The New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del., is currently featuring “The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware,” a display that examines the First State’s role in the pre-Civil War network of secret routes and safe houses used by black slaves in the United States to escape to free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. Admission is free and open to the public. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. For additional information, call 302-323-4453.
The core of the display revolves around the true story of the Hawkins family and their 1845 journey from bondage in Maryland, through Delaware, to freedom in Pennsylvania. The display also examines the federal trial, held in the New Castle Court House in 1848, which resulted in the conviction of abolitionists John Hunn and Thomas Garrett on charges of violating the Federal Fugitive Slave Act for their efforts in aiding and abetting the Hawkins family in its escape.
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.
Go to the following for a full listing of exhibits and displays at the museums of the State of Delaware.
Go to the following for a comprehensive, long-term calendar of events sponsored by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.