Civil Air Patrol illustration depicting a Delaware Blue Hen "laying" bombs on a Nazi submarine.
Jacket of a German prisoner of war on-loan from the collections of the state of Delaware.
The impact that the world's largest and most devastating war had on one small coastal community will be explored in the exhibit "World War II: Rehoboth Beach" that will be on display from May 26, 2012 through March 2013 at the Rehoboth Beach Museum, located at 511 Rehoboth Ave. in Rehoboth Beach, Del.
Utilizing stories, photographs, mementos and artifacts supplied by community members, as well as period items loaned from the collections of the state of Delaware, the exhibit will examine the effects of the war on Rehoboth Beach residents who served in harm's way as well as those who contributed to the war effort at home. Featured segments include the Civil Air Patrol which flew in search of German submarines; the Coast Guard Mounted Patrol whose members kept watch over Delaware's beaches on horseback; hometown boys who served overseas; local heroes who served on the home front; the guard towers along the coast that were used to scan for enemy ships; the USS Rehoboth, a warship named after the town; blackouts that plunged Rehoboth Beach into darkness in order to thwart attacks on shipping; the role of radio in communicating news of the war to the town's people; the swinging big-band music that lifted the community's spirits; and the rationing of commodities that Rehoboth Beach residents endured in order to help win the war.
The Rehoboth Beach Museum is open from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the period running between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During the remainder of the year, the museum is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults; $3 for senior citizens, military personnel and students; $2 for children ages 13-17; and free for members of the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society and children ages 12 or younger. For additional information, call 302-227-7310.
"World War II: Rehoboth Beach" was planned and created as a collaborative partnership between the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. The partnership is one of several in which the division has participated in recent years as part of its Affiliates Program which utilizes professionals from the division staff—including exhibit designers, curators, editors, museum managers, archaeologists and historians—who work with history- and heritage-based organizations throughout Delaware to develop joint programs and exhibits, including potential display of items from the state's collections. The program has had great success in creating new opportunities for the division to serve the public in communities where it has not previously had a presence. Other organizations that are participating in the Affiliates Program include the Historic Odessa Foundation, Middletown Historical Society, Laurel Historical Society, Seaford Historical Society, Bethel Historical Society, the Rehoboth Art League and the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware.
The division previously partnered with the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society in mounting "Captain John and Sarah Avery: A 17th Century Family on Delaware's Frontier," an exhibit which was on display at the Rehoboth Beach Museum from 2010 to 2011, subsequently moved to the Lewes Historical Society and which will open at the New Castle Historical Society on May 19, 2012.
On April 23, 2012, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs welcomed Suzanne Savery as its new deputy director. She will be based at the agency's main office located at 21 The Green in Dover.
As deputy director, Savery will be working with staff to achieve the division's goals of preservation, learning, stewardship, research and promotion. She is interested in exploring ways to expand visitation at the agency's sites, as well as reaching out to new community partners for opportunities to share the division's resources with both residents and visitors.
Savery comes to the division with more than 25 years of experience in the history and museums fields. Most recently, she served as Director of Collections and Interpretation at the Valentine Richmond History Center in Richmond, Va., a position she held since 2001. In previous positions, she served as the museum manager and director of tourism for the City of Petersburg, Va.; curator of collections for the City of Petersburg; and curator of collections for the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society.
A graduate of Padua Academy in Wilmington, Del., Savery holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Delaware, and a master's degree in anthropology and museum studies from the University of Washington in Seattle.
The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has recently received notification from the National Park Service that Stockton/Montmorency, a private residence located in Greenville, Del., has been officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
An outstanding example of Colonial Revival architecture and the Country House Movement, Stockton was built in 1937 for Helen Page Echols, her husband Angus Echols and their family. Angus Echols was an engineer, treasurer and vice president of the DuPont Company. Designed by William Lawrence Bottomley, a celebrated Colonial Revival architect who worked primarily in Virginia, the house is characterized as a five-part Palladian plan and is constructed of rose-colored Williamsburg brick. Stockton's simple symmetry and perfect proportions recall 18th century houses such as Carter's Grove, a classic James River Plantation in Virginia. The property was purchased in the 1960s by Mr. and Mrs. Henry E. I. du Pont who added Montmorency to its name.
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation. Listing in the National Register provides formal recognition of a property's historical, architectural or archeological significance based on uniform standards that are utilized by every state.
Governor Markell (at microphone in center), with First Lady Carla Markell to his right, speaks to volunteers assembled for the kick-off of the Delaware Week of Service. The event took place at Belmont Hall in Smyrna.
Governor and Mrs. Jack Markell kicked off the 2012 Delaware Week of Service with a highly productive event at Belmont Hall in Smyrna on April 15, 2012. Working to help conserve the historic property, 59 volunteers contributed 169 hours of work completing several projects including planting 30 trees, staining the property's fence, painting light posts and the property's ice house and cleaning the interior of the home. Several HCA staff members participated in the planning and execution of the event including Lindsay McNinch, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs' volunteer-services coordinator, and several members of the division's Horticulture Team who cleared and prepared the site for tree planting.
Completed in 1773, Belmont Hall was built for Thomas Collins, high sheriff of Kent County, brigadier-general in the American Revolution and eighth president of Delaware. From 1772 until the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, the home was the scene of many meetings attended by noted patriots Caesar Rodney, Allen McLane, Col. John Haslett, Lt. Col. Charles Pope, John Dickinson, Thomas McKean and Judge Richard Bassett. Belmont Hall is a property of the state of Delaware, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, and administered by the Friends of Belmont Hall.
The six museums of the state of Delaware have recently joined the ranks of Blue Star Museums as a vehicle for outreach to members of the United States armed forces. As an expression of thanks, Blue Star Museums will be offering free admission to active duty military personnel and their families between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
During 2011, the Blue Star Museum program was a huge success, attracting more than 300,000 service people and members of their families. More than 1,500 organizations participated in the initiative ranging from fine-arts museums to science and nature centers to historical houses. The program was such a success that First Lady Michelle Obama sent a letter to the participating museums that read in part, "Museums that participated helped to make this a summer to remember for so many military moms, dads, and kids. Service members and their families give so much to our country each day, and it is an inspiration to see so many organizations and individuals giving something back for their courageous service." Participating military families praised Blue Star Museums as a welcome respite from their daily cares and a welcome gesture of appreciation from the museums community.
Some of the items displayed in the exhibit "Captain John and Sarah Avery: A 17th-Century Family on Delaware's Frontier."
The joys and hardships of daily life in Sussex County, Del. during the early days of European settlement will be explored in the exhibit "Captain John and Sarah Avery: A 17th-Century Family on Delaware's Frontier" that will be on display at the New Castle Historical Society's Old Library Museum from May 19 to Sept. 2, 2012.
The exhibit shines a light on the Averys' 17th century homestead which was excavated, analyzed and conserved by the Archaeological Society of Delaware between 2006 and 2010. Utilizing artifacts discovered at the site as a point of reference, the exhibit explores the shifting economic and cultural traditions of the English and Dutch colonists, and their interaction with local American Indian communities.
Hours of operation for the Old Library Museum, located at 40 E. Third St. in New Castle, Del., are Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-322-2794.
"Captain John and Sarah Avery: A 17th-Century Family on Delaware's Frontier" was planned and created as a collaborative partnership between the Rehoboth Beach Museum, the Archaeological Society of Delaware and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. The exhibit was previously on display at the Rehoboth Beach Museum from May 2010 to April 2011; and at the Lewes Historical Society from May 2011 through March 2012.
From the exhibit "Captain John and Sarah Avery: A 17th-Century Family on Delaware's Frontier"…
In 1674, John and Sarah Avery, along with their children, left their home in Manokin, Somerset County, Md. to settle on the north shore of Rehoboth Bay. Their new home, first patented as Avery's Choice and later incorporated into an 800-acre tract called Avery's Rest, was likely a mix of woods, fields and marsh. The family joined other Englishmen, Dutch, Africans and American Indians in "Whorekill" (or "Hoerenkil"), part of what is now known as Sussex County.
By the time the Avery family arrived, this part of Delaware had been subject to competing Anglo-European and American Indian interests for over four decades. The English had just retaken New Netherland (including Whorekill) from the Dutch for a final time. In the two years prior, agents of Governor Charles Calvert (later Lord Baltimore) had raided area settlements to reinforce Maryland's rival claims. Pirates and privateers trolled the waters of the Delaware River and Bay. In the following decade, Delaware would be annexed to the new Pennsylvania colony but remain a distinct entity.
The Avery family lived in a culturally diverse world in which complex relationships were formed for purposes of profit, status and survival. These relationships were influenced by the broader political, economic and social processes evolving in the Atlantic World of the 17th century. This was a frontier culture. Diverse societies faced significant transition, on a stage set by imperialist and nationalist struggles. Through historical and archaeological evidence, this exhibit offers a glimpse into that complex world.
The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be participating in two special programs during the month of May 2012 in celebration of Archaeology Month in Delaware, a program designed to promote the study and conservation of the state's archaeological resources and to reflect on the vital role of archaeology in revealing the cultural legacy of the state.
On Saturday, May 12, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Archaeological Society of Delaware, will present a Symposium on the Early Colonial Archaeology of the Delaware Valley. Now in its 5th year, the symposium is dedicated to building a regional-level dialog that can identify the uniqueness of the cultures that existed in the Delaware Valley during the early period of European colonization. The symposium will take place at the New Castle Court House Museum located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del. Admission is free and open to the public but, due to space restrictions, reservations are requested by contacting Craig Lukezic at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 302-736-7407.
On Saturday, May 26, 2012, between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del. will present "The DeBraak Story" featuring archaeology programs and hands-on activities for children focusing on HMB DeBraak, a British sloop of war that was escorting and protecting a convoy of British and American merchant ships en route to the United States when it was capsized and lost off the Delaware coast in May of 1798. The division has curated the remains of the ship's hull and associated artifact collection since they were acquired by the state of Delaware in 1992. The program is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.
Archaeology Month in Delaware is sponsored by the Archaeological Society of Delaware which was founded in 1933 by amateur and professional archaeologists to study and appreciate archaeology, and more recently, historic preservation. The organization's mission is to educate both its members and the public about archaeology, to support professional archaeological investigations, to report on activity within Delaware and the surrounding region and to promote interest and participation in archaeology and related activities.
For a complete listing of Archaeology Month activities, go to the Archaeological Society of Delaware website.
Learn about Nipper, the iconic trademark of the Victor Talking Machine Company at the Johnson Victrola Museum.
On Saturday, May 5, 2012, visitors to the 79th Annual Dover Days Festival will have an opportunity to enjoy the following programming that will be available at state of Delaware museums located in and around Delaware's capital city of Dover. Admission to all programs is free and open to the public.
Dover Days at the John Dickinson Plantation. Activities include tours, colonial games and hearth cooking utilizing 18th-century recipes. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, Del. 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.
"Freedom." Explore the dynamic stories of freedom which took place within the walls of one of the oldest state-house buildings in the United States. The Old State House , 25 The Green, Dover, Del. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-744-5055.
"The Story of Nipper the Dog." Learn about Nipper, the famous trademark of the Victor Talking Machine Company and his English roots. Johnson Victrola Museum , 375 S. New St., Dover, Del. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 302-744-5055.
"The Civil War: Five Delaware Soldiers' Stories."
Display exploring the experiences of five of the more than 13,000 Delawareans who fought in the American Civil War. First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries , Delaware Public Archives building, 121 Duke of York St., Dover, Del. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-744-5055.
The 79th Annual Dover Days Festival, which will take place from May 4 to 6, 2012, is a weekend-long celebration of the First State's capital city featuring a Civil War encampment; free admission to numerous museums; Renaissance, Civil War and World War II costumed reenactments; parades; maypole dancing with children in Colonial attire, walking tours, arts and crafts, music, food and more. The festival is held on the first full weekend in May on The Green and Legislative Mall, two beautiful outdoor parks in Dover's historic downtown district. Admission to Dover Days is free and open to the public, and free parking is readily available.
The New Castle Green will be featured in the "Veterans Remembered" walking tours on May 6 and 27.
On Sundays, May 6 and 27, 2012, the New Castle Court House Museum will offer one-hour walking tours of historic New Castle, Del. encompassing grave sites and residences of United States veterans from the American Revolution to the present day. Conducted by museum historic-site interpreters, tours will depart at 1:30 and 3 p.m. from the New Castle Court House Museum located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del. Admission is free and open to the public but advance registration is requested. For additional information, call 302-323-4453.
Portrait of Christopher Columbus. Italian explorers will be spotlighted in the Festa Italiana program on May 11.
The Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., will celebrate all things Italian as part of its Festa Italiana (Italian Festival) that will take place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11, 2012. Activities will include an exploration of bocce, a ball game of ancient-Roman origin; and programs on noted Italian explorers including Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Marco Polo, Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) and Giovanni da Verrazzano. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.
NOTE: This program was originally scheduled for April 27, 2012.
On Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 7 p.m., the New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del. will present the program "The Three Forts, Delaware, DuPont and Mott." Admission to the museum is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-323-4453.
Presented in partnership with the New Castle Civil War Study Group, the program will explore the early development and history of the three forts (Forts Delaware and Dupont in Delaware and Fort Mott in New Jersey) which were built as a coastal-defense system to provide protection from enemy ships for the Delaware River cities and ship-building sites of Wilmington, Chester and Philadelphia.