On Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, the New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del., will present “William Penn Day,” a day-long series of activities commemorating the 336th anniversary Penn’s Oct. 27, 1682 disembarkment at New Castle, his first landing in the New World. Admission for all programs is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-323-4453.
William Penn Day 2018 schedule of activities
— Livery of Seisin ceremony. Historical interpreters Bob Vander Decker, David Price and New Castle resident Jim Whisman as William Penn, re-enact the ceremony in which the town of New Castle, and a 12-mile circle of land surrounding it, were conveyed to William Penn by appointed representatives of the Duke of York. 10:15 a.m.
— “1670 Tryal of William Penn.” Historical play about the 1670 trial of William Penn (portrayed by Jim Whisman) who was accused of unlawful assembly and inciting a mob by preaching to a group of Quakers on a London street. Issues of religious freedom and the rights of a jury are explored in this 30-minute performance. Audience members may participate in the trial as witnesses and as members of the jury. 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
— “The Proprietress of Pennsylvania and Delaware—Hannah Penn.” Living-history performance by New Castle resident Jean Norvell as Mrs. William Penn. 1 p.m.
— The Delaware Music School’s Suzuki Violins. Performance by young violinists. 2:30 p.m.
— Baroque music concert. Featuring Julianna Castillo, viola, and Ian Gaadt, violin. 6 p.m.
— Tours of the New Castle Court House Museum. Between performances from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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 National Historic Landmark has played pivotal roles in the political, social and commercial life of both New Castle and Delaware. The museum is administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs and is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.
During the month of October 2018, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring 16 special programs at sites across the state. A full schedule is included below. Except where noted, all programs are free and open to the public.
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special events, October 2018
Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018
“Early 1900s Music Education.” Accompanied by 78-rpm recordings played on authentic Victor Talking Machines, guided tours will examine the history of the Victor Talking Machine Company Education Department founded by Frances Clark in 1911. The department’s mission was to take music-appreciation courses to the rural schools and to standardize music education. 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, Oct. 6, 2018
“Independence or the Bayonet: The Life and Times of Caesar Rodney.” Historical theater, presented in partnership with the Caesar Rodney High School Stage Crew & Thespians and the First State Heritage Park, explores the patriot who dedicated his life to serving his beloved Delaware. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Performances at 11 a.m.; and 1, 3 and 5 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Admission is free but, due to limited seating, reservations are strongly recommended by calling 302-302-739-9194. For information on The Old State House, call 302-744-5054.
Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018
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 Noon–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.
Monday, Oct. 8, 2018
Columbus Day. The Old State House will be open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The following museums will be closed: The John Dickinson Plantation, Johnson Victrola Museum, New Castle Court House Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum. 302-744-5054.
Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018
“Shakespeare, Poe and Fiends—A Night of Readings From the Dark Side.” Delaware Shakespeare presents dramatic readings for the Halloween season. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $18 available online at www.delshakes.org. 302-323-4453.
Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018
“Queenstown and the Early Colonial Delmarva: An Archaeological and Historical Symposium.” 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 email@example.com.
Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018
“18th Century Trades Day.” Experience occupations of the 1700s including getting your hands dirty by preserving food in the smokehouse, dyeing cloth, weaving a rug on a loom and making bricks out of clay. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.
Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018
“The Battle of the Chesapeake.” Multi-media presentation by historic-site interpreter Tom Welch on how the French fleet under Adm. de Grasse paved the way for the surrender of Gen. Cornwallis at Yorktown and the ultimate victory for the American forces over the British. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.
Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018
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.
Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018
“Shakespeare, Poe and Fiends—A Night of Readings From the Dark Side.” Delaware Shakespeare presents dramatic readings for the Halloween season. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 3 p.m. Museum open 1:30–4:30 p.m. Tickets $18 available online at www.delshakes.org. 302-744-5054.
Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018
Lecture on the Lenapé Indian Tribe of Delaware. Program by Nena Todd, supervisor of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ downtown Dover museums, and Theo Braunskill, Lenapé Council member. Part of “Across the Ages to the Edge of the Sea,” a lecture series exploring the history of the Lewes area from the 17th to the 20th centuries. 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 Oct. 19, 2018.
Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018
Delaware State Review Board for Historic Preservation annual business meeting. Agenda to include review of two nominations to the National Register of Historic Places—Taylors’ Bridge School (New Castle County) and the Richard Allen School (Georgetown). The Delaware Room, Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dover. 10 a.m.–Noon. 302-736-7417.
Friday, Oct. 26, 2018
“Lantern Tours of the Plantation.” Programs explore the parties, games, dances and entertainment that would have abounded at the plantation during the nighttime in the 18th century. Activities will also include wagon-ride guided-tours conducted by staff of the St. Jones Reserve exploring the nocturnal life of the estuary. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Programs 5:30–6:30 p.m. and 7–8 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling the John Dickinson Plantation at 302-739-3277 no later than Oct. 25, 2018.
Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018
William Penn Day. Day-long series of programs commemorating the 336th anniversary of Penn’s disembarkment at New Castle, his first landing in the New World. Activities include a re-enactment of the Livery of Seisin ceremony at 10:15 a.m. in which Penn received possession of New Castle and a 12-mile circle of land surrounding it; “1670 Tryal of William Penn,” a historical play exploring Penn’s trial on religious freedom and the rights of English subjects under the law at 11:30 and 3:30 p.m.; “The Proprietress of Pennsylvania and Delaware—Hannah Penn,” a performance by historical re-enactor Jean Norvell at 1 p.m.; a performance by the Delaware Music School’s Suzuki Violins at 2:30 p.m.; a Baroque violin concert at 6 p.m.; and museum tours between performances from 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. 302-323-4453.
Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018
“Governor’s Halloween Family Fun Fest.” Activities will include tours of the home, games and crafts. Woodburn: The Governor’s Residence, 151 Kings Highway S.W., Dover. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Free admission. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018
“Mysteries of History.” Walking tours explore the unusual tombstones of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church graveyard in Lewes. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Tours leaves from the museum at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations for the tours are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Oct. 26, 2018.
Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018
“Trick-or-Treat at Woodburn.” Gov. John Carney and first lady Tracey Carney will be giving out candy to trick-or-treaters who knock on the door. Woodburn: The Governor’s Residence, 151 Kings Highway S.W., Dover. 5– 8 p.m. Trick-or-treaters welcome regardless of any adverse weather conditions. Free admission. For additional information, call 302-739-5656 or e-mail email@example.com.
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 museums are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. 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.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, visitors to the home of the “Penman of the Revolution” will explore Colonial-era job opportunities during the “18th Century Trades Day” that will take place between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the John Dickinson Plantation located at 340 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover, Del. All activities are free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-739-3277.
“18th Century Trades Day” will provide opportunities to dye cloth 1700s-style, preserve food in the smokehouse, weave a rug on a loom, mold bricks out of clay, and watch a carpenter at work and learn how wooden shingles and pegs were made. In addition, tours of the 1740 mansion house will be conducted throughout the day.
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 administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs and is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.
The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs notes, with sadness, the passing of Curt Stickel, a former historic-site interpreter who served at The Old State House and the Delaware Archaeology Museum in Dover between 2002 and 2013. Stickel, who was 66 years old, died on Sept. 1, 2018. Several members of the division staff were in attendance at his memorial service which took place in Milford, Del. on Sept. 14.
Charles Curtis Stickel was born in Wilmington, Del. in 1952 and graduated from Claymont High School in 1970. He later earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in liberal studies. A passionate thespian, Stickel was active for many years in writing, directing and acting in theatrical productions by the Milford Second Street Players.
After a 30-year career teaching English and theater in Milford, Stickel joined the division staff as a historic-site interpreter at The Old State House where he was actively involved in conducting tours of the museum, as well as creating plays and serving as a historical re-enactor portraying a wide variety of characters including noted Delawareans Gunning Bedford Jr., one of the founding fathers of the United States, and Dr. James Tilton, the nation’s first surgeon general of the Army.
Tom Welch, who played Allen McLane opposite Stickel’s Gunning Bedford in the Old State House play “A Day with Bedford and McLane,” noted that “Everyone who worked with Curt had the utmost respect for him. He was an incredibly creative, congenial and dynamic person who will be greatly missed.”
Old State House site supervisor Nena Todd commented on Stickel’s ability to command the attention of an audience, a talent that she attributes to his years in the theater. He was my role model when it came to historical interpretation,” she noted. “He knew how to project his voice to a large group and taught me how to tell a story in an exciting way. On top of that, he had a great sense of humor. … I’ll always have the fondest memories of my time working with him.”
Go to the following for more information on the life of Curt Stickel.
Due to Hurricane-Florence-related cancellations by panelists who would have been traveling from the Carolinas, the program “The First People of the First State: ‘Deciphering American Indian DNA’ ” has been cancelled. The program had been scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 at The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, Del. Following is information on the original event:
Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018
CANCELLED: “The First People of the First State: ‘Deciphering American Indian DNA.’ ” Program explores the implications of DNA testing from a Native American perspective. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-744-5054.
Due to anticipated heavy wind and rainfall, the venues for Lewes, Del.’s Chautauqua, “All Aboard: Delaware and the Railroad,” taking place from Sept. 13 to 15, 2018, have been moved indoors from tents on the grounds of the Zwaanendael Museum and the Lewes History Museum.
With one exception, all programs will now take place at the Margaret H. Rollins Community Center located at 101 Adams Ave., Lewes, Del. Note: Due to a scheduling conflict, the program “Model Railroading Today,” presented by John Hodges, president of the Delaware Seaside Model Railroad Club, will take place from 2:15 to 3 p.m. at the Lewes Public Library, 111 Adams Ave., Lewes.
Admission for all programs is free and open to the public. Go to the following for a complete listing of activities. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.
All Aboard: Delaware and the Railroad” is co-sponsored by the Zwaanendael Museum, the Lewes Historical Society and the Lewes Chamber of Commerce, and is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities Forum, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Zwaanendael museum is administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware.