, rectangular frame-structure, built circa 1840 in the vernacular Greek-Revival style, is Millsboro’s oldest–known commercial building with intact historic fabric. Over its 170-year history, it has housed a wide variety of businesses including a dry-goods store, a drug store, a finance company and a paint store. It currently serves as a custom frame-shop operated by Beatrice Carey.

The structure features an unusual hooded corner-entrance, original rectangular-bay display windows with decorative lambs-tongue and chamfered wooden trim on the cross pieces of the shop windows and original two-light double-door entrance with paneled bases and a molded header surmounted by a two-light transom. Other noteworthy architectural features include its original clapboards located beneath the recently added metal sheathing, a 19th century board-and-batten door with iron strap hinges, wide pine floor-boards located on the second floor and original mortise-and-tenon roof rafters.

During the mid-1800s, the building was owned by Benjamin Burton, the town’s wealthiest resident and the largest-known slave owner in Delaware. Burton is noted for accompanying Delaware Congressman George Fisher to Washington, D.C. in 1861 for a meeting with President Abraham Lincoln in which they discussed plans for the compensated emancipation of the state’s slaves.

Burton-Blackstone-Carey Store, circa 1900.

Burton-Blackstone-Carey Store, circa 1900.

Originally situated at the corner of State and Main streets, the Burton-Blackstone-Carey Store was moved approximately 50 feet down State Street in 1918 to accommodate the construction of a masonry bank for the Delaware Trust Company. The repositioned building, owned by Maud and Earnest Blackstone, served as Millsboro’s local drug store for decades. Between 1918 and 1929, the Blackstones added a one-story lean-to addition and established an ice cream parlor in the back room. Ernest Blackstone later entered public service and was sworn in as Delaware’s state treasurer on Dec. 26, 1936.

 

Oliver Berliner, grandson of the inventor of the phonograph, to speak at the Johnson Victrola Museum

September 29th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

Visitors will have a unique opportunity to learn about the volatile, behind-the-scenes events that culminated in the creation of the recorded-music industry during the program “Pioneers in the Music Industry: Emile Berliner” that will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 at the Johnson Victrola Museum, located at 375 S. New St. in Dover, Del. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-744-5055.

Oliver Berliner upon accepting his grandfather’s 2nd Grammy Award, January 2014. Photo courtesy NARAS. Berliner will speak at the Johnson Victrola Museum on Oct. 4, 2014.

Oliver Berliner upon accepting his grandfather’s 2nd Grammy Award, January 2014. Photo courtesy NARAS. Berliner will speak at the Johnson Victrola Museum on Oct. 4, 2014.

Oliver Berliner, Emile Berliner’s only descendent who has worked in the music business, will make a rare appearance as guest speaker for the program which honors his grandfather, inventor of the microphone and the disc-record player, which he named the gramophone, but which Americans call the phonograph. Emile Berliner is the recipient of two Grammy Awards: a Trustees Award in 1987 and a Technical Award in 2014.

Emile Berliner

Emile Berliner

Like his grandfather, Oliver’s interests are in both engineering and artistic endeavors. He holds two patents; has created broadcast products that were mass-produced by Panasonic, Electrohome, Leader Instruments and Hitachi; has authored two books; and has published over 200 articles on music, audio and video.

He is also a leading publisher of Cuban music, controlling among other hits, the world’s two most famous “chachachas” which have appeared in countless television shows, movies, radio and television commercials. During his Johnson Victrola Museum talk, Berliner will reveal music business secrets for which even historians and scholars are unaware.

Early version of a Berliner flat-disk, sound-reproduction machine.

Early version of a Berliner flat-disk, sound-reproduction machine.

 


History was made here: Cooch-Dayett Mills

September 25th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

A spotlight on one of the more than 40 historic properties owned by the state of Delaware and administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Photo of Cooch-Dayett Mills, circa 1910.

Photo of Cooch-Dayett Mills, circa 1910.

On Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the Delaware Nature Society will host a one-day-only open house at Cooch-Dayett Mills, a historic water-powered grist mill located at 904 Old Baltimore Pike in Newark, Del. The program will feature the public unveiling of a six-foot, multilevel, operational model of the mill, as well as tours of the facility’s main floor where visitors can view the actual machinery that processed corn and wheat from nearby farms into cornmeal and flour. Outdoor tours of the property will provide information on how water from the Christina River was used to power the mill. Admission for all activities is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-239-2334.

Flour-bagging machinery inside Cooch-Dayett Mills.

Flour-bagging machinery inside Cooch-Dayett Mills.

Built in the 1830s by William Cooch, the facility operated as a commercial grist mill until the early 1990s. It was acquired by the state of Delaware in 1996 and is administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs which, in turn, leases it to the Delaware Nature Society for the provision of educational programs. For additional information on the mill, go to the following blog by the Delaware Nature Society: Cooch-Dayett Mills: Discovering Delaware History Through Partnerships.

In addition to its partnership with the Delaware Nature Society, the division leases a barn on the Cooch-Dayett Mills property to the Pencader Heritage Area Association for use as a museum that spotlights the history of the Pencader Hundred area of northern New Castle County, Del. Museum exhibits include pictures and memorabilia of the Cooch family, artifacts and information regarding the history of Cooch-Dayett Mills, Native American artifacts and information on Revolutionary War activities in the area including the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge. In recent years, the association has added several flagpoles and educational signs on the Cooch-Dayett Mills grounds which help to tell the story of this important location in Delaware history.

pencader Heritage Museum

Pencader Heritage Museum

Educational signs at the Pencader Heritage Museum help to tell the history of the Cooch’s Bridge Historic District.

Educational signs at the Pencader Heritage Museum help to tell the history of the Cooch’s Bridge Historic District.

About the Cooch’s Bridge Historic District …

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the Cooch’s Bridge Historic District is a complex of historic structures and sites around Cooch’s Bridge which is located on Old Baltimore Pike just west of Route 72, in Newark, Del. The district includes houses, mills, dams and sites associated with more than two and a half centuries of industrial development including the location of one of the earliest iron furnaces in America, as well as the site of the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge (1777), the only battle of the American Revolutionary War fought on Delaware soil. The division maintains a monument to the battle along Old Baltimore Pike just west of the present-day Cooch’s Bridge. In 1781, American and French armies, under Generals Washington and Rochambeau, passed through what is now the district on their way to Virginia where they were engaged in the Battle of Yorktown, the decisive battle of the American Revolution. The 680-mile trip from Rhode Island to Virginia is commemorated in the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail.

Cooch's Bridge battle monument

Cooch’s Bridge battle monument

For additional information on the Cooch’s Bridge Historic District, go to its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

For additional information on iron mining and smelting in the Cooch’s Bridge area, go to the Iron Hill Museum website.

 

 

“Stealing Freedom Along the Mason Dixon Line: The Story of Elkton Slave Catcher and Kidnapper Thomas McCreary”

September 23rd, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

On Monday, Oct. 27, 2014 at 6:30 p.m., the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware will present “Stealing Freedom Along the Mason Dixon Line: The Story of Elkton Slave Catcher and Kidnapper Thomas McCreary,” a lecture by historian and author Milt Diggins. The lecture, which will take place at the Hockessin Friends Meetinghouse located at 1501 Old Wilmington Road in Hockessin, Del., is one of four program-meetings that the coalition presents annually throughout the state. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information about the program, call Debra Martin of the coalition at 302-576-3107.

Milt Diggins

Milt Diggins

Retired educator Milt Diggins has served as a member of the board of trustees of the Historical Society of Cecil County and as editor of that organization’s publication, the Cecil Historical Journal. He is the author of the book “Images of America: Cecil County.”

About Thomas McCreary …
Thomas McCreary’s notoriety as a slave hunter surfaced in 1849 and peaked a few years after the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. His most famous kidnappings occurred in Chester County, Md. in December 1851. McCreary’s story illustrates the controversies over slave catching, kidnapping and the underlying slavery debate prior to the Civil War. Proslavery advocates viewed McCreary as a courageous upholder of property rights who refused to get bogged down in states that interfered with recovering defiant property. Maryland politicians esteemed and protected McCreary as a slave catcher, a paladin acting on behalf of respectable slaveholders, but Pennsylvania authorities and citizens denounced him as a villain. Some citizens in the slave states of Maryland and Delaware agreed. They saw him an as an opportunist void of compassion, a slave catcher and a kidnapper unconcerned with the difference between the two activities. Abolitionist Thomas Garrett and the editors of the Blue Hen’s Chicken newspaper spoke out against his activities and his involvement with kidnappings in Delaware. These Delaware connections will be highlighted in Diggins’ Oct. 27 presentation.

Established in 2002, the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization comprised of private and government organizations and individuals dedicated to sharing the profound stories of the people who escaped from slavery and those in Delaware who assisted them in seeking freedom. To this end, the group provides a forum for gathering and encouraging research; linking local, regional and national resources; and sharing information with the public. The coalition also promotes the preservation of Underground Railroad sites in the state so that future generations may experience the power of these genuine historic places. Staff members of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs serve as members of the coalition.

 

“The Civil Rights Movement in Delaware: Its History—Its Legacy”

September 19th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

Fifty years after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Delaware State University and the Delaware Historical Society are partnering to sponsor a two-day symposium examining the history of the civil rights movement in Delaware and the nation.

“The Civil Rights Movement in Delaware: Its History—Its Legacy” will take place on the campus of Delaware State University in Dover, Del. on Oct 2 and 3, 2014. Highlights of the symposium include the keynote address on Oct. 2 by Dr. Dorothy Cotton who was the education director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a member of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s executive staff. She was present in Stockholm when King received the Nobel Peace Prize and at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis when King was assassinated. On Oct. 3, Dr. Brett Gadsden, a professor of history at Emory University and a former Delawarean will speak on public-school desegregation in Delaware. The symposium will be accompanied by a special exhibition of art and photographs reflecting the civil rights movement in Delaware.

Admission to the symposium is free and open to the public but registration is required. For more information, or to register, go to “The Civil Rights Movement in Delaware: Its History—Its Legacy” or call 302-655-7161.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (seated, center) with staff members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Dr. Dorothy Cotton is seated on the right. Cotton will be the keynote speaker at the symposium, “The Civil Rights Movement in Delaware: Its History—Its Legacy,” on Oct. 2, 2014.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (seated, center) with staff members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Dr. Dorothy Cotton is seated on the right. Cotton will be the keynote speaker at the symposium, “The Civil Rights Movement in Delaware: Its History—Its Legacy,” on Oct. 2, 2014.

 

 

 

“Emeline Hawkins: Her Journey from Slavery to Freedom on the Underground Railroad” at the New Castle Court House Museum

September 16th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

The New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del., is currently featuring “Emeline Hawkins: Her Journey from Slavery to Freedom on the Underground Railroad,” an exhibit that chronicles the compelling story of Emeline Hawkins and her family, and their 1845 odyssey on the Underground Railroad from slavery in Maryland, through Delaware, to freedom in Pennsylvania. The exhibit shines a spotlight on the roles played by noted Delawareans of the Underground Railroad including “conductor” Samuel Burris, who led the Hawkins family out of Maryland into Delaware; and “stationmasters” Thomas Garrett and John Hunn, who sheltered the family and aided their escape into Pennsylvania. The exhibit also examines the famous federal trial at the New Castle Court House in 1848 which resulted in the conviction of Hunn and Garrett on charges of violating the Federal Fugitive Slave Act.

Section of the exhibit "Emeline Hawkins: Her Journey from Slavery to Freedom on the Underground Railroad."

Section of the exhibit “Emeline Hawkins: Her Journey from Slavery to Freedom on the Underground Railroad.”

Between June 1 and Sept. 30, 2014, operating hours at the New Castle Court House Museum are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Sunday, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. At other times, the museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Sunday, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-323-4453.

New Castle Court House Museum

New Castle Court House Museum

Exhibit at Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts features Victor-related items from the state’s collections

September 16th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has recently loaned several Victor Talking Machine Company-related items to the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts. The items—which include two table-top Victrolas, a recording horn, a metal  advertising-sign made in the shape of a record, one side of a Victor shipping crate and a sound-box board—will be featured in the exhibit “Sounds of Camden” that will be on display from Oct. 6 to Dec. 18, 2014 in the Stedman Gallery, Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, 314 Linden St., in Camden, N.J.

Victrola VV 1-70 from the collections of the state of Delaware. The machine is featured in the exhibit "Sounds of Camden."

Victrola VV 1-70 from the collections of the state of Delaware. The machine is featured in the exhibit “Sounds of Camden.”

Sounds of Camden” will explore the city through its music, poetry and voices from past to present. The exhibit will present examples of Victrolas and phonographs built at the Victor Talking Machine Company factory which was located in the city, as well as visual memorabilia, artifacts and recordings from the company’s vast playlist. The exhibit will also present live performances and recordings that carry historical and contemporary sounds of Camden including poetry by the 19th-century Camden resident Walt Whitman; music recorded in the city; and contemporary compositions, poetry and recorded oral-history.

Metal  advertising-sign made in the shape of a record. From the collections of the state of Delaware.

Metal advertising-sign made in the shape of a record. From the collections of the state of Delaware.

Core components of the state of Delaware’s collection of Victor-related items are displayed at the Johnson Victrola Museum in Dover. The museum highlights the life and achievements of Delaware’s native son, Eldridge Reeves Johnson, founder of the Victor Talking Machine Company. Through phonographs, memorabilia, trademarks, objects and paintings, the museum showcases Johnson, his company and the development of the sound-recording industry.

Panel from a Victor Talking Machine Company shipping crate. From the collections of the state of Delaware.

Panel from a Victor Talking Machine Company shipping crate. From the collections of the state of Delaware.

Curated by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the collections of the state of Delaware help to preserve, and hold in public trust, a record of Delaware’s heritage by acquiring objects made in Delaware or used by Delawareans throughout history.

Division to offer 10 free programs during October 2014

September 15th, 2014 by Jim Yurasek

During the month of October 2014, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be offering 10 special programs at the state of Delaware’s 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.

Cast of “The Trial of William Penn.” The historical-theatre production will be presented at the New Castle Court House Museum on Oct. 25, 2014.

Cast of “The Trial of William Penn.” The historical-theatre production will be presented at the New Castle Court House Museum on Oct. 25, 2014.

On Saturday, Oct. 25, between 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., the New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, will present “William Penn Day,” a day-long series of activities commemorating Penn’s Oct. 27, 1682 disembarkment at New Castle, his first landing in the New World. Activities will include a re-enactment of the Livery of Seizen ritual in which Penn received possession of New Castle and a 12-mile circle of land surrounding it; “Tea With Mrs. Penn”; a performance by De Blokfluiters recorder/flute ensemble; and “The Trial of William Penn,” a historical play exploring Penn’s trial on religious freedom and the rights of English subjects under the law.

On Saturday, Oct. 4 at 2:30 p.m., the Johnson Victrola Museum, located at 375 S. New St.in Dover, will present “Pioneers in the Music Industry: Emile Berliner,” a program featuring Oliver Berliner, grandson of inventor Emile Berliner, who will discuss his grandfather’s life, his inventions (including the gramophone) and his major contributions to society.

Emile Berliner, inventor of the disk-record gramophone. Oliver Berliner will be speaking about his grandfather at the Johnson Victrola Museum on Oct. 4, 2014.

Emile Berliner, inventor of the disk-record gramophone. Oliver Berliner will be speaking about his grandfather at the Johnson Victrola Museum on Oct. 4, 2014.

Finally, on Saturday, Oct. 11, between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., the John Dickinson Plantation, located at 340 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover, will be alive with music, food, hands-on activities and entertainment during the program “A Day in the Life of the John Dickinson Plantation.”Featured performers will be theSwordmasters who will be demonstrating Colonial muskets and rifles, and giving fencing presentations.

Hearth cooking and other Colonial-era activities will be explored in the “Day in the Life of the John Dickinson Plantation” program on Oct. 11, 2014.

Hearth cooking and other Colonial-era activities will be explored in the “Day in the Life of the John Dickinson Plantation” program on Oct. 11, 2014.

Administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the six museums of the State of Delaware—the New Castle Court House Museum, the John Dickinson Plantation, the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, The Old State House, the Johnson Victrola Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum—tell the story of the First State’s contributions to the history and culture of the United States. Through displays, exhibits and special programs, the museums explore how the state’s distinctive physical environment, in combination with the people who came to live there, gave Delaware an identity that is different from any other place.

Special events, October 2014
Note: Recent program changes are highlighted in yellow.

Saturday, Oct. 4 2014
“The Declaration of Independence.” Guided tours focus on the document in which the newly born United States declared its independence from Great Britain, and the Delaware signers who made this one of the most important documents in American history. First Saturday in the First State program. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, Oct. 4, 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 Saturday in the First State program. 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 3:30 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055. Note change in program time.

Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014
River Towns Ride and Festival. Festivals in historic New Castle and Delaware City frame a bicycling event between the two cities. Family-oriented festival held from Noon–5 p.m. at the New Castle Court House Museum and The Green in New Castle will feature music, rides, attractions, games, tours, vendors, craft beers, food and drink. 302-323-4453.

Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014
“His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak.” Held in conjunction with Lewes’ annual Boast the Coast festival, the event will feature a day-long slate of maritime-history and -archaeology activities including block-and-tackle demonstrations and a 2 p.m. presentation on the DeBraak shipwreck. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014
“Pioneers in the Music Industry: Emile Berliner.” Guided tours explore the first pioneers in the music industry including the inventors of talking machines as well as early recording artists. Oliver Berliner, grandson of inventor Emile Berliner, will discuss his grandfather’s life, his inventions (including the gramophone) and his major contributions to society.First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Program at 2:30 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055. Note change in program description and time.

Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014
“A Day in the Life of the John Dickinson Plantation.” Visitors of all ages will enjoy a day of music, food, entertainment and hands-on activities from Colonial trades to hearth cooking in the 18th-century setting of the home of the “Penman of the Revolution.” The featured performers will be the Swordmasters demonstrating Colonial muskets and rifles, and giving fencing demonstrations. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277. Note program addition.

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014
“Lantern Tours of the Plantation.” Programs explore the parties, games, dances and entertainment that would have abounded at the plantation during the nighttime in the 18th century. Activities will also include wagon-ride guided-tours conducted by staff of the St. Jones Reserve exploring the nocturnal life of the estuary. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Programs 6–7 p.m. and 7:30–8:30 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-739-3277.

Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014
William Penn Day. Series of programs commemorating the 332nd anniversary of Penn’s disembarkment at New Castle, his first landing in the New World. Activities at the New Castle Court House and The Green include a re-enactment of the Livery of Seizen ritual in which Penn received possession of New Castle and a 12-mile circle of land surrounding it; “Tea With Mrs. Penn”; a performance by De Blokfluiters recorder/flute ensemble; “The Trial of William Penn,” a historical play exploring Penn’s trial on religious freedom and the rights of English subjects under the law; and an evening concert of Baroque music by the Immanuel Bach Consort by the University of Delaware Baroque Chamber Ensemble. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. 302-323-4453. Note programming change.

Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014
“An 18th-Century Sweet Tooth.” Hands-on workshop in which visitors can learn how to create 18th-century sweets and goodies. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014
“Mysteries of History.” Walking tour explores the unusual tombstones of St. Peter’s cemetery in Lewes. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Tour leaves from the museum at 2 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.