The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has recently released its annual report which documents the forward momentum that was felt in 2011 as the agency revitalized its facilities, increased museum attendance, welcomed new staff, expanded its collections and worked to recognize several of the state's most historic places. Go to the following to read the full report: Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Annual Report: 2011: A Year of Renewal.


Home in Wilmington's Quaker Hill Historic District.


In order to solicit information for use in drafting Delaware's 2013-2017 statewide historic-preservation plan, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be holding five public meetings at locations across the state in late-February and early-March 2012. All meetings are free and open to the public. For directions and other information, call the division at 302-736-7400. In the event of inclement weather, notice of cancellation will be announced via local radio stations.

Public meetings will be held on the following dates:


Those interested in Delaware's historic buildings, communities and sites are invited to attend these public meetings in order to share their thoughts on the future of historic-preservation in the state. Public input will be incorporated into the updated historic-preservation plan which is scheduled to be released in January 2013. The public may review the goals and objectives identified in the last planning process by accessing Delaware's current historic-preservation plan.

While the Delaware historic-preservation plan is extremely useful for the division, it is not a blueprint for state government alone. Rather, it includes goals and strategies that benefit preservation advocates across Delaware. The plan provides all Delawareans who are passionate about historic preservation with a framework for effective decision-making, for coordinating statewide preservation activities and for communicating statewide preservation policy, goals and values to the preservation constituency, decision-makers and interested and affected parties across the state.

Members of the public who are not able to attend one of the public meetings may instead submit written comments to the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, 21 the Green, Dover, DE 19901; or via e-mail at preservationplan@state.de.us.


Display from the exhibit, "Emeline Hawkins: Her Journey from Slavery to Freedom on the Underground Railroad."


During the month of February 2012, the museums of the state of Delaware will be presenting 15 events in commemoration of Black History Month, an annual observance celebrating the invaluable contributions that the African-American community has made to the culture and history of the United States. All programs are free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-744-5055.

The programs are as follows:

Ongoing
"Emeline Hawkins: Her Journey from Slavery to Freedom on the Underground Railroad."

Exhibit chronicles the compelling story of Emeline Hawkins and her family and their 1845 odyssey on the Underground Railroad from slavery in Maryland, through Delaware to freedom in Pennsylvania. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle, Del. Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.


Friday, Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2012
"Freedom Fridays."
After-school program featuring stories and hands-on activities that explore the lives of African-Americans in Delaware throughout its history. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover, Del. Program 3-4 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.



Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012
"We Poor Devils."
Utilizing the exhibit, "The Civil War: Five Delaware Soldiers' Stories," as a backdrop, guided tours will explore the soldiers known as U.S. Colored Troops who enlisted from Delaware. First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, 121 Duke of York St., Dover, Del. Guided tours at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.


Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012
"African-American Family and Underground Railroad Research—Ask the Experts!"
Program features a panel discussion led by some of Delaware's top researchers in the fields of African-American family history and the Underground Railroad. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover, Del. Research program Noon-1:30 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.



Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012
"What Would You Take on the Underground Railroad?"
An interactive program exploring the hardships endured by freedom-seeking slaves as they escaped through the state of Delaware. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover, Del. Program 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.


Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012
"Just an Ordinary Man: The Samuel D. Burris Story."
Story-telling program about the life of one of Delaware's leading Underground Railroad conductors. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover, Del. Program 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.


Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012
"What Would You Take on the Underground Railroad?"
An interactive program exploring the hardships endured by freedom-seeking slaves as they escaped through the state of Delaware. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle, Del. Program at 11 a.m. Museum open 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.



Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012
"Follow the Drinking Gourd."
Children's program explores the Underground Railroad utilizing the book "Follow the Drinking Gourd," followed by a tour of the exhibit "Emeline's Story." New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle, Del. Program at 2 p.m. Museum open 1:30-4:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.



Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012
"Stories of African-Americans on St. Jones Neck."
Learn about the African-Americans who interacted with John Dickinson during the 18th century through Violet Brown's recollections, Clem's runaway-slave notice and Dinah's life story. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, Del. Program 10 a.m.-Noon. Museum open 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.


Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012
"Tales of Kent County Men of Color."
Dramatic presentations depicting the lives of real people who lived in Kent County in the 19th century. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover, Del. Presentations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.


Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012
"USCTs of Delaware."
Program exploring the United States Colored Troops from Delaware who served in the American Civil War. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle, Del. Presentations at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.


Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012
"What Would You Take on the Underground Railroad?"
An interactive program exploring the hardships endured by freedom-seeking slaves as they escaped through the state of Delaware followed by a tour of the exhibit "Emeline's Story." New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle, Del. Program at 2 p.m. Museum open 1:30-4:30 p.m. 302-323-4453.


Interior scene at the John Dickinson Mansion.


Elegant interior vantage-points within the 18th-century John Dickinson Plantation will serve as subjects for "Watercolor Wednesdays," a weekly program in which visitors can paint scenes at the home of the "Penman of the Revolution." Led by the plantation's interpretive staff, "Watercolor Wednesdays" will take place between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2012. A different scene within the plantation's mansion house will be featured each week. Visitors may bring their own art supplies or utilize basic materials provided by the plantation. Admission is free and open to people of all ages.



In an effort to increase educational and entertaining activities for children at the end of the school day, two downtown Dover museums of the state of Delaware—the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries and The Old State House—will be offering Delaware-history-related programs between 3 and 4 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays during the month of February 2012. The programs are free and open to people of all ages. For additional information, call 302-744-5055.

On Thursdays, the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, located at 121 Duke of York St., is offering "Civil War Thursdays," a presentation and hands-on activity highlighting the people and places in the First State that were impacted by the American Civil War. The programs are held in conjunction with the exhibit "The Civil War: Five Delaware Soldiers' Stories" which is currently on display at the center. On Fridays, The Old State House, located at 25 The Green, is offering "Freedom Fridays" featuring stories and hands-on activities that explore the lives of African-Americans in Delaware throughout its history.


Eldridge Reeves Johnson


On Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, the Johnson Victrola Museum, located at 375 S. New St. in Dover, Del., will present "Happy Birthday Eldridge Reeves Johnson!," a program in which historical interpreter Bill Sparke will take on the persona of Eldridge Reeves Johnson, founder of the Victor Talking Machine Company. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions and talk with Johnson who will remain in character throughout his appearances which will take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visitors will also have an opportunity to explore the sounds of Mardi Gras and New Orleans jazz played on authentic Victor Talking Machines and learn about the contributions to those genres by Victor Records. The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

"Happy Birthday Eldridge Reeves Johnson!" is presented in conjunction with "First Saturday in the First State," a monthly series of events sponsored by the First State Heritage Park. Admission for all programs is free and open to the public. For additional information, call the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries at 302-744-5055.


Peyton Randolph of Virginia, first president of the Continental Congress.


On Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 at 1:30 p.m., the New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del., will present the program "Forgotten Presidents and How the Presidency Evolved." Admission to the museum, which will also be open for visitation between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m., is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-323-4453.

Led by historic-site interpreter Bob Vander Decker, the program will explore the lives of the 14 men who served as presidents of the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates that emerged as the first national government of the United States during the period of the American Revolution through the ratification of the United States Constitution. One of those men, Thomas McKean of Delaware, served as the Congress' 8th president in 1781.


Sharyn Murray



Stipple drawing by Sharyn Murray of a miniature toy soldier recovered from Lewes' Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck.


On Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 at 2 p.m. and again on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 at 2 p.m., the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway, in Lewes, Del., will present the workshop "Archaeological Illustration Through Stipple Drawing: Tips of the Trade." Admission to the museum, which will also be open for visitation between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Conducted by artist and Zwaanendael Museum historical interpreter Sharyn Murray, the workshop will provide an introduction to the art of stipple drawing, a process by which images are created through the use of small dots of a single color of pigment, applied with a pen or brush. In recent years, Murray has completed a collection of stipple drawings of artifacts recovered from the Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck, a British merchant vessel that ran aground near present day Roosevelt Inlet in the late 1700s.

Millsboro, Del. resident Sharyn Murray was awarded a certificate as a Practitioner of the Institute for Archaeologists on July 18, 2011. She was formerly a licentiate member of the British Association of Archaeological Illustrators and Surveyors which was recently merged with the institute. A standard-setter for the study and care of the historic environment, the Institute for Archaeologists has members in the United States as well as Europe.


Touch of Italy pasticceria/salumeria


Andrew Hooven, executive pastry chef/baker for Touch of Italy in Lewes, Del. will be the speaker at the fifth installment of "Savory Sussex," a seven-part, monthly series of programs on the unique and delectable local flavors of Sussex County, Del. The program will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 at the Zwaanendael Museum located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del. Admission is free and open to the public but, due to seating limitations, reservations must be made by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Monday, Feb. 6, 2012.

A graduate of Peter Kumps' Cooking School in New York City with a concentration in pastry and baking, Andrew Hooven has worked for several Delaware culinary establishments including Nage and Espuma restaurants in Rehoboth Beach, Wilmington's Fox Point Grill and Newark's Stone Balloon, and was the co-owner of the former Sweet Dreams bakery in Rehoboth Beach.

Opened in the fall of 2010, Touch of Italy was born out of the traditions of the Curzi and Ciprietti families. It showcases two traditional Italian businesses—a pastry shop known as a pasticceria, and a salumeria, the Italian version of a delicatessen which translates into English as a "cured-meat shop." Touch of Italy now has locations in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach and will soon open the Touch of Italy Bakery in Lewes.


John Dickinson


On Saturday, February 18, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the John Dickinson Plantation, located at 340 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover, Del., will commemorate the 204th anniversary of the death of American patriot John Dickinson (Nov. 13, 1732-Feb. 14, 1808). The program will feature letters written in Dickinson's memory by prominent Wilmington physician Joseph Bringhurst and then-President Thomas Jefferson who noted with reference to Dickinson, "A more estimable man, or truer patriot, could not have left us." The day's activities will also include a wreath-laying ceremony at the gravesite of Dickinson's father Samuel at Noon. Admission to all events is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-739-3277.