During an end-of-year event that took place on Dec. 17, 2018 at the Bowers Beach Fire Hall, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs thanked its employees and volunteers for making 2018 a successful year for the agency.
Division Director Tim Slavin began the program by welcoming consultant Kathleen Doyle who planned and organized the 2018 Delaware Day Fourth Grade Competition, and by bidding farewell to archaeologist Craig Lukezic who will be leaving the division on Dec. 21, 2018 to begin a new job as a cultural resource manager/natural scientist at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in St. Mary’s County, Md.
Slavin also announced that Beth Gott, the Zwaanendael Museum’s lead historic-site interpreter, would be retiring in April 2019 after 30 years of service; welcomed Ray Crew as a volunteer at the division’s downtown Dover museums; and presented volunteer-service certificates to Jason Bakke for 148 volunteer hours, Carla Griffith (101 hours), Bitsy Mahon (97 hours) and Jim Schilling (112 hours).
Slavin then passed the baton to John Dickinson Plantation Site Supervisor Gloria Henry who presented the division’s Extra Mile Award to a team of employees who helped avert a potential disaster due to the failure of a propane tank regulator which vented gas into the air near the plantation’s mansion house. Thanks to the quick work of the team—which included Barbara Carrow, Chris Conley, Tammy Dayton, Scott Hayes, Vertie Lee, Chris Merrill and James Scott—the source of the leak was quickly identified and the gas turned off.
Slavin returned to announce that recently retired Zwaanendael Museum historic-site interpreter Carol Cutbill was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for her more than 20 years of service to the museum. Cutbill was unable to attend the event.
The formal part of the day’s activities concluded with presentations on two major projects for which the division has been engaged in recent years. In the first presentation, Slavin provided an update on the division’s new collections facility that is currently in the process of being built at a site west of Dover. The 35,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will eventually house the multi-million-item collection of historical materials owned by the State of Delaware including museum objects, archaeological artifacts, works of art, and library and archival materials. If all goes according to plan, and there are no weather-related delays, the facility will be certified for occupancy by Aug. 31, 2019 with the transfer of all the collections materials completed by Dec. 31, 2019.
In the second presentation Slavin and archaeologist Wade Catts discussed the archaeological and historical importance of the Cooch Farm complex which will soon be acquired by the State of Delaware and administered by the division. The farm complex was the center of the fighting in the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, the only battle of the American Revolutionary War that took place on Delaware soil.