Due to unforeseen circumstances, the presentation “Post Cards of the Past,” originally scheduled for Sunday, May 1, 2016 at The Old State House in Dover, Del., has been postponed. The event will be rescheduled in the near future.
Following is information on the original event:
Sunday, May 1, 2016
“Post Cards of the Past.” Bill Burton gives visitors a chance to revisit “Old Dover” through his amazing collection of old Kent County postcards. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program 2 p.m. Museum open 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-744-5054.
During the spring of 2016, visitors to historic New Castle will have an opportunity to see the impressive results of a year-long, $350,000 capital improvement plan that the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs implemented at four state-owned historic properties that the agency administers in Delaware’s original capital city. Implementation of the plan began in March 2015 with all improvements completed by April 2016.
Following is a summary of the completed projects:
Founded by the Dutch under Peter Stuyvesant in 1651, the town that would later be called New Castle served as Delaware’s Colonial and state capital from 1704 until 1777. The city’s well-preserved historic district retains many original structures built between 1698 and 1873 representing a wide variety of architectural styles including Dutch Colonial, Georgian, Federal and Greek Revival. New Castle now serves as the headquarters of the First State National Historical Park. The New Castle Court House Museum and the New Castle Green are among seven components of the park which includes sites in all three of Delaware’s counties.
In keeping with Preservation50, the United States’ multi-year celebration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the theme of the 2016 Dover Days Festival is historic preservation.
Activities based on the theme will take place throughout the festival which will take place from May 6 to 8, 2016 in a variety of locations in and around downtown Dover, Del. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. For additional information, call the event’s sponsor, Kent County and Greater Dover, Delaware Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-233-KENT.
As part of the festival theme, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be offering several programs celebrating the 1976 restoration of The Old State House which returned the venerable structure to its original 1791 appearance. Activities, which will take place at The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, include “There’s a Party in the House” on Friday, May 6 featuring 70s music and dancing; guided tours on Saturday, May 7 examining preservationist Mabel Lloyd Ridgely’s efforts in saving The Old State House from destruction; and the display “The Old State House: A True Restoration 1976-2016” which will be on-view beginning on May 4. Go to the following for a complete listing of division-sponsored events during May 2016.
The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has recently promoted Bridget Wallace to the position of volunteer services coordinator, and has hired three new staff members—Kelly Ewing, Dylan Lister and Jack Witzman.
As a member of the division’s Horticulture Team, Dylan Lister provides landscape support-services at the agency’s sites, helping to maintain a beautiful and safe natural environment that complements the historic nature of the individual properties. Prior to joining the division, the Greenwood, Del. resident worked in all aspects of agricultural production at Lea View Farms in his home town. He studied agricultural production at Delaware Technical and Community College and at Delmar High School.
Jack Witzman brings a wealth of experience to his position as a historic-site interpreter at the New Castle Court House Museum. He volunteered for over eight years at Fort Delaware State Park as a first-person Civil War re-enactor, and has participated in several historical-theater productions in the New Castle vicinity. Now retired, the Wilmington resident enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a financial and business analyst for several companies in the region, and as a financial specialist for the city of New Castle. As a historic-site interpreter dressed in period clothing, Witzman will add a human face to Delaware history by bringing the people and events of the past to life.
The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is currently seeking qualified applicants for the position of cultural preservation specialist (architectural historian). Applications are available by going to the link below or by going to the Delaware Employment Link.
The cultural preservation specialist (architectural historian) will join the division’s State Historic Preservation Office and will be responsible for reviewing and/or conducting historic architectural surveys; reviewing project plans for the rehabilitation or restoration of historic buildings and structures; and consulting with federal, state and/or local agencies to review projects and advising the agencies and applicants about the projects’ effects on historic properties. Other duties include: coordinating with local governments on historic preservation projects, advising constituents on federal and state preservation incentive programs and monitoring preservation covenants and easements.
Application opening date: April 16, 2016. Closing date: April 29, 2016.
On Saturday, May 7, 2016, 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 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.
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 email@example.com or call 302-736-7407.
The Delaware Quilt Documentation Project will hold a Quilt Documentation Day on Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Lewes Presbyterian Church located at 133 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del.
The project is designed to record the rich tradition of quilt-making in the state of Delaware and to help preserve its legacy for future generations. Owners of quilts made before 1950 are encouraged to bring their quilts to this informative documentation process which involves photographing each quilt, recording its physical characteristics and gathering historical information about the quilt and/or the quilt-maker. Admission to the session is free and there is no cost for the documentation of quilts made in Delaware. Walk-ins are welcome, but an appointment is recommended to guarantee that a particular quilt is included in the documentation process. A donation is requested for the documentation of quilts without a Delaware provenance.
After the documentation process has been completed, data related to Delaware-made quilts will be compiled and analyzed, and a book featuring the most representative and historically important quilts will be developed. The project plans to mount a traveling exhibition of selected quilts which will be displayed in each of Delaware’s three counties.
The Delaware Quilt Documentation Project is a collaborative effort between the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs and the University of Delaware. Information about Delaware quilts will be submitted to The Quilt Index, a national data base maintained by The Alliance for American Quilts. The project is supported, in part, by grants from the Delaware Humanities Forum and the National Quilting Association, as well as individual contributions. For additional information contact the project co-coordinators Ann Baker Horsey of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs at 302-739-6402 or Dr. Fran Mayhew of the University of Delaware at 302-368-8423. To make an appointment, call Dr. Mayhew.
Written by Amanda Svehla
When I began my internship with the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, I was not quite sure what to expect. Certainly, I knew that I would be handling objects, but I was not prepared for the intimate journey I was about to embark on through personal research. I walked into collections storage and was told to choose an object to work on—anything in the room was fair game. I chose a small box and discovered it was an archive collection. It didn’t appear that it would take me very long, so it was the ideal beginning to practice my newly acquired knowledge of object handling and condition reporting. The archive collection turned out to be much more than I expected and 38 objects later, I believe that I have a good grasp on understanding the objects, but more importantly, the people who possessed them. The newly acquired donation is aptly named the Peets Family Archive Collection. The collection has become near and dear to my heart. It inspired me on a personal level, particularly through the life and love of Ethel Canby Peets.
Ethel Poyntell Canby was an artist from an affluent family in Wilmington, Del. She was born on May 16, 1877 and was the seventh of eight children. Ethel eventually established herself as a respected artist in Delaware. She loved to paint still lifes of fruit and flowers, as well as portraits and landscapes. When Ethel was 35 she travelled to Paris, France, where she lived and studied as an American art student from 1912 to 1913. While in Paris, Ethel kept a detailed diary of her experiences. She wrote of Mardi Gras in Paris and painting roses. Ethel also wrote of an encounter that would change her life forever—when she met her future husband, Orville Houghton Peets:
Orville Peets … he does the most beautiful etchings … and some of us are trying to persuade him to teach a class of us … and go to Seulis, a quaint old tavern not too far away. I think we shall persuade him … though nothing is, as yet decided.
He asked me to let him paint a portrait of me … for his picture for the spring Palm des Artistes Francais. So of course I said I would. … We picked out a gray soft liberty silk dress … with something sparkling on it and I am standing before a mirror my face reflected in the glass. It seemed to go well from the start.
Excerpts from Ethel’s orange diary.
Orville’s portrait of Ethel went on to win an honorable mention in the Paris Salon and was bought by the French government for the Luxembourg collection.
The couple got along quite nicely and continued to spend time together when Orville decided to teach the group called the American Art Students Club of which Ethel was a member. Ethel eventually went back to America in 1913 and the couple married on Sept. 23, 1914. Orville was 30, while Ethel was 37, an uncommon occurrence in the early 1900s. The couple spent a few years together as newlyweds, but then the U.S. entered World War I on April 6, 1917. Orville went to fight in France while Ethel worked as an artist at the Woodstock Art Colony in Woodstock, N.Y.
Despite their separation, the couple tried to keep in touch over the next few years. Orville sent Ethel a military booklet that the French troops had given American troops to show their appreciation. He left the small message: “O.H. Peets to E.P.P (Ethel Poyntell Peets) Paris—1918.” Ethel had the endearing habit of getting her picture taken professionally and sending little handwritten notes with the photographs. One such note read “Orville—dear love—and every spot a kiss and have a Happy Christmas and think of me—write to me. I love you.”
It is obvious that the couple worked hard to maintain their connection and love, regardless of the Atlantic Ocean separating them. Shortly after Orville rejoined her, he received a commission from the Hispanic Society of America that took him abroad to Portugal and Spain for another three years. During that time he painted and etched many pieces displaying the culture and beauty of the two countries. Ethel remained at the art colony. However, the couple eventually reunited in Delaware and settled on Herring Creek near Lewes where they remained the rest of their lives. Ethel and Orville never had children.
The couple was very active in the Delaware artists’ scene. They were members of Howard Pyle’s circle of artists as well as belonging to the Wilmington Society of Fine Arts and the Rehoboth Art League. Ethel died in 1955 and Orville outlived his wife by 13 years until his death in 1968. Their legacy exists today because they left all of their worldly possessions, including their home, to their long-time friends Skipper and Til Purnell who donated the personal items to the state’s collections.
As you may surmise, the objects of the Peets Family Archive Collection allowed me to unveil the personal life and love of Ethel Canby Peets. More often than not, it is Ethel’s husband Orville who receives the recognition as a Delaware artist. However, Ethel was an astounding woman and an artist in her own right. I believe the collection is wonderful because it allows the researcher to imagine the life of a woman who studied and fell in love in Paris, over a hundred years ago. Ethel’s strength and drive to become an established and recognized artist in what had been a man’s world inspires me, while her love affair with Orville appeals to the hopeless romantic in me. I hope that when you study the collection, you discover for yourself what inspired and delighted me.
Amanda Svehla is currently a senior at Wesley College and will graduate in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in history. From 2015 to 2016, she served as an intern in the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Collections Program.
During the month of May 2016, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be offering 13 special programs at sites across the state. Except where noted, all programs are free and open to the public.
Highlights of the month include several programs presented from May 6 to 8 as part of the 83rd Annual Dover Days Festival which is dedicated to promoting the heritage and culture of the state of Delaware and its capital city. The theme for the 2016 festival is historic preservation as reflected in Preservation50, the United States’ multi-year celebration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The act has transformed the face of communities from coast to coast as it established the legal framework and incentives to preserve historic buildings, landscapes and archaeology.
In keeping with the historic-preservation theme, the division will be offering several programs celebrating the 1976 restoration of The Old State House which returned the venerable structure to its original 1791 appearance. Activities, which will take place at The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, include “There’s a Party in the House” on Friday, May 6 featuring 70s music and dancing; guided tours on Saturday, May 7 examining preservationist Mabel Lloyd Ridgely’s efforts in saving The Old State House from destruction; and the display “The Old State House: A True Restoration 1976-2016” which will be on-view beginning on May 4.
Other May activities of note include the ninth annual Symposium on the Early Colonial Archaeology of the Delaware Valley Region which will take place on Saturday, May 7 at the New Castle Court House Museum; and the fifth annual Zwaanendael Maritime Celebration: “A Sailor’s Life for Me” that will take place on Saturday, May 28 at the Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes.
Following is a complete listing of Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special programs taking place in May 2016:
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
“Preservation50—‘Preserving Sussex County History: The Green Book.’ ” Presentation by researcher Carlton Hall of the State Historic Preservation Office on the “Green Book,” a travel and vacation guidebook for people of color during the segregation era. The program will explore the stories of African-Americans of the last century and their challenges living through the Jim Crow laws in Delaware from the 1920s to the 1960s. Presented in partnership with the Laurel Historical Society and the Laurel Public Library in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Laurel Public Library, 101 E. Fourth St., Laurel. 6:30 p.m. 302-875-3184.
Friday, May 6, 2016
“There’s a Party in the House.” Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Old State House restoration. Dress in 1970s clothes and party like its 1976. Event includes music, refreshments, dancing and tours. Presented in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 6–8 p.m. 302-744-5054.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Dover Days at The Old State House. Guided tours celebrate the 40th anniversary of the restoration of The Old State House which took place during the nation’s bicentennial year. Part of the Dover Days Festival. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Ninth annual Symposium on the Early Colonial Archaeology of the Delaware Valley Region. Featuring informal presentations, the program is designed to build a regional-level dialog that can identify the uniqueness of the early Colonial cultures of the Delaware Valley. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-323-4453. To reserve a place, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
“Sounds of War: Patriotic Music.” Guided tours examine music’s influence during America’s wars when patriotic songs were composed throughout the nation. Hear music played on authentic Victor Talking Machines that was popularized during the Civil War and later recorded by the Victor Talking Machine Company. Part of the Dover Days Festival. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Dover Days at the John Dickinson Plantation. Celebrate the 60th anniversary of the John Dickinson Plantation as a museum! Activities include tours, Colonial games and hearth cooking utilizing 18th-century recipes. Part of the Dover Days Festival. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Dover Days at The Old State House. In celebration of Preservation50, guided tours examine preservationist Mabel Lloyd Ridgely’s efforts in saving The Old State House from destruction. Part of the Dover Days Festival. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
“Sounds of War: Patriotic Music.” Guided tours examine music’s influence during America’s wars when patriotic songs were composed throughout the nation. Hear music played on authentic Victor Talking Machines that was popularized during the Civil War and later recorded by the Victor Talking Machine Company. Part of the Dover Days Festival. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
“1774—The Continental-Congress Era Begins.” Lecture by historic-site interpreter Bob Vander Decker. Part five of “The Founding of America in One Year,” a year-long series that examines important local and national events that led to the founding of the United States. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. 7 p.m. 302-323-4453.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
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.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.
Friday, May 20, 2016
“Preservation50—‘African-American History in 20th Century Delaware: The Green Book.’ ” Presentation by researcher Carlton Hall of the State Historic Preservation Office on the “Green Book,” a travel and vacation guidebook for people of color during the segregation era. Presented in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Event co-sponsored by the city of Wilmington, Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Department of Planning’s Wilmington Preservation Roundtable. Third floor conference room, City of Wilmington offices, 800 N. French St., Wilmington. Noon. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-576-3107 no later than May 16.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
A Day in Old New Castle. The oldest house and garden tour in the nation includes programs at the New Castle Court House Museum and the New Castle Green. Downtown New Castle. Admission free at the New Castle Court House Museum. Admission charge at other venues. 302-322-5774.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Fifth Annual Zwaanendael Maritime Celebration: “A Sailor’s Life for Me.” Maritime-themed activities, games, displays by local organizations and more. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-645-1148.
Monday, May 30, 2016
Memorial Day. All museums of the State of Delaware will be open: The Johnson Victrola Museum and The Old State House, open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; the John Dickinson Plantation, New Castle Court House Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum, open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-736-7400.
Go to the following for a comprehensive, long-term calendar of division-sponsored events.
Members of the public are invited to attend the next meeting of the Delaware State Review Board for Historic Preservation which will take place on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. at The Old State House located at 25 The Green in Dover, Del. As part of the meeting, the review board will discuss three new nominations to the National Register of Historic Places: St. Paul’s African Methodist Episcopal Church in Harrington, 901 Mt. Lebanon Road in Rockland and the Cox-Phillips-Mitchell Agricultural Complex in Hockessin. Following the National Register presentations, the meeting will include Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs updates, a report on the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers annual meeting, and updates on Preservation 50. Due to limited spaces, attendees are encouraged to park their cars at the Delaware Public Archives located at 121 Martin Luther King Blvd. North in Dover.
In accordance with the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, this meeting is open to the public and copies of the minutes will be made available upon request in accordance with the law. Written comments should be submitted prior to the meeting date. Oral comments and questions will be invited during the meeting.
For additional information, please contact Madeline Dunn, National Register coordinator, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, 21 The Green, Dover, DE 19901 or telephone 302-736-7417.
Individuals needing reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act may call 302-736-7400 by Wednesday, April 6, 2016.