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Native-American heritage to be spotlighted at division museums during September 2016


Updated: Sept. 13, 2016

The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring 24 special events during the month of September 2016 at the museums of the state of Delaware. Six of the programs will explore the First State’s rich Native-American heritage and culture. A full schedule is included below. Admission to all the listed events is free.

Lenape fancy dancer. The Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware will be celebrating its heritage with drums, songs and dancing on Sept. 3, 2016.
Lenape fancy dancer. The Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware will be celebrating its heritage with drums, songs and dancing on Sept. 24, 2016.

According to Nena Todd, site supervisor for the state’s downtown Dover museums, “September is a time for Native-American people to gather in their homelands. Traditionally, the coming of cooler weather provided a signal for native peoples to transition from a summer of hunting and fishing to more secure winter lodgings.” This tradition of seasonal gathering continues in today’s Native-American communities with September serving as a time when families come together to honor their heritage with events such as the “The First People of the First State: A Lenape Celebration of Heritage” that will be held on the Dover Green on Sept. 24, 2016.

Administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the five museums of the state of Delaware—the John Dickinson Plantation, the Johnson Victrola Museum, the New Castle Court House Museum, The Old State House and the Zwaanendael Museum—tell the story of the First State’s contributions to the history and culture of the United States. Through tours, exhibits, school programs and hands-on activities, the museums shine a spotlight on Delaware’s unique history and the diverse people who came to live there. The New Castle Court House Museum and the John Dickinson Plantation are partner sites of the First State National Historical Park. The Old State House is located on the Dover Green, another partner site of the park. Go to the following for a comprehensive, long-term calendar of events sponsored by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special events, September 2016

Wednesdays and Thursdays, Aug. 31, Sept. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29, 2016
Lost Off Lewes: The British Warship DeBraak.” Special tours explore the 18th-century history, artifacts and the surviving hull section of this shipwreck. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. 9 a.m. Limited seating. Admission free by reservation only through the Shop Delaware website (go to http://shop.delaware.gov/ and click on “Tours” in the “Categories” column). For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016
“Man’s Best Friend.” Guided tours explore one of the most celebrated canines in the world—Nipper, the dog who adorns the Victor trademark, “His Masters Voice.” Programs will be accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016
“Trades of the Plantation: Plaster-Casting.” Each Saturday in September the plantation will explore a different 18th-century trade. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
Labor Day. All museums of the State of Delaware will be open: The Johnson Victrola Museum and The Old State House, open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; the John Dickinson Plantation, New Castle Court House Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum, open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-736-7400.

Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
“Man’s Best Friend.” Guided tours explore one of the most celebrated canines in the world—Nipper, the dog who adorns the Victor trademark, “His Masters Voice.” Programs will be accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

"Nipper Corner” at the Johnson Victrola Museum. The celebrated canine will be explored in programs on Sept. 3 and 5, 2016.
“Nipper Corner” at the Johnson Victrola Museum. The celebrated canine will be explored in programs on Sept. 3 and 5, 2016.

Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
“Post Cards of Dover.”
Bill Burton gives visitors a chance to revisit “Old Dover” through his collection of vintage Kent County postcards. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 11 a.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
“The Long Road to Recognition.” Elected Chief Dennis Coker will discuss the long process that led to a unanimous vote in the Delaware House and Senate to recognize the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware after 240 years. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016
“Trades of the Plantation: Weaving.” Each Saturday in September the plantation will explore a different 18th-century trade. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016
“Delaware State Parks: Time Travelers.” Archaeologist John McCarthy will discuss Delaware State Parks’ “Time Travelers” program which provides young people with the hands-on experience of an archaeological excavation. In celebration of the “The First People of the First State,” McCarthy will also discuss some of the significant Native American archaeological sites found within Delaware’s parks. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016
Demonstrations by the Thistledown Fiber Arts Guild. Program explores spinning, weaving, knitting and other fabric arts. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 1–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016
“1779-1780: War and Politics.” Lecture by historic-site interpreter Bob Vander Decker. Part nine of “The Founding of America in One Year,” a year-long series that examines important local and national events that led to the founding of the United States. New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle. 7 p.m. 302-323-4453.

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016
“Trades of the Plantation: Blacksmithing.” Each Saturday in September the plantation will explore a different 18th-century trade. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016
Spoken-word performances on Delaware’s Native Americans. Latest installment in the “Listen Up!” spoken-word series features local youth utilizing poetry, theater, dance and song to create compositions that celebrate Delaware’s Native-American people. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Performances at Noon and 2:30 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054. Note: This program was rescheduled from Sept. 3, 2016.  

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016
“We ARE Still Here!” As part of a discussion about his book, “We Are Still Here!: The Tribal Saga of New Jersey’s Nanticoke and Lenape Indians,” the Rev. Dr. John R. Norwood examines the most popular misconceptions about Native-American people and their existence in today’s society. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
“The First People of the First State: A Lenape Celebration of Heritage.”
Sixth annual celebration featuring the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware as they honor mother earth and Native-American culture with dancing and demonstrations from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; “Digging for Old Delaware” and “Native American Games and Amusements” from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; grand entry at Noon; flint-knapping lesson at 1 p.m.; “Surviving Invasion: The First People of the First State” lecture by Dr. Cara Blume at 1:30 p.m.; and cordage-making class at 2 p.m. On The Green and in the John Bell House and The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054.
Note: This program was rescheduled from Sept. 3, 2016.  

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
“Trades of the Plantation: Smokehouse.” Each Saturday in September the plantation will explore a different 18th-century trade. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277.

Historic-site interpreters in front of the John Dickinson Plantation smokehouse.
Historic-site interpreters in front of the John Dickinson Plantation smokehouse.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
“Songs and Stories: Oral Traditions of Delaware’s Native Peoples.” Presentation by historic-site interpreter Kaitlyn Dykes on Delaware’s native peoples through their own words. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Program at 2 p.m. on the museum’s 2nd floor (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Sept. 23, 2016.


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