Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

Take a seaside vacation—and see where Delaware’s modern history began

Thursday, June 18th, 2015 Jim Yurasek

In addition to the cleanest beach-water in the nation, a wealth of dining options, arts and entertainment activities, recreational opportunities, natural areas, state parks, night life and tax-free shopping, Delaware’s Atlantic Ocean resorts offer a wide variety of historical attractions including the site of Delaware’s first European settlement.

Stanley M. Arthurs, “Landing of the DeVries Colony at Swaanendael, Lewes, Delaware 1631.” Courtesy, University Museums, University of Delaware. Gift of H. Rodney Sharp.

Stanley M. Arthurs, “Landing of the DeVries Colony at Swaanendael, Lewes, Delaware 1631.” Courtesy, University Museums, University of Delaware. Gift of H. Rodney Sharp.

On Dec. 12, 1630, Capt. Peter Heyes and a group of 28 men sailing in the Walvis (Whale) departed from the city of Hoorn in Holland with the goal of building a whale-hunting station and agricultural settlement at the mouth of the South River (now the Delaware). The river, claimed for the Dutch by Henry Hudson in 1609, formed the southern boundary of the colony of New Netherland.

The Walvis reached the South River in 1631 and a settlement site was identified along Hoorn Kill (present-day Lewes-Rehoboth Canal). Naming their settlement Swanendael (Valley of the Swans), the colonists constructed a palisade, dormitory and cook house. Although none of the original structures remain, the settlement site is marked by a commemorative monument located on Pilottown Road in present day Lewes. The monument is named for David Pieterszoon de Vries who, operating from his offices in Holland, served as the general administrator of the colony.

Text from the de Vries monument in Lewes, Del.

Text from the de Vries monument in Lewes, Del.

Leaving Swanendael under the command of Gillis Hossitt, the Walvis returned to Holland where preparations were underway for a second expedition to transport additional settlers and supplies to the colony. Before the expedition could get under way, however, de Vries was notified that all the colonists at Swanendael had been killed and the buildings destroyed as a result of a cultural misunderstanding between the Dutch and Native people in the area.

On May 24, 1632, de Vries himself, along with 50 men, sailed from Holland aboard the Walvis and the Teencoorntgen (Little Squirrel), reaching the burned settlement on Dec. 5, 1632. Due to continuing tensions with the Native people and a lackluster whaling harvest, the Dutch abandoned the settlement on April 14, 1633.

Although the Swanendael settlement lasted less than two years, the claiming of the territory fostered the eventual Dutch resettlement of the lower Delaware Valley until 1664 when all of New Netherland was captured by the English. It also set the stage for Delaware’s existence as an independent political entity by providing the legal basis for resolving the  dispute between the Penn family of Pennsylvania and the Calvert family of Maryland over the ownership and subsequent division of the Delmarva peninsula.

Go to the following for more information on the Swanendael settlement.

Go to the following to read “Voyages from Holland to America,” the journal of David Pieterszoon de Vries.

Go to the Zwaanendael Museum website.

Go to the following for information on other historic sites located near Delaware’s beaches.

Current division-sponsored displays

Monday, June 15th, 2015 Jim Yurasek

In addition to sponsoring exhibits and special programs at sites across Delaware, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs creates displays that accent different aspects of history and culture. Less formal than exhibits, these displays provide a compliment to the primary activities available at museums, historic sites, libraries, government buildings, visitor centers and other public places.

Model of His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak. The replica is part of the display “Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past”

Model of His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak. The replica is part of the display “Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past” at the Zwaanendael Museum.

Following is a listing of division-sponsored displays that are currently on-view at sites across Delaware:

Ongoing
“Delaware Mourns Lincoln: A Demonstration of Love and Sorrow” The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-744-5055.

Utilizing graphics, clothing and memorabilia from the collections of the state of Delaware, the display explores how Delawareans expressed their deep sorrow upon the death of President Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865.

Carved slate featuring a likeness of Abraham Lincoln. The object was on-board Lincoln’s funeral train that left Washington, D.C. on April 21, 1865 bound for Springfield, Ill. It is part of the display “Delaware Mourns Lincoln: A Demonstration of Love and Sorrow” at The Old State House.

Carved slate featuring a likeness of Abraham Lincoln. The object was on-board Lincoln’s funeral train that left Washington, D.C. on April 21, 1865 bound for Springfield, Ill. It is part of the display “Delaware Mourns Lincoln: A Demonstration of Love and Sorrow” at The Old State House.

 Ongoing
“Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past.”
Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sun., 1:30–4:30 p.m. from April 1–Oct. 31. Wed.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. from Nov. 1–March 31. Free admission. 302-645-1148.

Display explores 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. Items on view include a photo of the salvage of DeBraak’s hull, reproductions of artifacts from the ship and a model of the vessel.

“Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past” display featuring artifacts from the shipwreck of the DeBraak and a model of the vessel.

“Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past” display featuring artifacts from the shipwreck of the DeBraak and a model of the vessel.

Ongoing
Sculpture by Charles Parks
New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Wed.–Sat., 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Sun., 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-323-4453.

The display features depictions of noted historical and political figures including a Minute Man, and presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush. The works compliment the familiar statue of William Penn, also created by Parks, which stands in front of the Arsenal building on Market Street in New Castle.

Bust of Richard Nixon by Charles Parks. The work is currently on-display at the New Castle Court House Museum.

Bust of Richard Nixon by Charles Parks. The work is currently on-display at the New Castle Court House Museum.

Over the course of a prolific 50-plus-year career, Charles Parks created more than 500 sculptures for individuals, public parks and plazas throughout Delaware and across the United States. His numerous honors and awards include a Gold Medal for Exemplary Contributions to the Arts from the state of Delaware (1973), the Watrous Gold Medal from the National Academy of Design, the Meiselman Prize for Classical Sculpture from the National Sculpture Society, the Gold Medal from the National Sculpture Society Annual Exhibition and the Tiffany Foundation Award for Creative Sculpture. In 2011, Parks and his wife donated more than 300 of the sculptor’s works to the state of Delaware including bronzes, plasters, woodworks and over 250 fiberglass works ranging in size from eight inches to nine feet from various periods in Parks’ career.

Ongoing
“World War II Through the Lens of William D. Willis”
Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Ave., Dover. Limited visitation hours; call 302-739-9194 before planning a visit. Free admission.

On view over the course of a year, the display will be presented in three succeeding segments, each featuring a different selection of images from The William D. Willis World War II Photographic Collection. The Willis collection includes more than 600 photographs taken by the Dover, Del. native and his colleagues during military service in Western Europe between 1943 and 1945 including images of crash scenes and battle-damaged military aircraft, photos of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp and aerial views of villages in Normandy, France. Willis also photographed the daily procedures of base life as well as United Service Organizations (USO) shows featuring celebrities such as Jack Benny and Ingrid Bergman and a concert by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra. This large photographic collection, of which only approximately 20 images will be featured in each segment of the display, surfaced after Willis’ death and was brought to the division’s attention which accepted it into the permanent collections of the state of Delaware in 2012.

Photograph of two P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft. The image is part of the display “World War II Through the Lens of William D. Willis” at Dover’s Legislative Hall.

Photograph of two P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft. The image is part of the display “World War II Through the Lens of William D. Willis” at Dover’s Legislative Hall.

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.

Division to sponsor 16 special events during July 2015

Monday, June 15th, 2015 Jim Yurasek

The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring 16 special events during the month of July 2015 at the museums of the state of Delaware. A full schedule is included below. With the exception of DeBraak tours, all programs are free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-744-5055.

Historical interpreters will recite the Declaration of Independence from the steps of Dover’s Old State House on July 4, 2015.

Historical interpreters will recite the Declaration of Independence from the steps of Dover’s Old State House on July 4, 2015.

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special events, July 2015

Wednesday July 1, 2015
“Thunder and Rain.” Screening of the film about Caesar Rodney’s historic ride for independence. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle.  Film at 2 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.

Wednesdays, July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2015
“Watercolor Wednesdays.” Explore the hues of the John Dickinson mansion, learn about 18th-century paint colors and paint a scene. 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.

Friday July 3, 2015
“Thunder and Rain.” Screening of the film about Caesar Rodney’s historic ride for independence. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle.  Film at 2 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.

Saturday, July 4, 2015
Independence Day program. Screenings at 11 a.m., 1 and 5 p.m. of “Thunder and Rain,” a film about Caesar Rodney’s historic ride for independence. At 2 and 4 p.m., the bell of The Old State House will ring in celebration of the nation’s birthday, followed immediately by site interpreters, dressed in period clothing, who will recite the Declaration of Independence aloud from the spot where the document was first read to the citizens of Dover in 1776. First Saturday in the First State program. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Museum open 9 a.m.–6 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, July 4, 2015
“Stars and Stripes.” Guided tours explore some of Victor Records’ many recordings of patriotic music 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.

Display of Victor Talking Machines at the Johnson Victrola Museum. Patriotic music will be featured at the museum on July 4, 2015.

Display of Victor Talking Machines at the Johnson Victrola Museum. Patriotic music will be featured at the museum on July 4, 2015.

Mondays, July 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2015
Lecture/tours of His Majesty’s Sloop DeBraak. Explore the history of the DeBraak which was capsized and lost off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798. Program includes a trip to the hull facility in nearby Cape Henlopen State Park for a tour of the surviving section of the ship’s hull. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Programs at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Limited seating. Admission $10 by reservation only through the Shop Delaware website (go to http://shop.delaware.gov and click the “Tours” link). For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Saturday, July 11, 2015
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.

Sunday, July 12, 2015
“Hollywood History at the Court House: ‘1776.’ ” Screening of the 1972 American musical film on the events leading up to the writing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle.  Film at 2 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are recommended by calling 302-323-4453. Museum open 1:30–4:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 26, 2015
“Hollywood History at the Court House: ‘Shirley Temple Day in New Castle.’ ” Program explores Shirley Temple’s July 2, 1938 visit to New Castle where she ate lunch in the Court House Tea Room. It was a banner day for the city with over 500 people coming to town to catch a glimpse of “America’s Little Sweetheart.” Program includes a screening of Temple’s Academy-Award-winning film “Bright Eyes.” New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. Program at 2 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are recommended by calling 302-323-4453. Museum open 1:30–4:30 p.m.

National park interpretive signs unveiled on Dover Green

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 Jim Yurasek

In a ceremony on May 29, 2015 a group of dignitaries headed by U.S. Sen. Tom Carper unveiled two interpretive signs featuring historical information about The Green in Dover, Del. The Green is a component of the First State National Historical Park which spotlights the state’s early Dutch, Swedish and English settlements and its role in the events leading up to the founding of the United States as a nation.

First-grade students from Holy Cross School assist in the unveiling of interpretive signs on the Dover Green. In the background, from left are First State National Historical Park Superintendent Ethan McKinley, Sen. Tom Carper, Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock and Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan.

First-grade students from Holy Cross School assist in the unveiling of interpretive signs on the Dover Green. In the background, from left are First State National Historical Park Superintendent Ethan McKinley, Sen. Tom Carper, Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock and Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan.

During his comments, delivered to a large assemblage including a group of first-grade students from Dover’s Holy Cross School, Carper noted that while Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, it was the only state that did not have a national park when he and the other members of Delaware’s Congressional delegation began efforts to rectify that situation in 2001. Together with the work of countless Delawareans, their efforts came to fruition in 2013 when President Obama issued a proclamation establishing the First State National Monument. The expanded First State National Historical Park was officially established as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 which was signed by the president on Dec. 19, 2015.

Sen. Tom Carper speaking at the interpretive-sign unveiling ceremony. In the foreground are first-grade students from Holy Cross School. Seated in the rear are (from left) Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock, Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan, state Sen. Brian Bushweller, First State National Historical Park Superintendent Ethan McKinley, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen and Tim Slavin, director of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Sen. Tom Carper speaking at the interpretive-sign unveiling ceremony. In the foreground are first-grade students from Holy Cross School. Seated in the rear are (from left) Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock, Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan, state Sen. Brian Bushweller, First State National Historical Park Superintendent Ethan McKinley, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen and Tim Slavin, director of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Designated by William Penn in 1683, the Dover Green functioned for nearly 200 years as the city’s commercial and governmental center. It served as the site where the Declaration of Independence was read to the townspeople in 1776, and where a Continental regiment was mustered for service in the American Revolution. The Green was also home to a number of taverns and inns including the Golden Fleece Tavern where representatives from Delaware’s three counties ratified the United States Constitution on December 7, 1787, becoming the first state to do so. The Green remains the historical heart of Dover and is the location of The Old State House, Delaware Supreme Court and the Kent County Courthouse.

First State National Historical Park interpretive sign on the Dover Green.

First State National Historical Park interpretive sign on the Dover Green.

First State National Historical Park interpretive sign on the Dover Green.

First State National Historical Park interpretive sign on the Dover Green.

For press accounts of the unveiling ceremony, go to the following:

First State National Park now visible in new signs
WDDE Radio, Dover, Del.—May 29, 2015

The First State National Park unveils some new educational signage
WDEL Radio, Wilmington, Del.—May 29, 2015

Former president of Ghana visits John Dickinson Plantation

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 Jim Yurasek

John Kufuor, former president of the Republic of Ghana, visited the John Dickinson Plantation in Dover on Saturday, May 16, 2015 where he received a guided tour by site supervisor Gloria Henry. Kufuor was in Dover to deliver Delaware State University’s commencement address on May 17.

(From left) Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Deputy Director Suzanne Savery, President John Kufuor and site supervisor Gloria Henry behind the John Dickinson Plantation’s mansion house.

(From left) Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Deputy Director Suzanne Savery, President John Kufuor and site supervisor Gloria Henry behind the John Dickinson Plantation’s mansion house.

President Kufuor (left) listens to Gloria Henry (right). At center is a museum figure depicting John Dickinson.

President Kufuor (left) listens to Gloria Henry (right). At center is a museum figure depicting John Dickinson.

Henry’s tour provided extensive information on the life of Dickinson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, signer of the Constitution and “Penman of the Revolution.” In a notable moment, Kufuor mentioned that he had studied law at Lincoln’s Inn in London which is located across the street from Middle Temple where Dickinson studied. Other highlights of the tour included an examination of books in Dickinson’s library, weaving on the plantation’s barn loom, and demonstrations of meat curing in the smokehouse and hearth cooking in the log’d dwelling. Kufuor was accompanied on the tour by his nephew Dr. Akwasi Osei, a member of the Delaware State University faculty and former vice chair of the Delaware State Review Board for Historic Preservation.

President Kufuor listens to historic-site interpreter Chris Merrill outside the plantation’s smokehouse.

President Kufuor listens to historic-site interpreter Chris Merrill outside the plantation’s smokehouse.

Exploring the plantation’s barn loom.

Exploring the plantation’s barn loom.

Go to the following to read a press account of President Kufuor’s address at Delaware State University

Former president of Ghana gives DSU commencement
News Journal, Wilmington, Del.—May 17, 2015

U.S. military members invited to free lecture/tours of the hull of the DeBraak

Friday, May 15th, 2015 Jim Yurasek

U.S. military personnel are invited to attend free 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.

Interpreter pointing to the remaining section of the DeBraak's hull.

Interpreter pointing to the remaining section of the DeBraak’s hull.

Normally $10 per person, reservations for the lecture/tours, which will take place on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 9 a.m. and Noon, are free for current and former members of the U.S. armed forces and their families (restricted to persons aged 10 and above) with a limit of 12 visitors per program. Military identification is required. Reservations are available only through the Shop Delaware website (go to http://shop.delaware.gov and click the “Tours” link). For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

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 “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World,” an exhibit that tells the story of the vessel, its crew and the historical context within which it operated in the late 18th century. Attendees of the lecture will then be transported, via van, to the DeBraak hull facility in nearby Cape Henlopen State Park for a 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.

This special offering is part of the Blue Star Museums program, a vehicle for outreach to members of the United States armed forces. A collaboration of the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America, the program offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

 

Division to sponsor 22 special events during June 2015

Thursday, May 14th, 2015 Jim Yurasek

During the month of June 2015, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be offering 22 special programs at sites across the state. Except where noted, programs are free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-744-5055.

Visitors enjoying a tour of the DeBraak hull. Lecture/tours of the 19th century British warship will be conducted beginning in June and continuing through September 2015.

Visitors enjoying a tour of the DeBraak hull. Lecture/tours of the 19th century British warship will be conducted beginning in June and continuing through September 2015.

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special events, June 2015

Mondays, June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2015
Lecture/tour of His Majesty’s Sloop DeBraak. Explore the history of the DeBraak which was capsized and lost off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798. Program includes a trip to the hull facility in nearby Cape Henlopen State Park for a tour of the surviving section of the ship’s hull. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Programs at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Limited seating. Admission $10 by reservation only through the Shop Delaware website (go to http://shop.delaware.gov and click the “Tours” link). For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Thursdays, June 4, 11, 18 and 25, 2015
“Thirsty on Thursdays.” Learn how to make cool 18th-century drinks including switchels, lemonade and tea. 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, June 6, 2015
Free lecture/tour of His Majesty’s Sloop DeBraak for U.S. military members and their families. Explore the history of the DeBraak which was capsized and lost off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798. Program includes a trip to the hull facility in nearby Cape Henlopen State Park for a tour of the surviving section of the ship’s hull. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Programs at 9 a.m. and Noon. Limited seating. Tours for current and former members of the U.S. military and their families only. Admission free by reservation only through the Shop Delaware website (go to http://shop.delaware.gov and click the “Tours” link). For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Saturday, June 6, 2015
“Bring Your Partners: Learn the Art of Old English Country Dancing.” Inter-active program in which visitors will discover the style that was the precursor to square dancing. First Saturday in the First State program. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Programs at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.

Saturday, June 6, 2015
“The Golden Age of Jazz.” Here tunes from the hottest era in jazz music played on authentic Victor Talking Machines and join in on popular dances from that time. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Programs at 1 and 3 p.m. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055. Note change in program times.

Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13, 2015
Separation Day. Celebration marking the 238th anniversary of Delaware’s separation from Great Britain and Pennsylvania and the formation of the Delaware State. Programs include activities at the New Castle Court House Museum. Downtown New Castle. Friday, 5–10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. 302-323-4453 or 302-545-1650.

Saturday, June 13, 2015
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.

Friday, June 19, 2015
The Doctor Is In.” Living-history theatrical performance by Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs historical interpreter Dennis Fisher exploring the life and times of Dr. James Sykes, an 18th to 19th-century Dover physician. Partnership between the division and the Dover Public Library. Dover Public Library, 35 Loockerman Plaza, Dover. 7 p.m. 302-736-7030.

Dennis Fisher will portray Dr. James Sykes in “The Doctor Is In” program on June 19, 2015.

Dennis Fisher will portray Dr. James Sykes in “The Doctor Is In” program on June 19, 2015.

Sunday, June 21, 2015
17th Annual Chautauqua Tent Show: “Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past.” Programs begin at Noon and culminate at 7:15 p.m. when David Scott Taylor of the American Historical Theatre performs “Gideon Olmstead—Adventures of a Sea Captain During the Revolution.” Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 302-645-1148.

Monday, June 22, 2015
17th Annual Chautauqua Tent Show: “Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past.” Programs begin at Noon and culminate at 7:15 p.m. when Daisy Century of the American Historical Theatre performs “Phyllis Phillis Wheatley’s Voyage to Britain” which explores an episode in the life of the first published African-American poet. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 302-645-1148. Note spelling correction.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
17th Annual Chautauqua Tent Show: “Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past.” Concert by the Skinny Leg Pete Band performing soul, funk, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Stango Park, 111 Adams Ave., Lewes. 7 p.m. 302-645-1148.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Painting Party @ The Pole Shed.” Aided by an art instructor, guests at one of Delaware’s most historic estates will help to create the “Peaceful Path” painting while enjoying food and beverages provided by Caffé Gelato. Buena Vista Conference Center, 661 S. Dupont Highway (Route 13), New Castle. 6–8:30 p.m. Admission $39 in advance. For tickets, go to http://www.painting-parties.com/6-23—buena-vista-conference-center.html. For information, call 302-323-4430.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
17th Annual Chautauqua Tent Show: “Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past.” Programs begin at Noon and culminate at 7:15 p.m. when Christian Johnson of the American Historical Theatre portrays William Augustus Newell founder of U.S. Life-Saving Service. Lewes Historical Society complex, 110 Shipcarpenter St., Lewes. 302-645-7670.

Christian Johnson will portray Gov. William Augustus Newell, founder of U.S. Life-Saving Service, on June 24, 2015.

Christian Johnson will portray Gov. William Augustus Newell, founder of U.S. Life-Saving Service, on June 24, 2015.

Thursday, June 25, 2015
17th Annual Chautauqua Tent Show: “Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past.” Programs begin at Noon and culminate at 7:15 p.m. when Kim Hanley of the American Historical Theatre portrays first lady Abigail Adams discussing trade and embargoes during the American Revolution. Lewes Historical Society complex, 110 Shipcarpenter St., Lewes. 302-645-7670.

State of Delaware’s museums again say thanks to America’s military personnel

Thursday, May 7th, 2015 Jim Yurasek

For the fourth year, the six museums of the state of Delaware have joined the ranks of Blue Star Museums as a vehicle for outreach to members of the United States armed forces.

Blue Star Museums poster

The program is a collaborative effort of the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America. It offers free admission to active duty military personnel including members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard and Reserve, with up to five family members, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa are participating in the program including children’s museums, fine art museums, history and science museums and nature centers.

Administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the state of Delaware’s six museums tell the story of the First State’s contributions to the history and culture of the United States. Although admission to the state’s museums is already free, participation in the Blue Star Museums program allows the division to expand its outreach efforts to military personnel and thank them for their service to the nation.

 

Archaeological symposium at the New Castle Court House Museum on May 9, 2015

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 Jim Yurasek

On Saturday, May 9, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the Archaeological Society of Delaware, will present “The Early Colonial Delaware Valley—An Archaeological Symposium.” Now in its eighth 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.

New Castle Court House Museum

New Castle Court House Museum

The symposium will take place at the New Castle Court House Museum located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Craig Lukezic at craig.lukezic@state.de.us or call 302-736-7407.

Go to the following for a complete symposium schedule.

“Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past” 17th annual Chautauqua tent show in Lewes, June 21 to 25, 2015

Monday, April 20th, 2015 Jim Yurasek

The First State’s essential relationship with the Delaware River and Bay, and the sea, will be brought to life during the 17th annual Chautauqua tent show, “Discovering Delaware’s Maritime Past.” Events and programs will take place at a variety of downtown Lewes, Del. locations including the Zwaanendael Museum and the Lewes Historical Society from June 21 to 25, 2015. Admission is free and open to the public. Go here for a complete listing of activities. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Christian Johnson will portray Gov. William Augustus Newell, founder of U.S. Life-Saving Service, on June 24, 2015.

Christian Johnson will portray Gov. William Augustus Newell, founder of U.S. Life-Saving Service, on June 24, 2015.

A unique mixture of education and entertainment, Lewes’ Chautauqua will be held under a large tent and will be headlined by re-enactors from the American Historical Theatre who will 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 American-Revolutionary-War-era sea captain Gideon Olmstead; enslaved African-American poet Phillis Wheatley discussing her voyage to Britain; Gov. William Augustus Newell, founder of U.S. Life-Saving Service; and first lady Abigail Adams discussing trade and embargoes during the American Revolution. The Chautauqua will also feature several family-friendly events including “Songs and Stories of Old Sailing Days,” “Run It Up the Flagpole and Sea” and the Pyrates Royale Duo; plus a new display at the Zwaanendael Museum on His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak, a British warship that sank off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798.

Matthew Dodd will present the family-friendly program “Songs and Stories of Old Sailing Days” on June 21, 2015.

Matthew Dodd will present the family-friendly program “Songs and Stories of Old Sailing Days” on June 21, 2015.

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 (also known as 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.

Model of His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak. Part of a new display at the Zwaanendael Museum.

Model of His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak. Part of a new display at the Zwaanendael Museum.

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 Abraham Lincoln; Amelia Earhart; Dolley Madison; Eleanor Roosevelt; Edgar Allan Poe; the Lone Ranger; John Philip Sousa; and Delaware’s own Pvt. James Elbert, Maj. Allen McLane, F.O.C. Darley and Clifford Brown.

Kim Hanley will portray first lady Abigail Adams on June 25, 2015.

Kim Hanley will portray first lady Abigail Adams on June 25, 2015.

Delaware’s 2015 Chautauqua is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities Forum, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is being presented as a partnership between the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the Lewes Historical Society and the Lewes Chamber of Commerce. Additional financial support is provided by the Delaware Heritage Commission, Delmarva Power and Sussex County Council under the auspices of Councilwoman Joan Deaver.

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