Archaeology in Delaware from Making Archaeology Public Videos on Vimeo.

Preservation 50

Delaware Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act!

Preservation 50 is a nation-wide coalition of citizens from all backgrounds who are coming together to celebrate an important anniversary. 2016 marks the 50th year since the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, a moment when the country officially recognized the value of preserving and protecting the places that reflect its historic heritage. The act established programs and funding to assist states, Indian tribes and local communities in identifying and preserving their significant historic properties.

Delaware’s communities have seen the benefits of these programs. The anniversary offers the opportunity to raise public awareness and heighten interest about historic preservation in our towns and cities, counties and our state. The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs invites YOU to join in these efforts and share in the fun.

Throughout the year we will be part of a force across the state to share ideas, present workshops, offer expertise and generally connect neighborhoods and citizens with the tools that can help make a difference in preserving our heritage, our cultures and our communities. You will see us and other preservation partners at festivals and fairs, lectures and workshops and online.

How do you get involved? Look for the Delaware Preservation 50 logo and check out the events. Tell us about success stories you have on historic preservation. If you are interested in joining our efforts, just give us a call, or go to the Delaware Preservation 50 Calendar of Events and see all the many opportunities to play a role in this celebration. For information on activities nationwide, please go to the Preservation50.org website.

Call 302-736-7400
history.delaware.gov/Preservation50

What Preservation50 means to me.

Guest Article

Historic Preservation Is a Career!
By Robin L. Krawitz

As a kid living on Long Island in New York, I loved history. My mother routinely took me with her to museums, on walks through the town cemetery to look at the grave markers, and to hear speakers talk about interesting subjects. So at age 12, when I heard historic archaeologist Roland Robbins talk about uncovering mill ruins in Massachusetts, I was hooked! Under those vines he showed in his slides was a brick building with a fascinating story. I wanted to do that!

In college at the University of South Florida in Tampa, I explored archaeology and historic preservation through classwork and field school experiences, which led to internships working beside professionals in the archaeology lab as well as doing neighborhood architectural surveys for the Tampa Preservation Board, the local government historic zoning agency. In the end, I chose to focus on the above-ground resources. Graduate school at Colorado State University provided, in addition to the opportunity to understand a very different landscape from that of central Florida, the needed credentials to compete for jobs in this competitive field.

My first job was with the Tennessee Historical Commission brought me in touch with what would become my lifelong interest in the preservation of the places beyond the architecturally grand, the overlooked places important to regular people. And I met Linda T. Wynn, a passionate advocate for the dissemination of the long and proud history of the Nashville African American community and the preservation of the places that reflected that history. She was a role model to me whose example I have taken with me for my entire career, focusing on understanding and preserving the stories and places important in African American history and heritage.

To me, historic preservation is an interdisciplinary set of skills that intersect the worlds of architecture, community planning and development, conservation, politics, and history. It provides the tools to understand the world in a whole new way. The landscape is full of clues about how this place came to be. As a profession, historic preservation is a framework about understanding what makes a place unique and provides the tools to help communities wrestle with the bigger issues of growing and changing without losing their identity. Part of that is understanding how the landscape is viewed by all its citizens, and working to save places important to those willing to step up and save them.

About Author

Director Historic Preservation Graduate Program Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy Delaware State University

Science Cafe

Michael Emmons, University of Delaware: “Historic Graffiti in the Mid-Atlantic: Scratching the Surface.”


As part of Preservation50, the science café hosted its last program of the summer series with a presentation by University of Delaware PhD. Candidate, Michael Emmons titled “Historic Graffiti in the Mid-Atlantic: Scratching the Surface.” This fascinating presentation explores 18th and 19th century markings, text, drawings, carvings, scribbles and inscriptions (graffiti) found on buildings located within the Mid-Atlantic region Michael is studying the historic graffiti in a systematic way. His purpose is to identify patterns so as to expose and study the way in which people used, interacted and expressed themselves by recording a moment in time on the built environment. In his presentation, Michael conveys that markings can reveal time awareness, signify rebellion and defiance, convey instruction or direction, indicate inclusion or belonging, express religious belief or superstition, assert possession or ownership, commemorate or honor or simply express an innate human need to leave a permanent mark on the world. Samplings of historic graffiti include The John Lewden House in Christiana, scrawlings on double doors within Old Swedes Church and the many variations of ship carvings such as those found on a door at the John Dickinson Mansion, Poplar Hall.

John Lewden House. Christiana, Delaware

John Lewden House. Christiana, Delaware

Old Swedes Church. Wilmington, Delaware

Old Swedes Church. Wilmington, Delaware

John Dickinson Plantation. Dover, Delaware

John Dickinson Plantation. Dover, Delaware

Upcoming Events

  • Saturday, August 13, 2016

    American Revolution Round Table of Northern Delaware

    The Public is Cordially Invited to Attend. Battle of Cooch's Bridge Speaker: Wade Catts. Well-behaved children always welcomed. $5 at the door includes coffee & dessert.
    Hale Byrnes House, 606 Stanton-Christiana Road, Newark, DE 19713
    7:30 - 9:30 p.m.

  • Sunday, August 14, 2016

    This Place Matters: Preservation 50 Speakers' Series

    The Public is Cordially Invited to Attend. "Maull House, Lewes, Delaware" Speaker: Denise Clemons. Well-behaved children always welcomed. $5 at the door includes coffee & dessert.
    Hale Byrnes House, 606 Stanton-Christiana Road, Newark, DE 19713
    4 - 6 p.m.

  • Monday, August 15, 2016

    Stoney's Science Cafe: Summer Series
    “Historic Graffiti in the Mid-Atlantic: Scratching the Surface”

    Presented by Michael Emmons, University of Delaware. Historic graffiti is everywhere once you know where to look. What does it tell us about the people with the pen knives? Using composite digital photography, Michael is giving clarity to these intriguing cultural remnants.
    Stoney's British Pub, 3007 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803
    7:30 p.m.