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  Archived Posts From: 2016

news

Kara Briggs joins the division staff as an architectural historian

Written on: August 25th, 2016 in NewsPreservation

On Aug. 8, 2016, Kara Briggs joined the staff of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ State Historic Preservation Office as an architectural historian. She is based at the division’s main office located at 21 The Green in Dover.

Kara Briggs

Kara Briggs

Briggs’ responsibilities at the division include conducting cultural-resource reviews of federally funded or permitted projects for Section 106 compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act for historical and architectural properties; providing coordination services with state designated certified local governments; and oversight of division-held historic-preservation easements including monitoring and enforcement of easement provisions, technical assistance to property owners and negotiation and completion of new easements.

Briggs holds a master’s degree in urban affairs and public policy with a concentration in historic preservation from the University of Delaware where she also earned certificates in museum studies and human-subjects training. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interior design from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Her varied work experience includes service as a consulting architectural historian and projects manager for several private companies; as collections manager and research assistant for the University of Delaware’s Center for Historic Architecture and Design; as an exhibit designer and curator of collections for the Historical Society of Delaware; as collections-management curator for the Andrew Low House in Savannah, Ga.; and as site supervisor for the division’s John Dickinson Plantation where she worked from 2001 to 2002. Briggs is the author of “Images of America: Forty Acres” about the Wilmington neighborhood where she lives.

Forty Acres

 


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exhibits

Division’s exhibit of World War II photographs at Middletown Historical Society closed on July 21, 2017

Written on: August 24th, 2016 in ExhibitsNewsVolunteerism

-Exhibit closed on July 21, 2017-

“World War II Through the Lens of William D. Willis: a photographic exhibit” was on display from August 2016 through July 21, 2017 at the Middletown Historical Society located at 216 N. Broad St. in Middletown, Del.

Photograph of servicemen playing volleyball from “World War II Through the Lens of William D. Willis: a photographic exhibit."

Photograph of servicemen playing volleyball from “World War II Through the Lens of William D. Willis: a photographic exhibit.”

Images featured in the exhibit were selected from the William D. Willis World War II Photographic Collection which includes more than 600 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. The collection surfaced after Willis’ 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.

Several photographs from the collection had been presented to the public through a series of displays created by the division’s Collections, Affiliates, Research and Exhibits (CARE) Team and exhibited at Legislative Hall in Dover between March 2015 and February 2016. Photographs from these displays were combined to create “World War II Through the Lens of William D. Willis: a photographic exhibit” that was on view at the Seaford Historical Society between Feb. 13 and May 31, 2016.

The exhibit featured selected Willis photographs augmented by related items of local interest supplied by the society and by private lenders including household objects that focus on Delaware’s contributions to the home front, gardening tools that highlight victory gardens, and sporting- and game-items that helped to provide popular recreational activities on military bases. The exhibit was organized according to the following topics: William D. Willis’ military service as a photo technician, war production, Delaware’s wartime contribution to the homefront, agriculture, military base life, and United Service Organizations (USO) shows.

Photograph of “chow” entertainment from “World War II Through the Lens of William D. Willis: a photographic exhibit."

Photograph of “chow” entertainment from “World War II Through the Lens of William D. Willis: a photographic exhibit.”

William D. Willis (1919–2001) was born 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

William D. Willis

The division’s partnerships with the Seaford and Middletown historical societies are components of the agency’s 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. “World War II Through the Lens of William D. Willis: a photographic 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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archaeology

Free admission beginning Aug. 31, 2016 for “Lost off Lewes: The British warship DeBraak”

Written on: August 24th, 2016 in ArchaeologyEventsMuseumsNews

-Tours explore the surviving hull section of an 18th-century shipwreck-

Beginning on Aug. 31, 2016 and continuing through Sept. 29, 2016, admission is free for “Lost off Lewes: The British warship DeBraak,” guided tours that explore the 18th-century history, artifacts and the surviving hull section of His Majesty’s Sloop DeBraak, a British warship that was escorting and protecting a convoy of merchant ships en route to the United States when it was capsized and lost off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798. Free tours will take place at 9 a.m. on the following Wednesdays and Thursdays: Aug. 31; and Sept. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29, 2016. Previously, admission charge for the tours, which began on June 8, 2016, had been $10 per person.

Lost off Lewes faux newspaper article.

 

Each tour begins at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., where a lecture on the ship will be presented in conjunction with the exhibit “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World.” Participants will learn about the history, crew and sinking of the DeBraak through a guided presentation and display of actual artifacts. Attendees will then be transported, via van, to the DeBraak conservation facility to see the ship’s surviving hull section.

Visitors enjoying a tour of the DeBraak hull which can be seen in the left of the photo.

Visitors enjoying a tour of the DeBraak hull which can be seen in the left of the photo.

Each tour will last approximately two hours. Individuals age 10 and up are welcome. Space is limited to 12 participants per tour. Admission for the tours is free but, due to space restrictions, reservations are recommended via the Shop Delaware website (go to http://shop.delaware.gov and click on “Tours” in the “Categories” column). Walk-ups are welcome but space is not guaranteed. For questions, call 302-645-1148.

Significance of DeBraak …

During the late-18th and early-19th centuries, sloops of war such as DeBraak played an increasingly important role in Royal Navy campaigns. These relatively small vessels combined speed, agility, shallow draft and increased firepower, all of which made them formidable naval vessels. As the only Royal Navy sloop of war from this time period that has been recovered anywhere in the world, DeBraak serves as an invaluable historical resource for a time when Great Britain was the world’s preeminent naval power.

Artistic rendition of the capsizing of the DeBraak by Peggy Kane, 1990.

Artistic rendition of the capsizing of the DeBraak by Peggy Kane, 1990.

The surviving section of the DeBraak’s hull and its associated artifact collection have been curated by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs since they were acquired by the state of Delaware in 1992. Approximately one-third of the hull survives including the keel, keelson and lower framing elements, including a large section of the starboard (right) side.

About the Zwaanendael Museum …

The Zwaanendael Museum was built in 1931 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the state’s first European colony, Swanendael, established by the Dutch along Hoorn Kill (present-day Lewes-Rehoboth Canal) in 1631. Designed by E. William Martin (architect of Legislative Hall and the Hall of Records in Dover), the museum is modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands, and features a stepped facade gable with carved stonework and decorated shutters. The museum’s exhibits and presentations provide a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military and social history.

DeBraak tour participants listening to a presentation at the Zwaanendael Museum. The exhibit “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World” is in the background.

DeBraak tour participants listening to a presentation at the Zwaanendael Museum. The exhibit “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World” is in the background.

 


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events

Native-American heritage to be spotlighted at division museums during September 2016

Written on: August 17th, 2016 in EventsMuseumsNews

Updated: Sept. 13, 2016

The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring 24 special events during the month of September 2016 at the museums of the state of Delaware. Six of the programs will explore the First State’s rich Native-American heritage and culture. A full schedule is included below. Admission to all the listed events is free.

Lenape fancy dancer. The Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware will be celebrating its heritage with drums, songs and dancing on Sept. 3, 2016.

Lenape fancy dancer. The Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware will be celebrating its heritage with drums, songs and dancing on Sept. 24, 2016.

According to Nena Todd, site supervisor for the state’s downtown Dover museums, “September is a time for Native-American people to gather in their homelands. Traditionally, the coming of cooler weather provided a signal for native peoples to transition from a summer of hunting and fishing to more secure winter lodgings.” This tradition of seasonal gathering continues in today’s Native-American communities with September serving as a time when families come together to honor their heritage with events such as the “The First People of the First State: A Lenape Celebration of Heritage” that will be held on the Dover Green on Sept. 24, 2016.

Administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the five museums of the state of Delaware—the John Dickinson Plantation, the Johnson Victrola Museum, the New Castle Court House Museum, The Old State House and the Zwaanendael Museum—tell the story of the First State’s contributions to the history and culture of the United States. Through tours, exhibits, school programs and hands-on activities, the museums shine a spotlight on Delaware’s unique history and the diverse people who came to live there. The New Castle Court House Museum and the John Dickinson Plantation are partner sites of the First State National Historical Park. The Old State House is located on the Dover Green, another partner site of the park. Go to the following for a comprehensive, long-term calendar of events sponsored by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special events, September 2016

Wednesdays and Thursdays, Aug. 31, Sept. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29, 2016
Lost Off Lewes: The British Warship DeBraak.” Special tours explore the 18th-century history, artifacts and the surviving hull section of this shipwreck. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 9 a.m. Limited seating. Admission free by reservation only through the Shop Delaware website (go to http://shop.delaware.gov/ and click on “Tours” in the “Categories” column). For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016
“Man’s Best Friend.” Guided tours explore one of the most celebrated canines in the world—Nipper, the dog who adorns the Victor trademark, “His Masters Voice.” Programs will be accompanied by 78-rpm records 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. 302-739-3262.

Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016
“Trades of the Plantation: Plaster-Casting.” Each Saturday in September the plantation will explore a different 18th-century trade. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
Labor 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.

Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
“Man’s Best Friend.” Guided tours explore one of the most celebrated canines in the world—Nipper, the dog who adorns the Victor trademark, “His Masters Voice.” Programs will be accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

"Nipper Corner” at the Johnson Victrola Museum. The celebrated canine will be explored in programs on Sept. 3 and 5, 2016.

“Nipper Corner” at the Johnson Victrola Museum. The celebrated canine will be explored in programs on Sept. 3 and 5, 2016.

Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
“Post Cards of Dover.”
Bill Burton gives visitors a chance to revisit “Old Dover” through his collection of vintage Kent County postcards. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 11 a.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
“The Long Road to Recognition.” Elected Chief Dennis Coker will discuss the long process that led to a unanimous vote in the Delaware House and Senate to recognize the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware after 240 years. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016
“Trades of the Plantation: Weaving.” Each Saturday in September the plantation will explore a different 18th-century trade. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016
“Delaware State Parks: Time Travelers.” Archaeologist John McCarthy will discuss Delaware State Parks’ “Time Travelers” program which provides young people with the hands-on experience of an archaeological excavation. In celebration of the “The First People of the First State,” McCarthy will also discuss some of the significant Native American archaeological sites found within Delaware’s parks. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 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.

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016
“1779-1780: War and Politics.” Lecture by historic-site interpreter Bob Vander Decker. Part nine 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, Sept. 17, 2016
“Trades of the Plantation: Blacksmithing.” Each Saturday in September the plantation will explore a different 18th-century trade. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016
Spoken-word performances on Delaware’s Native Americans. Latest installment in the “Listen Up!” spoken-word series features local youth utilizing poetry, theater, dance and song to create compositions that celebrate Delaware’s Native-American people. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Performances at Noon and 2:30 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054. Note: This program was rescheduled from Sept. 3, 2016.  

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016
“We ARE Still Here!” As part of a discussion about his book, “We Are Still Here!: The Tribal Saga of New Jersey’s Nanticoke and Lenape Indians,” the Rev. Dr. John R. Norwood examines the most popular misconceptions about Native-American people and their existence in today’s society. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
“The First People of the First State: A Lenape Celebration of Heritage.”
Sixth annual celebration featuring the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware as they honor mother earth and Native-American culture with dancing and demonstrations from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; “Digging for Old Delaware” and “Native American Games and Amusements” from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; grand entry at Noon; flint-knapping lesson at 1 p.m.; “Surviving Invasion: The First People of the First State” lecture by Dr. Cara Blume at 1:30 p.m.; and cordage-making class at 2 p.m. On The Green and in the John Bell House and The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.
Note: This program was rescheduled from Sept. 3, 2016.  

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
“Trades of the Plantation: Smokehouse.” Each Saturday in September the plantation will explore a different 18th-century trade. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Historic-site interpreters in front of the John Dickinson Plantation smokehouse.

Historic-site interpreters in front of the John Dickinson Plantation smokehouse.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
“Songs and Stories: Oral Traditions of Delaware’s Native Peoples.” Presentation by historic-site interpreter Kaitlyn Dykes on Delaware’s native peoples through their own words. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Program at 2 p.m. on the museum’s 2nd floor (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Sept. 23, 2016.


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