Visitors to the New Castle Court House Museum learn about Delaware's colonial and state history and early system of law and government.
Tours and other interpretive programs take place throughout normal operating hours. However, large groups that are interested in attending a tour must make reservations in advance by emailing the site supervisor or calling 302-323-4453.
The following topics are available for group tours:
Delaware First Tour
(Student grades K-3; 60 minutes)
A hands-on program that presents "first facts" and significant events that first happened in New Castle and Delaware. Students review Delaware history from, the Native Americans to the beginnings of the United States. Teachers can download Pastport , a classroom post-tour activity for students.
Where the State Began
(Student grades 4-12/Adults; 60 minutes )
An overview of Delaware Native Americans, European colonization, colonial settlements, early state and national history and hand-on exploration through art, objects, artifacts, historical documents, and maps. There is an emphasis on the significance of the Court House in early government and the establishment of the state boundaries. Teachers can download Pastport, a classroom post-tour activity for students.
New Castle Court House and Green Architectural Tour
(Student grades 4 -5; 60 minutes )
This program acquaints students with historical buildings and the Green, comparing architectural period, styles, uses and historical context.
Follow the Drinking Gourd
(Students K-3; 30 minutes)
An introduction to the Underground Railroad to young students using the book Follow the Drinking Gourd. Students use a felt board and figures to illustrate run-away slaves following the North Star. Students complete a star chart activity.
Emeline's Journey: Flight to Freedom on the Underground Railroad
(Students 4-12/Adults; 30 minutes)
An interactive overview of enslavement and abolition in Delaware told through the compelling story of enslaved Emeline Hawkins and her family, and their escape for freedom on the Underground Railroad. Visitors participate by "traveling on the journey with Emeline" by way of an interactive exhibit and activities.
Free or Slave: Document Analysis
(Student grades 4-6; 45 minutes )
Students review and interpret primary resource materials dealing with slavery, manumission, and abolitionist activities.
Rights, Rules, and Privileges
(Student grades 1-5; 30 minutes)
This program explores the differences between rights, rules and privileges and the need for government and laws.
The 1787 Manslaughter Trial of William White
(Student grades 4-5)
Students role play an historic adaptation of the Delaware manslaughter trial of William White. After hearing witnesses, the jury will determine the guilt or innocence of Mr. White remembering they do not have the benefits of modern forensics.
The Case of Stolen Mercantile Money: Delaware vs. Isaac Loftland 1800
(Student grades 4-5; 45 minutes)
Students re-enact the trial of Isaac Loftland, a business man accused of stealing money. Students will be given information about the courts in the 1800 and the legal status of enslaved people. After hearing testimonies, the jury will determine the verdict of the accused before learning the true outcome of the trial.
The 1848 Federal Trial of Thomas Garrett
(Student grades 7-12; 40 minutes)
Student role-play the 1848 Federal trial of Thomas Garrett, accused of helping the enslaved Hawkins family escape slavery on the Underground Railroad.
School group tours complement Delaware's Social Studies Content Standards.
New Castle Green Walking Tour
(Adults; 60 minutes )
In the last 250 years, the New Castle Green had been the site of everything from prisons to picnics, schoolhouses and stately elms, home of the county courts and first state capitol. The Green today is a product of all of these influences and more. A guided walk through its historic past and fascinating present. Reservations required.