Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs archaeologist Craig Lukezic has been invited to speak at the Combined AT FORT and 9th Fortified Cities Expert Meeting that will take place in Utrecht, the Netherlands from Nov. 11 to 14, 2013. The meeting is being organized by the New Dutch Waterline, the lead partner in Atelier European Fortresses (AT FORT), a coalition of European historical organizations dedicated to preserving and adaptively re-using fortified heritage-sites across the continent.
In keeping with the meeting’s focus on historic fortifications, Lukezic will discuss the history of Fort Casimir which was established by the Dutch in 1651 in what is now New Castle, Del. During June 2012, Lukezic and a group of archaeologists conducted excavations to determine what, if any, archaeological remains of the fort still existed. Evidence gathered during the excavations appears to support earlier research that placed the site of the fort along the Delaware River on the city’s northeast side.
Lukezic has worked as an archaeologist for many years including service at the Virginia Department of Transportation and, since 2003, at the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. He holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in anthropology from the College of William and Mary. Lukezic currently serves as president of the Archaeological Society of Delaware and as an adjunct faculty member at Delaware State University.
During his work in the First State, Lukezic has led archaeological studies of several colonial forts from the period when the Swedes and Dutch controlled the Delaware Valley including Fort Casimir in New Castle and Fort Christina in Wilmington. He has also served in a leadership role in the organization of the 2013 New Sweden 375th Anniversary Conference which is slated for Nov. 8 to 10, 2013, and “The Early Colonial Delaware Valley—An Archaeological Symposium” which is held annually during May.
On Sept. 4, 2013, Boela Gerber, winemaker for Groot Constantia, the oldest surviving wine estate in South Africa, visited Lewes’ Zwaanendael Museum to explore the 18th-century connection between the winery and the state of Delaware. That connection was first discovered in 2004 when a bottle fragment bearing the embossed words “Constantia Wyn” was found on Lewes Beach. Bottles embossed with the Constantia Wyn emblem were used in the period 1760 to 1840 and originated from the farm now known as Groot Constantia.
As a result of archaeological investigations led by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the bottle fragment was traced to the Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck, thought to be the remains of a British merchant ship loaded with cargo inbound for Philadelphia, which ran aground and became stranded in the shallows off Lewes’ Roosevelt Inlet sometime between 1772 and 1800. Artifacts from the wreck began turning up on Lewes Beach in 2004 as a result of a replenishment project that pumped sand from the floor of the Delaware Bay onto the beach.
An underwater archaeological investigation located the shipwreck site in 2005, while a second investigation, conducted in 2006, recovered a wide range of artifacts representing the ship’s cargo. Items recovered during these investigations are part of the cultural legacy of the state of Delaware and are being curated by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. A small sampling of artifacts from the shipwreck is currently on display at the Zwaanendael Museum.
In 2005, in commemoration of the 320th anniversary of the founding of the estate, Groot Constantia introduced Grand Constance, a commemorative dessert-wine similar in style to the wine that made the estate famous in the 18th century, and similar to the wine that was part of the Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck’s cargo. Packaging of Grand Constance includes a bottle-design in use in the late 18th century, embossed with a replica of the Constantia Wyn emblem that was found in the Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck. The wine, which is individually packed in a wooden box, includes an information sheet that covers the Delaware story.
International acclaim for this historic and distinctive wine was immediate and long-lasting. In 2013, Grand Constance was awarded gold medals at two prestigious wine competitions—the Monde Selection in Brussels and the International Wine Challenge in London. Following up on this recognition, Gerber visited the United States in the spring and summer of 2013 in order to help promote Groot Constantia’s wines to American consumers. During his visit to the Zwaanendael Museum, in which he was accompanied by Ben King of DOPS, Inc. which distributes Grand Constantia in Delaware, Gerber was treated to a tour led by historic-site interpreters Kay Powell and Sharyn Murray. As part of the tour, Gerber was shown several bottle fragments embossed with Constantia Wyn that had been specifically brought out of the division’s archaeological collections for his visit.
For information on where Grand Constance can be purchased in Delaware, contact DOPS, Inc. at 301-839-8650.
EXHIBIT CLOSED on June 14, 2014
From Sept. 27, 2013 to June 14, 2014, the exhibit “Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980” was on display at the Delaware History Museum in Wilmington. The exhibit honored 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.
“Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980” was created through a partnership between the curatorial staff of the Delaware Historical Society, which researched and wrote the exhibit narrative and organized loans of exhibited objects; and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Collections, Affiliates, Research and Exhibits (CARE) Team which designed, fabricated and installed the exhibit.
The partnership with the Delaware Historical Society is one of several in which the division has participated in recent years. These partnerships have had great success in creating new opportunities for the agency to serve the public in communities where it has not previously had a presence. Partnerships help fulfill the division’s mission by shining a spotlight on Delaware history, enhancing leisure and educational opportunities for the state’s residents, stimulating tourist visitation leading to economic growth and job creation and expanding public awareness of the importance of preserving and protecting Delaware’s historical and cultural legacy.
Recent division partnerships have resulted in exhibits and displays at the Bethel, Laurel and Seaford historical societies; the Lewes and New Castle historical societies, the Rehoboth Art League and Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts, the Rehoboth Beach Museum and the Smyrna Rest Stop and Delaware Welcome Center Travel Plaza.
EXHIBITS CLOSED on Sept. 22, 2013
“Dealing in Symbols: Profundity and the Human Figure,” an exhibit of works by noted Wilmington sculptor Charles Parks; and “USS Delaware: An American Battleship,” an exhibit on the USS Delaware (1909-1924) told through objects, photographs and ceremonial silver, closed on Sept. 22, 2013. Planned and created by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the exhibits were on display at the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, Delaware Public Archives building, 121 Duke of York St. in Dover, Del.
EXHIBITS CLOSED on Aug. 25, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2013 respectively
During 2013 the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Collections, Affiliates, Research and Exhibits (CARE) Team loaned nearly 60 works of art from the state’s collections to two of Delaware’s most prominent arts organizations—the Rehoboth Art League and the Schwartz Center for the Arts.
Working in partnership with the Rehoboth Art League, located at 12 Dodds Lane in Rehoboth Beach, the CARE Team helped to create the exhibit “Memories of Jack Lewis,” a career retrospective on the beloved artist whose work captured Delaware’s unique history, places and people. Lewis died on Aug. 19, 2012 at the age of 99. The exhibit was on display from July 19 to Aug. 25, 2013.
The state of Delaware owns more than 400 of Lewis’ works from every period in his career including a set of monumental murals which adorn the upper walls of both the Senate and the House of Representatives chambers in Legislative Hall, and numerous paintings which grace the walls of public buildings across the state including Buena Vista, the Carvel State Office Building and the Townsend Building. In addition to the loan of more than 30 of Lewis’ works for the Art League’s exhibit, the CARE team matted and framed each of the paintings and created the descriptive labels that accompany each work.
The partnership with the Rehoboth Art League 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, 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 program has had great success in creating new opportunities for the division to serve the public in communities where it has not previously had a presence. Other organizations that are participating in the Affiliates Program include the Historic Odessa Foundation, Middletown Historical Society, Laurel Historical Society, Seaford Historical Society, Bethel Historical Society, the Rehoboth Beach Museum and the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware.
At the Schwartz Center for the Arts, located at 226 S. State St. in Dover, the CARE Team created an exhibit of works by Hispanic artists from the Norma Varisco de García Collection which was donated to the state of Delaware in 2012. The exhibit featured 17 paintings by American, Puerto Rican, Argentinean and Mexican artists including five works by Juan Perez, a Guatemalan native who now lives in Georgetown, Del. The exhibit was on display from Aug. 5 to Dec. 31, 2013.
About the collections of the state of Delaware…
The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs conserves a significant collection of historic materials owned by the state of Delaware including museum objects, archaeological artifacts, works of art, library and archival materials and oral histories which are utilized in developing exhibits and educational programs that illuminate the state’s historical and cultural legacies for the benefit of present and future generations.
Although the state’s collections are featured prominently in division-sponsored exhibits, the sheer number of items makes it impossible for all of the materials to be formally displayed at one time. In order to maximize public access to the collections, the division loans items to museums across Delaware and the nation, and manages a program that places collections objects in government offices and public buildings across the state. Examples of this partnership include the display of murals at the Delaware Veterans Home and Delaware Public Archives; the placement of historical furnishings at Woodburn, the Governor’s House and at the Buena Vista Conference Center; and the display of various paintings and furnishings in Legislative Hall, at the Governor’s three offices and in courthouses across the state. The division hopes to make even more items from the collections available for public viewing in coming years.
Beginning on July 20, 2013, C-SPAN, the public-affairs television network, will be posting 13 television segments on its website featuring the literary life and history of Delaware’s capital city of Dover. The segments can be viewed at the following Web address: www.c-span.org/LocalContent/Dover.
C-SPAN will also be broadcasting the segments on non-fiction book channel BookTV (on C-SPAN2) and history channel American History TV (on C-SPAN3) during the weekend of July 20 and 21, 2013. In addition to having the segments sprinkled in throughout the weekend on the respective networks, both American History TV and Book TV will broadcast the following block programming where all of their respective Dover pieces will air.
American History TV segments to be broadcast on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 5 p.m. ET
Book TV segments to be broadcast on Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. ET
All of the video segments were filmed during June 2013 as part of C-SPAN’s 2013 Cities Tour, a partnership with Comcast Cable that takes the network’s Book TV and American History TV on the road. From its debut in 2011 to date, the C-SPAN Cities Tour has visited 31 cities across the nation. The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with C-SPAN, Comcast and the City of Dover, helped organize the many logistics associated with filming at the respective sites around the city.
Created by the cable TV industry and now serving 100 million TV households, C-SPAN programs three public-affairs television networks in both standard-definition and high-definition video; C-SPAN Radio, heard in Washington D.C. and nationwide via XM Satellite Radio; and a video-rich website which hosts the C-SPAN Video Library.
Written on: July 18th, 2013 in News
Beginning in July 2013, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs began the process of simplifying the design of its e-newsletter to make it more compatible with hand-held computing devices such as smart phones and tablets.
During the first phase of the transition process which will begin with the August 2013 edition, newsletter articles will be created using WordPress, an interactive blogging tool that utilizes plug-in architecture and a template system to simplify and standardize the graphic design of text and photos. Go to the following to subscribe directly to the Delaware Historical and Cultural Affairs Blog.
In future issues, the division will phase-out the multi-pane template that has been used since 2008 to distribute the newsletter as an e-mail. Due to the complexity of this template, the design of the newsletter often appears scrambled on a variety of computing devices including smart phones. The new, greatly simplified, design will help standardize the appearance of the newsletter no matter which computing device is being used. Future improvements to the newsletter will include an on-line calendar of events and use of enhanced mailing list software.
On Monday, Aug. 26, 2013 at 6:30 p.m., the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware will present “Free Black Communities of the 19th Century,” a dual lecture conducted by cultural-heritage consultant Janet L. Sheridan who will discuss Marshalltown which was established circa 1830 in Salem County, N.J., and Dr. Rebecca Sheppard, associate director of the Center for Historic Architecture and Design at the University of Delaware, who will discuss Polktown, a cultural community within, and adjacent to, Delaware City, Del. which was studied as part of a 2008-2010 grant from the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
“Free Black Communities of the 19th Century” will take place at the Delaware City Public Library, located at 250 Fifth St., in Delaware City, Del. Sponsored by the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware, the lecture 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. Call 302-834-4148 to contact the Delaware City Public Library.
The Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware is a group 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.
By: Alice Guerrant
On February 21, 2013, our National Park Service reviewer approved Delaware’s draft historic preservation plan. In March, one of HCA’s talented graphic designers took that draft and turned it into a beautiful publication with an outstanding layout illustrated with photographs and charts. And on April 16, the State Review Board for Historic Preservation formally adopted the new 2013-2017 plan.
That’s just the beginning for this plan. Now it’s up to the historic preservation community to make this a working document. We all need to become very familiar with its goals and strategies. Where does your group or agency fit in to these strategies? Where can you make a contribution?
One of the strategies in the plan is to have a regular working group come together every six months to review where we are, what’s been accomplished lately, and where we need to focus next. We will be seeking members for that group very soon and setting up the first meeting.
Anyone want to join in?