|Sculptor Charles Parks (center) at the Sept. 7, 2011 event recognizing the donation of a collection of the artists' works to the state of Delaware. At left, Gov. Jack Markell. At right, Inge Parks the sculptor's wife. Photo by Carson Zullinger.
Three of Charles Parks' sculptures that are being donated to the state of Delaware.
|Nearly 300 works by acclaimed sculptor Charles Parks are being donated to the state of Delaware by the sculptor himself, and by the Charles Parks Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving Parks' historic legacy in the artistic traditions of the Brandywine Valley. The works will be curated by the collections program of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. An official announcement of the donation was made on Sept. 7, 2011 during an event honoring Parks at the Buena Vista conference center in New Castle, Del.
"We are thrilled and honored that the state of Delaware will become the steward of Parks' awe-inspiring collection, both for its artistic and its cultural value," said Gov. Jack Markell. "I look forward to the day when we begin showcasing Charles Parks' life work and telling his unique Delaware story."
The donation is likely the largest collection of a major artist's work ever given to the state of Delaware. It includes 21 bronzes, 25 plasters and 250 fiberglass works ranging in size from eight inches to nine feet. The collection comprises a range of pieces from various periods of Parks' career.
Parks created over 500 sculptures for individuals, public parks and plazas throughout Delaware and across the United States. The fiberglass models of these pieces are among the objects being donated to the state. They include portraits of former presidents, corporation founders and other public figures, as well as numerous portraits of children and adults from all walks of life.
For several years, Parks and his wife Inge have sought a permanent home for the sculptor's private collection which is currently located at his studio at Bancroft Mills in Wilmington, Del. The Charles Parks Foundation was established in 2001 to anticipate such a transition and to oversee the transfer of the pieces. Details of the transfer will be worked out over the coming months. The state of Delaware's intention is to display the works in public spaces on state properties.
While the foundation has received requests to permanently house the collection elsewhere, it decided that the assemblage should remain in Delaware, the lifetime home and studio location of Parks. It is where the majority of his work was commissioned, inspired and created.
Though born in Virginia, Parks has been a Delawarean since 1924 and attended the University of Delaware. To walk through his studio and view his collection is to take a stroll through decades of Delaware history from the civil rights struggle to the protection of Delaware's environment.
"To have a nearly complete collection of an artist's work is a rare and special thing," said Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock. "Mr. and Mrs. Parks and the foundation have given the people of Delaware a great gift which I am sure will serve to delight and inspire people for generations to come."For press accounts on the Charles Parks donation, go to the following:
Opinion: State recognizes treasure it has in Charles Parks
|Statue of Caesar Rodney in Wilmington's Rodney Square. The DuPont Building is in the background.
Wilmington Institute Free Library
The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs recently received notification from the National Park Service that the Rodney Square Historic District in Wilmington has been officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation.
The civic and commercial core of downtown Wilmington, the Rodney Square Historic District is anchored by its namesake square crowned by an imposing statue of Caesar Rodney on horseback. The bronze sculpture depicts Rodney's 1776 ride to Philadelphia to cast Delaware's deciding vote in favor of American independence from Great Britain. The remainder of the district includes the four buildings fronting the square—the DuPont Building; Wilmington Institute Free Library; Wilmington Public Building; and the United States Post Office, Court House and Custom House—and the Nemours Building, which is located to the west of, and connected to, the DuPont Building.
Prior to the late 19th century, the focal point of life in Wilmington centered on the Christina riverfront and lower Market Street. With the relocation of the DuPont Company to Market Street between 10th and 11th streets in 1902, the area now known as Rodney Square cemented its position as the city's new center. Beginning with the completion of the DuPont Building in 1907, all of the contributing elements of the Rodney Square Historic District date to the early 1900s, a time when DuPont had risen to become the preeminent company in Wilmington.
Seeking to create a social, civic, institutional and business centerpiece near its company headquarters and inspired by the City Beautiful movement which utilized beautification and monumental design to promote a harmonious social order and improved quality of life for urban populations, executives of the DuPont Company were involved with every aspect of the creation of Rodney Square and its surrounding buildings. This singular aesthetic and programmatic vision resulted in a unified collection of contemporary Italian Renaissance, Classical Revival and Beaux Arts architectures emphasizing order, dignity and harmony.
Although designed, in the main, by different architects, the contributing elements of the Rodney Square Historic District present an aesthetic unity in both their general and specific design elements. All of the buildings and the square have symmetrical elevations, formal access points, flat rooflines and masonry cladding. Many of the details are similarly consistent including rusticated bases, engaged columns, ornamented cornices and Classical moldings.
For a press account on the placement of the Rodney Square Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places, go to the following:
Celebrating Rodney Square
|During the past several months, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has welcomed a number of new members to its staff including volunteer-services coordinators, historic-site interpreters at the state's museums and preservation-maintenance and horticultural professionals. Following are profiles of these newest members of the division's team:
Volunteer-services coordinators—getting people involved in Delaware history
The division's volunteer-services coordinators are working to recruit, and fully utilize the talents of, a dedicated cadre of volunteers who can help the agency preserve Delaware's historical legacy.
Michael Bard, the division's northern Delaware volunteer-services coordinator, previously worked for the northern region of Delaware State Parks as a regional volunteer-coordinator. He has also served as a volunteer wrestling-coach at Middletown High School and Delaware Military Academy and as an intern for the American Cancer Society. Bard holds a bachelor's degree in political science-global affairs and criminal justice from the University of Delaware.
Lindsay McNinch, the division's Kent and Sussex counties volunteer-services coordinator, previously worked as a volunteer coordinator at Delaware Seashore State Park and as an administrative assistant for the Corporate Kids Learning Center. Between 2005 and 2008, she served as a legislative page for the June sessions of the Delaware House of Representatives. McNinch is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences.
Historic-site interpreters—the public face of the state's museums
Historic-site interpreters are the division's front-line connection with the public, adding a human face to Delaware history. Through tours and special programming, they provide in-depth information about Delaware's historic places and help bring the people and events of the past to life.
Joe Brake joined the division after a distinguished career serving the nation as a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, and as a park ranger for the National Park Service in Washington D.C. and at Valley Forge National Historic Park. His education has included studies at Trident Technical Community College, the State University of New York, the University of Pennsylvania, Delaware State University and the University of Delaware.
A Connecticut native, Chris Hall has lived in Delaware since he was three years old, graduating from Wesley College in 2011 with a degree in history. His primary interests are the histories of the ancient world, Europe and the United States, as well as writing and producing his own films. As part of his education at Wesley, Hall traveled to Italy in 2010 and Ireland in 2011.
Courtnee Jordan-Cox holds a bachelor's degree in advertising and sociology from Marquette University and a master's degree in strategic communication from Villanova University. Her professional experience includes work with youth of all ages in organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Rowan University and at Bayard Middle School in Wilmington. Jordan-Cox has also served as a child advocate for the Delaware courts and as a member of AmeriCorps.
Millsboro native David Littleton is a recent graduate of the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in history. During his studies, he served as an intern at the Delaware Art Museum where he worked in generating public interest for the Wilmington institution by setting up a YouTube channel and by recording, editing and uploading several videos to social networks advertising the museum.
Kellie Mullarkey was born and raised in Milford, Del. and has a love for all things historical. She holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Mary Washington where she spent a semester serving as a docent for the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond.
Preservation-maintenance professionals—there's no job that can't be done
With more than 120 years of combined experience in various trades, this group of skilled professionals can handle any challenge that comes their way in order to maintain, repair and preserve the nearly 90 structures administered by the division.
Physical-plant maintenance supervisor Al Lech manages the work load for all of the preservation-maintenance team's trades-people as well as coordinating services provided by contractors and vendors. He has served as a supervisor and as an industrial electrician and industrial mechanic at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, and as a top-craft electrician and move-up supervisor for Amtrak. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Drexel University and an associate's degree from the C.H.I. Institute.
Physical-plant maintenance mechanic Ryann Schafer has studied a wide variety of trades including auto-body repair and welding at Polytech High School in Woodside, Del., and carpentry and computer-aided drafting and design at Sussex Central High School in Georgetown, Del. He has worked as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, and as an assistant wrestling-coach for Dover High School and a volunteer wrestling-coach for the Junior Olympics.
Physical-plant maintenance mechanic Jacob Tieman is a life-long Delawarean with over 16 years experience as a general contractor. During the past 12 years he has served as a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves rising to the rank of technical sergeant. Tieman received his professional training at the Naval Command Training Center in Gulfport, Miss. where he attended the Structural Apprentice Technical Course known as the "builder's school."
Horticulturalists—beautifying the natural environment of the state's historic places
Division horticulturalists provide landscape support-services at the agency's sites, maintaining a beautiful and safe natural environment that complements the historic nature of the individual properties.
Wilmington's Thomas Ratay holds a bachelor's degree in horticulture from Temple University, and has been working in private-estate gardens since the age of 15. His previous work locations include Patterns Gardens, Our Lady of Angels Convent and the Flint Woods Nature Preserve.
|Portrait of Vincent Loockerman, Sr. The story of the Loockerman family will be explored in the First Saturday program at the Old State House on Oct. 1.||On Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, the state of Delaware's three downtown Dover museums will be presenting special programming as part of "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.
In the program, "Keeping Up With the Loockermans," historical interpreters at The Old State House will explore the story of the Loockerman family who came to Dover in the early 1700s. The Loockermans, and the Bradfords who married into the family, made important contributions to Dover's history. In the 1700s, the Loockermans were merchants who imported goods from Philadelphia, London and the world via water transport on the St. Jones River. These goods, avidly desired by Dover's residents, created great wealth for the Loockermans which was reflected in their homes, furniture, clothing and other possessions. Visitors will have the rare opportunity at this one-day-only event to see clothing worn by Susannah and Elizabeth Loockerman from the 1750s to 1810, now in the collections of the Division of Historical Cultural Affairs. A new walking tour highlighting the Loockerman story and other special activities will add to the day. The Old State House is located at 25 The Green. Program hours are between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
As Munich, Germany prepares to kick off Oktoberfest, the Johnson Victrola Museum, located at 375 S. New St., will present "Victoberfest!" featuring original Victor recordings of polkas and oom-pahs played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Visitors will have an opportunity to listen to music associated with the Bavarian festival that is now celebrated globally and learn about the role that E.R. Johnson played in making these folk genres available in living rooms and parlors across the United States and the world. The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Finally, the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, located at 121 Duke of York St., will present "We Poor Devils," a series of specialized guided tours focusing on various aspects of "The Civil War: Five Delaware Soldiers' Stories," a display that explores the experiences of five of the more than 13,000 Delawareans who fought in the American Civil War. Tours will take place at 10 a.m., Noon and 2:30 p.m. The welcome center will also be open for visitation from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
|Sailor Joe (historic-site interpreter Joe Caputo) demonstrating the use of a block-and-tackle.||The various aspects of life on an 18th-century sailing vessel—from the mundane to the terrifying—will be explored during the program "Life at Sea" that will take place on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del.
Held in conjunction with Lewes' annual Boast the Coast Maritime Festival, "Life at Sea" will feature presentations on shipboard food, sea chanteys, sailor superstitions and diseases that afflicted mariners such as scurvy. Admission to the program is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.
|Bottle label for the 16 Mile Brewery's Amber Sun Ale.||In celebration of Oktoberfest, the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., will host a program featuring Claus Hagelman, sales and marketing director of Georgetown, Del.'s 16 Mile Brewery. The program, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 8 2011 at 2 p.m., is the first installment of "Savory Sussex," a new seven-part, monthly series of programs on the unique and delectable local flavors of Sussex County, Del. Admission to the event is free and open to the public but seating is limited due to space restrictions. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.
Located one mile south of The Circle in historic Georgetown, Del., the 16 Mile Brewing Company is owned and operated by Chad Campbell and Brett McCrea, Delaware natives who understand that the southern part of the state and its residents have a unique story to tell. The brewery produces a series of handcrafted ales with names that recall important Delaware places and people including Blues' Golden Ale named for the Delaware Blues who fought in almost every battle of the Revolutionary War; Inlet India Pale Ale, named for the Indian River Inlet and Amber Sun Ale named for the sunsets found at Breakwater Lighthouse located off Lewes Beach.
|Outdoor cooking, 18th-century-style, at the John Dickinson Plantation.||A barbecue cookout—18th-century-style—will take place on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the John Dickinson Plantation located at 340 Kitts Hummock Rd. in Dover, Del. The day-long outdoor party will feature barbecue-cooking demonstrations by Past Masters in Early American Domestic Arts, an educational organization dedicated to research, demonstration and interpretation of English domestic activities prevalent in William Penn's world during the colonial period (1681-1783) with emphasis on the period of the American Revolution. Additional activities will include wagon rides, paper quilling, story readings, outdoor games, music and silhouettes. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-739-3277.|
|Davy Jones' Locker by John Tenniel, 1892.||Superstitions of the high seas will be explored in the Halloween-weekend program "Superstitious Sailing" that will take place on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.
At times prey to some of the world's most inhospitable and deadly environmental conditions, mariners traditionally relied on a wide variety of superstitious beliefs to help them cope with the fear and stress of life at sea. "Superstitious Sailing" will explore such maritime-related superstitions as black cats which actually brought good luck because of their ability to kill shipboard rats; the killing of an albatross in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" which brought a deadly curse upon a ship and its crew and Davy Jones' Locker, the resting place for drowned sailors at the bottom of the sea.
|On Aug. 11, 2011, a national task force of historic-preservation organizations, leaders and advocates, convened by Preservation Action and the Preservation Action Foundation, released "Aligned for Success…Recommendations to Increase the Effectiveness of the Federal Historic Preservation Program."
The report results from a consensus among national preservation-organizations that the administrative structure in place to ensure that America's "vital legacy of cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, economic, and energy benefits will be maintained and enriched for future generations," is not permitting the programs administered by the National Park Service to live up to their full potential. Further, a disproportionate focus on environmental and parks-based resources has led to stagnation in fulfilling the federal mandate to also provide "maximum encouragement" for the preservation of significant historic resources that are privately owned. The result is unhelpful competition for resources, lack of program visibility and a lack of innovation that is not serving either well.
The product of a year-long effort involving over 1,000 people, historic research, several national listening-sessions, more than 50 subject-matter-expert interviews and an open survey that yielded more than 800 responses, the report provides a set of reasonable and fiscally responsible recommendations to lay the foundation for more effective public-private partnerships, innovation, collaboration and accountability. In addition, if the recommendations are implemented, the full job-creation and economic impact of historic preservation can be better achieved.
|On Sept. 1, 2011, Preservation Delaware published the first edition of "Hammer in Hand," an e-newsletter devoted to hands-on preservation. Future issues will feature articles, thoughts and observations written by some of the nation's most-noted restoration specialists.
For information about receiving "Hammer in Hand," contact Preservation Delaware at 302-322-7100.
|Revered Civil War nurse Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross.||On Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011 at 1:30 p.m., the New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del., will present "Angels of the Battlefield: Civil War Nursing," a lecture by nurse-historian Chris Foard, MSN, RN. The lecture will feature displays from Foard's 3,000-item collection of historic nursing- and medical-memorabilia. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-323-4453.|