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  Archived Posts From: 2016

Woodburn lit up in blue and green in honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Written on: February 24th, 2016 in Historic SitesNews

On Feb. 23, 2016, Woodburn, the governor’s official residence in Dover, Del. was lit up in blue and green in honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, an annual campaign sponsored by the National Eating Disorders Association to bring public attention to the critical needs of people with eating disorders and their families.

Woodburn lit up for Natitional Eating Disorders Awareness Month 2016.

Woodburn lit up for Natitional Eating Disorders Awareness Month 2016.

The theme of the association’s 2016 campaign is “3 Minutes Can Save a Life: Get Screened. Get Help. Get Healthy” which focuses on early detection and intervention. As part of the campaign, the association has partnered with Screening for Mental Health, Inc. to develop a confidential online eating disorders screening which takes as little as three minutes to complete, and from which participants can learn if it’s time to seek professional help.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder and 30 million Americans will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. According to Claire Mysko, the association’s interim chief executive officer, “eating disorders can hide in plain sight and frequently go undiagnosed until someone’s health is at significant risk. These are life-threatening bio-psycho-social illnesses, not a ‘lifestyle choice.’ It’s time to get beyond the stigma and stereotypes and recognize the diverse experiences of people affected by disordered eating. Early intervention is a critical first step toward ending this epidemic, and everyone who is struggling deserves to be able to access help without delay to provide them the best chance possible of full recovery.”


In support of the campaign, Gov. Jack Markell noted, “”Too many people suffering from these disorders, suffer in silence. Bringing awareness to disordered eating is vital to support these individuals and their families to overcome their challenges and thrive.”

Located at 151 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., Woodburn is one of Delaware’s most historic homes and an outstanding example of late-18th-century Georgian architecture. The house was built in 1798 by Charles Hillyard, III (1759–1814), a fourth-generation Delawarean from a family of affluent landowners who were frequently active in the governmental, social and economic life of Kent County. Woodburn has served as the home of Delaware’s governor since it was purchased by the state in 1965. It was listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has been responsible for the care and conservation of Woodburn since August 2009. The division’s charge includes repair and maintenance of the building; design and upkeep of the property’s garden and horticultural displays; and furnishing of the home.



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“Delaware and the War of 1812” exhibit to close on March 19, 2016

Written on: February 22nd, 2016 in ExhibitsMuseumsNews

EXHIBIT CLOSED on March 19, 2016

Sunday, March 19, 2016 marks the last chance for visitors to enjoy the exhibit “Delaware and the War of 1812.” The exhibit, on display at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del. has been open since Dec. 1, 2012. Operating hours through the closing of the exhibit are Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Illustration of a Congreve rocket barge from the exhibit “Delaware and the War of 1812.” Congreve rockets were used by the British in the bombardment of Lewes in 1813. This weapon was the inspiration for the term “rockets’ red glare” in “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Illustration of a Congreve rocket barge from the exhibit “Delaware and the War of 1812.” Congreve rockets were used by the British in the bombardment of Lewes in 1813. This weapon was the inspiration for the term “rockets’ red glare” in “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Planned and created by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, “Delaware and the War of 1812” illuminates the service and sacrifice of Delawareans during the British-American conflict that took place between 1812 and 1815, raising awareness of the important role that the state played as the front line in the defense of the economically vital Delaware Valley. The exhibit utilizes maps, illustrations and artifacts from the state’s collections to examine the history of the war within Delaware and its surrounding waters including the battle at Crow’s Shoal near the entrance of Delaware Bay and the bombardment of Lewes which both took place in 1813. Artifacts on display include muskets, swords and other weapons; ordnance; and a military drum utilized by the state militia.


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“George Washington Birthday Celebration” at Dover, Del.’s Old State House on Feb. 22, 2016 at 1 p.m.

Written on: February 18th, 2016 in EventsMuseumsNews

-Live, streaming video of Sen. Chris Coons reading Washington’s Farewell Address from the floor of the U.S. Senate to be screened at 3 p.m.-

On Monday, Feb. 22, 2016 at 1p.m., The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, Del., will present a “George Washington Birthday Celebration” featuring writings by, and about, the first president, read by historical interpreters and distinguished guests, plus a display of Washington books and memorabilia. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-744-5054.

Portrait of George Washington by Denis A. Volozan on display in the Senate chambers of The Old State House.

Portrait of George Washington by Denis A. Volozan on display in the Senate chambers of The Old State House.

Selections that will be read during the program are drawn from a wide array of letters and scholarly writings about Washington covering the entirety of his life from his youth when he was raised by a single mother to his final days at Mount Vernon. Participating readers will include Dr. Samuel Hoff, George Washington Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science at Delaware State University; Dr. Stephanie Holyfield, assistant professor of History at Wesley College; Beth Klemstine Jelich, current teacher of “Washington’s Crossing” at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware, Dover; Thomas Summers, outreach coordinator for the Delaware Public Archives; Deborah Wool, professor of Curatorial studies at Wesley College; and historical interpreters from The Old State House.

In addition to the readings, the museum will feature a display of memorabilia about Washington from the personal collection of Dr. Hoff and books from the Wesley College Washington Collection. The display will be presented in the Senate chambers of The Old State House which features an imposing portrait of George Washington by Denis A. Volozan.

As an added bonus, at 3 p.m., The Old State House will project live, streaming video of U.S. Sen. Chris Coons reading Washington’s Farewell Address from the floor of the United States Senate in Washington, D.C. Every year since 1896, the Senate has observed Washington’s birthday by selecting one of its members, alternating parties, to read the 7,641-word statement in legislative session. Coons will be the first Delaware senator to conduct the reading.

Sen. Chris Coons

Sen. Chris Coons

Completed in 1791, The Old State House is one of the earliest state-house buildings in the United States, serving as the home of Delaware’s legislature until 1933 when the General Assembly moved to larger quarters in Legislative Hall. The venerable structure now appears as it would have in the late 1700s during the United States’ critical early years as a nation. It features a courtroom, governor’s and county offices and chambers for the state’s Senate and House of Representatives. The building is situated on Dover’s historic Green, a public area designated by William Penn in 1683.

The Old State House

The Old State House

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Grantham-Edwards-McComb House added to the National Register of Historic Places

Written on: February 11th, 2016 in NewsPreservation

By Madeline Dunn, Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ historian and National Register of Historic Places coordinator.

The Grantham-Edwards-McComb House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on Jan. 19, 2016. It is a two-and-one-half-story, Federal style, brick dwelling constructed between 1804 and 1817. Located in New Castle County in a mid-20th­-century housing development known as Llangollen Estates, this historic property was listed because of its multiple areas of significance including architecture, agriculture, commerce and transportation. Though originally constructed by Isaac Grantham, it served as a tenant farm throughout most of the 19th century. During the 1830s, a Pennsylvania farmer and Quaker abolitionist named Edward Edwards purchased the property and added a brick kitchen and dining room. After the American Civil War, Col. Henry S. McComb purchased the property and constructed an additional two-story brick section. After McComb’s death in 1882, his descendants continued to own the property for more than 60 years.

Grantham-Edwards-McComb House

Grantham-Edwards-McComb House

McComb is perhaps the property’s most famous owner. As a successful farmer, owner of multiple properties in New Castle County as well as within the city of Wilmington, McComb was primarily known as a manufacturer of leather goods. Having been awarded numerous contracts by the U.S. government, McComb manufactured supplies such as tents, knapsacks, and other leather products for the Union Army during the Civil War. This native-born Delawarean also served with the 5th Delaware Infantry Regiment during the war, was garrisoned at Fort Delaware, and served guard duty on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad from Perryville to Baltimore until 1862. After the war, McComb’s interest in the battle-scarred infrastructure of railroads led him to become one of the founders of the Union Pacific Railroad. Having relocated to Mississippi, he purchased 600 acres of land and founded McComb City where he became president of the Mississippi Central Railroad and took control of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad.

Administered by the National Park Service, the National Register of Historic Places is the United States government’s official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation. A National Register listing places no obligations on private-property owners, nor does it lead to public acquisition or require public access. There are no restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer or disposition of private property. In addition, owners of historic properties listed in the National Register are eligible to apply for Delaware’s Historic Preservation Tax Credits which assists property owners in the preservation of historic buildings by providing Delaware tax credits for the substantial rehabilitation of National Register-listed properties.

The Grantham-Edwards-McComb House’s National Register nomination was prepared by graduate students from the University of Delaware’s Center for Historic Architecture and Design and was recommended for submission to the National Park Service by the New Castle County Historic Review Board as well as Delaware’s State Review Board for Historic Preservation.



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

Written on: February 9th, 2016 in ArchaeologyNews

The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the Archaeological Society of Delaware, is seeking informal, interdisciplinary presentations on the 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 7, 2016 at the New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., in New Castle, Del.

New Castle Court House

New Castle Court House

Now in its ninth 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 22, 2016.

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.

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National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week in Washington, D.C., March 8–10, 2016

Written on: February 2nd, 2016 in NewsPreservation

Historic preservationists from across the country will meet in Washington, D.C. from March 8 to 10, 2016 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 Seal

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Division releases 2015 annual report

Written on: February 2nd, 2016 in News

The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has released its annual report which tells the agency’s 2015 story as seen through the accomplishments of its employees and volunteers. Go to the following to read the full report: “Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs 2015 Annual Report.”

2015 Annual Report Cover

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Division creates World War II photographic exhibit at Seaford Museum

Written on: February 2nd, 2016 in ExhibitsMuseumsNews

EXHIBIT CLOSED on May 31, 2016

Between Feb. 13 and May 31, 2016, the Seaford Museum, located at 203 High St. in Seaford, Del., will host “Through the Lens,” an exhibit of photographs from The William D. Willis World War II Photographic Collection. For information on admission and operating hours, call the museum at 302-628-9828.

Willis Seaford Flyer compressed

The Willis collection includes more than 650 photographs taken by Dover, Del. native William D. Willis and his colleagues who served as official military photographers during service in Western Europe between 1943 and 1945. In addition to photographs, the collection includes objects that belonged to Willis as well as objects chosen from the state collections and loaned by private lenders to enhance interpretation.

Based on three displays exhibited at Dover’s Legislative Hall over the past year, “Through the Lens” features photographs and objects organized according to the following topics: About William D. Willis, War Production, Prisoners of War, Agriculture, Base Life and Entertainment, and the Home Front. Vignettes from the permanent displays of the Seaford Museum compliment subjects covered in the Willis photographs.

William D. Willis was born on June 14, 1919 in Dover, Del. After graduating from Dover High School in 1939, he worked as a mechanic in an automobile-repair shop in his home town. On May 16, 1941, he entered active duty in the U.S. Army where he received training in Army Air Forces motor mechanics at Fort Devens, Mass. Pfc. Willis served as a mechanic for a year after completing his training and was then transferred to the position of photographic technician with the 9th Photo Technician Unit, taking and developing pictures and handling various phases of laboratory work pertaining to negative processing. He departed for the European Theater of Operations on Aug. 9, 1943 and served there until Sept. 26, 1945. For most of his service, he was attached to the 20th Fighter Group at Kings Cliffe, England.

Photograph of William D. Willis.

Photograph of William D. Willis.

Willis’ photographic collection, of which only a part will be featured in the exhibit, surfaced after his death and was brought to the attention of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs which accepted it into the permanent collections of the state of Delaware in 2012.

“Through the Lens,” was planned and created as a collaborative partnership between the division and the Seaford Historical Society. The partnership is one of several in which the division has participated in recent years as part of its Affiliates Program which utilizes professionals from the division staff—including exhibit designers, curators, editors, museum managers, trades-people, archaeologists and historians—who work with history- and heritage-based organizations throughout Delaware to develop joint programs and exhibits, including potential display of items from the state’s collections. The exhibit was curated by Carolyn Apple, a retired Dover physician and CARE Team volunteer, who has been deeply involved in the Willis collection from processing its initial donation to researching, documenting and curating photos; writing display text; and assisting in the installation of the exhibit.

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Painting Party at Buena Vista on Feb. 18, 2016

Written on: February 1st, 2016 in EventsHistoric SitesNews

One of Delaware’s most historic estates will host a painting party from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The event will take place at the Buena Vista Conference Center located at 661 S. Dupont Highway (Route 13), in New Castle, Del. Tickets for the event are $35 and are available in advance only at the Painting Parties, LLC website. No tickets will be sold at the door. For additional information, call 302-323-4430.

The Painting Party will feature a professional artist who will provide guests with step-by-step instruction in creating their own versions of the painting “Whimsical Owl.” Participants will then be able to take their paintings home with them.

Whimsical Owl

Whimsical Owl

No art experience is necessary for the painting party and all supplies will be provided including paints, brushes, canvases, aprons and easels. The only thing that visitors need to bring is a fun attitude! In addition to art instruction, guests will be treated to a variety of catered appetizers and soft drinks.

Buena Vista Conference Center

Buena Vista Conference Center

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 center administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

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