On Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Woodburn: The Governor’s Residence, located at 151 Kings Highway S.W. in Dover, Del., will host “Halloween Family Fun Day at Woodburn.” The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available on surrounding streets. In the event of inclement weather, all activities will be cancelled. For additional information or for notification of cancellation, call 302-739-5656 or e-mail Woodburn@state.de.us.
“Halloween Family Fun Day at Woodburn” will feature the following activities:
–Guided tours of Woodburn
Visitors will be guided through the public spaces of this 1798 home that has served as the official residence of Delaware’s governors since 1965
Guests will learn how children amused themselves in the 1700s including playing games like hoop and stick, graces, quoits, ninepins, and badminton; and enjoying the folk toys jacob’s ladder and bilbo catcher
Visitors can create their own scented sachet filled with herbs and spices
Guests can decorate pumpkins; make a Tootsie-Roll-Pop spider, pumpkin or ghost; create a Halloween card or bookmark; make a pom-pom pencil; or decorate a Halloween mask
Located at 151 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., Woodburn is one of Delaware’s most historic homes and an outstanding example of late-18th-century Georgian architecture. The house was built in 1798 by Charles Hillyard, III (1759–1814), a fourth-generation Delawarean from a family of affluent landowners who were frequently active in the governmental, social and economic life of Kent County. Woodburn has served as the home of Delaware’s governor since it was purchased by the state in 1965. It was listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has been responsible for the care and conservation of Woodburn since August 2009. The division’s charge includes repair and maintenance of the building; design and upkeep of the property’s garden and horticultural displays; and furnishing of the home.
Written on: October 12th, 2017 in News
During an all-staff event that took place on Oct. 5, 2017 at the Buena Vista Conference Center in New Castle, employees and volunteers of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs celebrated their recent accomplishments and examined future plans.
Division director Tim Slavin kicked off the program by expressing his pride in the agency’s recent accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums and discussing plans for a publicity campaign to help residents and visitors become more aware of the seal of approval that accreditation brings to the agency’s programs and services.
Leaders of the division’s teams discussed recent accomplishments and works in progress including the following:
–A comprehensive inventory of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections which is currently in progress
–Creation of a new agency logo
–Upgrades completed on CHRIS, the State Historic Preservation Office’s geographic information system
–Work is in progress on the creation of a new statewide Historic Preservation Plan
–The division’s accounting system upgraded
–Work is in progress on the restoration of Buena Vista’s pole barn and the replacement of the New Castle Academy roof
–Creation of the exhibit, “New Castle: Three Forts, One Community,” at the New Castle Court House Museum
–Plans for programs celebrating the 250th anniversary of John Dickinson’s “Letters From a Farmer in Pennsylvania”
–The Zwaanendael Museum’s maritime celebration, “A Sailor’s Life for Me,” which attracted more than 1,000 visitors over the 2017 Memorial Day weekend
Slavin also took the opportunity to present staff service-awards to Gloria Henry, site supervisor of the John Dickinson Plantation, for 25 years of service; horticulturalist Ken Roy for 20 years; and deputy director Suzanne Savery for five years. Extra Mile awards were presented to Ed Gillespie for emergency delivery of supplies to Buena Vista, and to the staff of the State Historic Preservation Office for its work on developing the State Historic Preservation Plan.
Finally, the meeting concluded with a presentation on best practices in the use of social media by Hannah Ostroff, social-media manager for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and a graduate of Dover High School.
Written on: October 12th, 2017 in News
In a ceremony held on Sept. 29, 2017 at The Old State House in Dover, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs honored its longtime physical-plant maintenance superintendent Manuel “Manny” Carrar who retired after 28 years of service to the agency.
More than 50 of Carrar’s friends, family and co-workers turned out for the ceremony which included the reading of tributes from the Delaware House of Representatives and Senate and several humorous recollections provided by division colleagues.
In one instance, Gloria Henry, site supervisor of the John Dickinson Plantation, recalled that she had contacted Carrar about a suspicious package left in the plantation’s mailbox which she had subsequently thrown into the trash dumpster. After Carrar’s arrival on the scene—along with a bomb-detection unit—Manny calmly noted, “You know they [the bomb-detection unit] are going to blow up that dumpster.” Taken aback, Henry watched incredulously as a robot rolled up to the dumpster and carefully placed an explosive device inside. After exploding the device, the detection unit investigated the scene and determined that no bomb had been present.
Current physical-plant maintenance supervisor Ed Gillespie recalled how Carrar had instructed maintenance staff on how to gather diagnostic information when calls came in about malfunctioning equipment. Noting that problems have their own characteristic sounds, Carrar cautioned staff to be very careful in differentiating between these noises adding, “plunk-plunk is not clunk-clunk.”
Manny Carrar was born in New York City and moved to Dover in 1970 after his father retired from the U.S. Air Force. After graduating from Dover High School, he attended trades school for welding and HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) and worked for several years in those fields, and in building construction, before joining the division in 1989. As the agency’s physical-plant maintenance supervisor, he was responsible for coordinating the work of a large contingent of trades people, contractors and vendors in maintaining, repairing and preserving the nearly 90 structures administered by the division. In the later years of his career, Manny took the lead in supervising several large-scale projects including the replacement of the roofs of the New Castle Academy and the New Castle Court House Museum, and the restoration of The Old State House in Dover and the Old Sussex County Court House in Georgetown.
In retirement, Manny and his wife Patty will remain in their longtime home in Cheswold, Del. where he will continue to serve as a member of the town’s volunteer fire department. The couple are also looking forward to spending more time with their three children and four grandchildren.
-“Who Did In the Delaware Ducks?” and “Mysteries of History” to be featured-
During October 2017, the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., will present two Halloween-related programs.
On Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 at 2 p.m., the museum will present the theatrical murder-mystery, “Who Did In the Delaware Ducks?” Created by Zwaanendael Museum staff, the play is based on an actual case that was recorded in the “Court Records of Sussex County, Del., 1677–1710.” In that case, from June 1687, Arthur Starr, a resident of Second St. in Lewes, discovered that two of his ducks had been deliberately killed. As part of the play, museum visitors will serve as detectives, meeting the alleged perpetrator and searching for clues to determine who committed this heinous crime. Guests of all ages will enjoy participating in this historical whodunit.
“Who Did In the Delaware Ducks?” will be presented outside on the museum’s grounds or, in case of inclement weather, inside on the museum’s 2nd floor (entry via staircase; no elevator). Admission is free but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Oct. 20, 2017.
In the second program, “Mysteries of History,” historic-site-interpreter Beth Gott will lead walking tours that explore the unusual tombstones of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church graveyard in Lewes. Tours will depart from the Zwaanendael Museum on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Participation is free but, due to space restrictions, reservations for the tours are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Oct. 27, 2017.
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.
In a ceremony at the New Castle Court House Museum on Oct. 5, 2017, Gov. John Carney celebrated the American Alliance of Museums’ accreditation of Delaware’s state-museum system, the highest recognition afforded to museums in the United States. Administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the system includes five museums as well as the archaeological and historic-objects collections curated by the state.
“I can’t think of anything more important than ‘Saving Delaware History,’ said Carney referring to the division’s motto. In congratulating Director Tim Slavin and the staff of the division for achieving accreditation, Carney noted that “the rich history on display in our state’s museums ties us together as a community and enhances the quality of life here for Delawareans and for those who visit Delaware. We’ve always known that these institutions and the dedicated folks who run them are top notch. Now we have a true seal of approval that assures all of us that we can count on a rewarding experience when we visit Delaware’s state museums.”
Speaking of the difficulty of the challenge facing the division, state Sen. David McBride noted that the agency had been able to work its way through the accreditation process during “extremely difficult financial times for the State of Delaware. It’s a great achievement.”
Developed and sustained by museum professionals, the American Alliance of Museums’ accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. It strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely and remain financially and ethically accountable in order to provide the best possible service to the public.
Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, approximately 1,000 currently are accredited. Delaware’s state museums join only two other museums accredited in Delaware, Hagley Museum and Library and Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.
Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation, a museum must first conduct a year of self-study and then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. An independent and autonomous body of museum professionals then considers the self-study and visiting-committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation.
The New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del., will be presenting four history-related programs during the month of October 2017. For information, call 302-323-4453.
In its opening program of the Halloween season, the museum will present “Shakespeare, Poe and Fiends” on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. The program features members of Delaware Shakespeare reading selections from the works of two masters of the macabre—William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe. Tickets are $18.50 and are available online at www.delshakes.org.
In its second Halloween-themed program, the court house will present “The Spirit of New Castle Past,” an original play by historic-site interpreter David Price that explores figures from the dark side of New Castle history including a founder, a loose woman, a fire bug, a murderess, a politician, a soldier, a diplomat and a very scared head-teller. The play will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 21, both at 7 p.m. Admission is free but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-323-4453. Patrons must be in their seats no later than 6:50 p.m. No admission after the play begins.
Finally, on Saturday, Oct. 28, the museum will present “William Penn Day,” a full day of programs commemorating the 335th anniversary of Penn’s disembarkment at New Castle, his first landing in the New World. Activities will include the historical plays “Livery of Seizen” and “The Tryal of William Penn”; historical re-enactor Jean Norvell portraying Hannah Penn; a concert by De Blokfluiters recorder/flute ensemble; and a Baroque harpsichord and flute evening concert. Admission is free and open to the public.
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. The museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.
During the month of October 2017, visitors to Dover, Del.’s John Dickinson Plantation can enjoy two special programs that explore 18th-century trades and pastimes that might have taken place at the property during the lifetime of the “Penman of the Revolution.” For additional information, call 302-739-3277.
In the first program, “18th Century Trades Day,” which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., visitors will have an opportunity to get their hands dirty by making bricks out of clay, preserving food in the smokehouse, weaving a rug on a loom, watching a blacksmith forge iron and learning peg and shingle making. Admission is free.
In the second program, “Lantern Tours of the Plantation,” which will take place on Friday, Oct. 27, guests will explore the parties, games, and entertainment that would have abounded at the plantation during the nighttime in the 18th century. Tours will take place between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. and again between 7 and 8 p.m. and will include wagon-rides conducted by staff of the St. Jones Reserve exploring the nocturnal life of the estuary, a performer singing sea shanties in the garden, and special tours of the mansion house. Activities will conclude with a campfire in front of the plantation’s log’d dwelling. Admission is free, but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling the plantation at 302-739-3277 no later than Oct. 26.
The John Dickinson Plantation, Delaware’s first National Historic Landmark, was the boyhood home of John Dickinson, a founding father of the United States, a framer and signer of the U.S. Constitution and “Penman of the Revolution.” The Georgian-style mansion stands as a memorial to this American patriot, legislator and farmer. The museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.
On Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., a consortium of historical and preservation organizations including the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ State Historic Preservation Office will present the Delaware Historic Cemetery Preservation Workshop, a day of expert presentations providing practical advice for those concerned with the preservation and maintenance of historic burial places in the First State.
Topics will include the history of memorializing the dead, cemetery site-mapping and recording, monument recording and preservation, vegetation identification and management, state cemetery programs, the archaeology of cemeteries and a cemetery tour with on-site identification and diagnosis of common problems.
Registration is $40 per adult/$25 per student and includes workshop attendance, beverages, continental breakfast, coffee break, deluxe lunch, and afternoon snack freshly prepared by La Baguette of Dover. A limited number of reduced-fee scholarships are available.
The Delaware Historic Cemetery Preservation Workshop is sponsored by the Archaeological Society of Delaware; Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ State Historic Preservation Office; Delaware Public Archives; Delaware State Parks’ Time Travelers Program; Friends of Old Dover; Friends of the African Union Church Cemetery; National Park Service, Northeast Region, Monument Research and Preservation Program; Preservation Delaware; and the University of Delaware’s Center for Historic Architecture and Design.