Due to anticipated heavy rain on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, the venue for the program “First People of the First State: 12,000 Years, 300 Years and One Year” has been moved from outdoors on the Dover Green to indoors at The Old State House. Following is updated information on the event:
Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017
“First People of the First State: 12,000 Years, 300 Years and One Year.” Seventh annual event featuring the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware as they celebrate their heritage and the first anniversary of their formal recognition as a tribe by the State of Delaware. Programs feature singing, drumming, dancing and demonstrations. First Saturday in the First State program. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Grand entry at Noon. Programs 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-744-5054.
By Valerie Kauffman, historic-site interpreter, Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
After coming to the Johnson Victrola Museum as a historic-site interpreter last year, I began researching the history of a number of recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company in the early part of the 20th century. One of my interests was in finding out about Victor’s recordings of Native-American music.
What I discovered was that about the same time that Victor was founded in 1901, ethnologists and musicologists were working diligently to transcribe and record authentic Native-American music and language for scholarly use and for the enjoyment of future generations. For example, in the late 1800s, American ethnologist Francis La Flesche, along with Alice Fletcher, recorded 60 cylinder-records of the Omaha Indians for the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution. Later, ethnomusicologists Natalie Curtis Burlin and Frances Densmore recorded thousands of cylinder records between them covering the American-Indian peoples known as Blackfeet, Chippewa, Hidatsa, Hopi, Mandan, Menominee, Papago, Pawnee, Pueblo, Seminole, Sioux and Winnebago; as well as the Kuna people of Panama.
In keeping with public interest in Indian culture, Victor Records released a number of recordings of authentic Native-American music as part of its educational marketing genre. These recordings include “Gambler’s Song” and “White Dog Song” by the Glacier Park Indians (Blackfeet Tribe) recorded on May 23, 1914; and “Chant of the Snake Dance” by the Hopi Indian Chanters recorded in 1926.
Also passionately interested in Native-American music were composers like Charles Wakefield Cadman and Thurlow Lieurance who made trips to Indian reservations and communities to research, transcribe and record what were called “Indian Melodies” for themselves. They used the uniquely American sound of these melodies to compose musical scores and even operas. Other composers who wrote Native-American–inspired music include Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Victor Herbert, Edward MacDowell and Charles Sanford Skilton.
In celebration of the Native-American-themed programming that is taking place at the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs museums in September 2017, I have gathered together a small sampling of Victor recordings by Cadman and Lieurance that were inspired by “Indian Melodies.” I hope you enjoy listening to them.
“Far Off I Hear a Lover’s Flute” by Charles Wakefield Cadman, recorded July 15, 1912
“From the Land of the Sky Blue Water” by Charles Wakefield Cadman, recorded Aug. 8, 1925
“By the Waters of Minnetonka” by Thurlow Lieurance, recorded on Nov. 16, 1917
“Sioux Flute Serenade” by Thurlow Lieurance, recorded on Nov. 16, 1917
During the week of July 17, 2017, Delaware State Historic Preservation Office archaeologist Craig Lukezic was in Minneapolis, Minn. for the summer meeting of the Transportation Resource Board’s Standing Committee on Historic and Archaeological Preservation in Transportation. The conference focused on the laws, regulations, policies and procedures for the preservation of historic structures and archeological materials, information and cultures. A division of the National Academies of Sciences, the Transportation Research Board provides innovative, research-based solutions that improve transportation.
Lukezic participated in the conference as a panelist for a session on developing programmatic agreements that streamline Section 106 transportation-related project-reviews while protecting historic properties in accordance with federal law. Along with Delaware Department of Transportation archaeologist Heidi Krofft, Lukezic discussed how Delaware’s 2013 programmatic agreement for highway projects builds on previous work and is based on trust between agencies and experience in negotiating good agreements.
Delaware was one of four states invited to send representatives from their state historic preservation offices to serve on this special panel which was organized by David Clarke, a former Delaware Department of Transportation environmental manager who now serves as the Federal Highway Administration’s federal preservation officer. Approximately 80 people attended the session.
Reflecting on his overall experiences at the conference, Lukezic noted the following:
–In general, the sessions highlighted a wide variety of innovative methods in managing the Section 106 process
–When consulting with Indian tribes, best practices include the need to develop deep, long-term personal relationships; developing a tribal summit where Native people can interact with each other and with representatives of their transportation departments; and developing personalized, targeted e-mails to various tribal communities
–Some states have succeeded in consultation with Indian tribes through best practices which include the need to develop deep, long-term personal relationships; developing a tribal summit where Native people can interact with each other and with representatives of their transportation departments; and developing personalized, targeted e-mails to various tribal communities
–Highway historians have many ways to envision a historic road. For example, a road in Colorado may be significant only on its engineering accomplishments, while a pre-World-War-One coastal highway in Oregon is important for the planned view-sheds. In contrast, Route 66 in the West and the Dixie Highway in Georgia are celebrated as a large-scale linear cultural phenomenon
–The Texas Department of Transportation’s cultural-resource team stands out as leaders in the successful use of media. They use archaeological investigations and other cultural resources as a successful public-relations campaign for the entire agency
–Delaware’s Department of Transportation should not be overshadowed by the transportation departments of large states. DelDOT currently employs an ethic of environmental stewardship that is present throughout the agency and which makes all the difference
Updated: Dec. 21, 2017
Applications are now being accepted for the following historic-preservation-related grants:
African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund
National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund grants are designed to advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places such as sites, museums, and landscapes representing African American cultural heritage. Grants will range from $50,000 to $150,000. Letters of intent for the program are due Jan. 31, 2018 by 11:59 p.m. local time.
The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring 23 special events during the month of September 2017 at the museums of the State of Delaware. Eight of the programs will explore the First State’s rich Native-American heritage and culture. A full schedule is included below. Except where noted, admission is free and open to the public.
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 “First People of the First State: 12,000 Years, 300 Years and One Year” that will be held in The Old State House and on the Dover Green on Sept. 2, 2017.
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special events, September 2017
Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017
“First People of the First State: 12,000 Years, 300 Years and One Year.” Seventh annual event featuring the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware as they celebrate their heritage and the first anniversary of their formal recognition as a tribe by the State of Delaware. Programs feature singing, drumming, dancing and demonstrations. First Saturday in the First State program. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Grand entry at Noon. Programs 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-744-5054. NOTE: Due to inclement weather, the event venue has been moved from the Dover Green to The Old State House.
Saturday, Sept 2 and Monday, Sept. 4, 2017
“Johnson Victrola Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebration: A Dog’s Tale.” Guided tours, entitled “Man’s Best Friend,” 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. Part of a series of programs celebrating the museum’s creation in 1967. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.
Monday, Sept. 4, 2017
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. 302-744-5054.
Monday, Sept. 4, 2017
“A Test of Time: What Does State Recognition Mean?” Elected Chief Dennis Coker will discuss the long process that led to the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware’s official status as a state-recognized Indian community. 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.
Wednesdays, Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2017
“Lost Off Lewes: The British Warship DeBraak.” Special tour explores 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 $10 (cash or check only). For reservations, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 302-645-1148.
Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017
“New Castle: Three Forts, One Community.” Opening of a new exhibit that examines the 17th-century struggle for control of New Castle by the Dutch, Swedes and English, and the strongholds that they built to maintain their power. All-day activities include Dutch and Swedish re-enactors and encampments; museum and exhibit tours; Swedish craft-activities for children; a walking tour of the site of Fort Casimir; on-board tours of the Kalmar Nyckel, a replica of one of the ships that brought the first Swedish settlers to what is now Delaware; and Dutch-, Swedish- and English-style refreshments. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free except $5 for Kalmar Nyckel tours. 302-323-4453.
Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017
“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. On The Green and in 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. 9, 2017
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.
Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017
“Hunting for Hudson: A Quest to Understand the Explorer and his Connection to the Delaware Bay.” Lecture by historic-site interpreter Kaitlyn Dykes. Part one of “Global to Local: International Events and the First State,” a six-part lecture series exploring the international events that shaped the First State. 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 for the lecture are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Sept. 8, 2017.
Saturdays, Sept. 16, 23 and 30, 2017
“Johnson Victrola Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.” Guided tours explore the museum and its collections during the golden anniversary of its creation in 1967, 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.
Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017
River Towns Ride and Festival. Festivals in historic New Castle and Delaware City frame a bicycling event between the two cities. Family-oriented festival held from 11:30 a.m.–5 p.m. at the New Castle Court House Museum and The Green in New Castle will feature food and craft beer; music; children’s games, amusements and crafts; face painting; hay rides; and merchant and craft vendors. Free shuttle between towns. 302-323-4453.
Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017
“Reflections From a Tribal Chief.” Tribal member and former Elected Chief Dick “Quiet Thunder” Gilbert speaks about his life, his community and his challenges growing up as a Lenape. 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. 23, 2017
“The Lenape Indian Tribe Today.” In an open forum, Lenape community members discuss contemporary issues facing Indian communities today and how that impacts other Delaware communities. 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. 23, 2017
“Nanticoke.” Lecture by Sterling Street, coordinator for the Nanticoke Indian Museum in Millsboro, Del. 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 for the lecture are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Sept. 22, 2017.
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017
“Native Ways.” Demonstrations and activities, presented by archeologists, modern practitioners and other experts, showcase ancient technologies and lifeways from Delaware spanning over 14,000 years. On The Green in front of The Old State House, Dover. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. 302-744-5054.
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017
“How Do You Know if You’re Indian?: Expressing Indian Identity.” Presentation by archeologist and ethnographer Dr. Cara Blume focuses on the use of archival and other research techniques to identify American Indian heritage. 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. 30, 2017
“A Dead Whale or a Stove Boat: The Early-American Whaling Industry.” Lecture by historic-site interpreter Andrew Lyter. Part two of “Global to Local: International Events and the First State,” a six-part lecture series exploring the international events that shaped the First State. Held in conjunction with Lewes’ annual Boast the Coast festival, the event will also feature a day-long slate of historical games and maritime-history activities. 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 for the lecture are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Sept. 29, 2017.
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017
National Estuaries Day Campfire Program. Presented in partnership with the St. Jones Reserve. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. 6–8 p.m. Admission free but reservations required by calling the St. Jones Reserve at 302-739-6377.
Administered by the Delaware 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 museums are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest recognition afforded to museums in the United States. 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 division-sponsored events.
The New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del., is currently featuring the exhibit “New Castle: Three Forts, One Community” which examines the 17th-century struggle for control of New Castle, Del. by the Dutch, Swedes and English, and the strongholds that they built to maintain their power.
About the three forts …
Modern-day New Castle traces its origin to the conflict between three great colonial powers—Netherlands, Sweden and England. From 1651 to 1681, these nations vied for control of the Delaware Valley and the profitable trade in natural resources with the region’s American-Indian inhabitants.
In response to the Swedish stronghold (Fort Christina) constructed at present-day Wilmington, the Dutch established a fortified settlement five miles to the south. For the next 30 years, the Dutch, Swedes and English would contest and occupy this outpost. Each nation would enforce its claim through a series of fortifications—Fort Casimir (Dutch), Fort Trinity (Swedish) and Fort New Castle (English).
These forts were an anchoring presence within the developing community and have not been completely lost to time. Archaeological excavations have found the site of Fort Casimir and recovered artifacts which are on display in the exhibit. To this day, the distinct cultural influences of the three colonial powers can still be found in New Castle.
“New Castle: Three Forts, One Community” was created by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Collections, Affiliates, Research and Exhibits (CARE) Team working together with the staff of the New Castle Court House Museum. The exhibit opened on Sept. 9, 2017 and will be on display for an undetermined period of time. Museum operating-hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-323-4453.
Constructed in 1732, the New Castle Court House is one of the oldest active court buildings in the United States and was Delaware’s first state capitol. Here, the Colonial Assembly passed the 1776 Separation Resolution creating the Delaware State. During its nearly 300 years of history, this landmark has played many pivotal roles in the political, social and commercial life of both New Castle and Delaware. Administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.
The John Dickinson Plantation, located at 340 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover, Del., will be closed on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 26 and 27, 2017, in support of “Thunder Over Dover,” the Dover Air Force Base’s Open House. The Plantation will re-open to the public on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 according to its normal operating schedule.
On Saturday Aug. 19, 2017 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, Del., will present “Doctor Who and William Penn,” a theatrical performance in which the Time Lord once again visits Dover, this time bringing his newest companion, William Penn, all the way from 1704 England. Over the course of the play, Penn discovers that no journey through time and space ever goes smoothly. Admission is free but visitors are encouraged to arrive early to ensure seating. For additional information, call 302-744-5054.
“Doctor Who and William Penn” was created by historic-site interpreters from The Old State House in celebration of the Dover Comic Con comic-book festival that will be held at a variety of Dover locations on Aug. 19, 2017. The play is based on the British science-fiction television program “Doctor Who” which depicts the adventures of a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship. His companion in the play, William Penn, was the founder of the colony of Pennsylvania who made his first landing in the New World at what is now New Castle, Del. in 1682 and who founded the town of Dover in 1683.
Completed in 1791, The Old State House is one of the oldest existing capitol buildings in the United States. It served as the home of Delaware’s legislature until 1933 when the General Assembly moved to larger quarters in Legislative Hall. The venerable structure now appears as it would have in the late 1700s during the United States’ critical early years as a nation. It features a courtroom, governor’s and county offices and chambers for the state’s Senate and House of Representatives. The building is situated on Dover’s historic Green, a public area laid out in 1717 in accordance with William Penn’s order of 1683. The Green is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.
By Madeline Dunn, Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ historian and National Register of Historic Places coordinator
On July 26, 2017, staff from the State Historic Preservation Office conducted a National Register research workshop at the Delaware Public Archives building in Dover. The workshop helped address one of the goals of Delaware’s statewide historic preservation plan for 2013 to 2017 which calls for expanding opportunities for public education to increase support for historic preservation, and continuing historical-research training for property owners. As part of the workshop, nine attendees, including property owners and volunteers, engaged in research activities associated with historic properties previously designated as potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Exploring a host of primary-research materials within the extensive collections of the Delaware Public Archives, participants reviewed deeds, wills, probate records, court-case files, education records and U.S. Census information. In addition to examining a myriad of archival records, participants also reviewed a variety of National Register issues including eligibility qualifications and criteria, functions, classifications, a glossary of terms, research requirements, as well as essential research questions. Throughout the day, staff from the Preservation Office assisted attendees with reading and interpreting historical documents while Archives staff helped participants navigate the facility’s archival collections and access miscellaneous resource materials.
Participants from all three counties learned about the rigors of conducting historical research; were impressed with the extensive collections housed within the Delaware Public Archives; and expressed determination to complete their research projects on selected historic properties including a country estate and a private residence in New Castle County, a historic school in Kent County, and a small farm complex and a beach cottage in Sussex County.