Updated schedule as of Aug. 19, 2019
On Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 11 a.m., the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway, will present Johann Steinke, captain of the Meerwald, reading from his children’s book, “The Greatest Captain in the World.” The book is comprised of stories written in real sailor vocabulary illustrated by drawings based on actual contemporary prints and paintings from the age of sail. Steinke has lived and worked aboard a wide variety of ships ranging from large, steel hulled square-riggers to the world’s largest Viking ship replica. His program is designed to help visitors discover the joy of history, sailing and the sea.
On Friday, Aug. 30 at 10 a.m., historical interpreters from the Zwaanendael Museum will be aboard the Meerwald for a “Lewes Maritime History Sail,” a special seaborne trip in which the interpreters will share maritime stories about the Cape Henlopen region including Cape Henlopen Lighthouse, the early Zwaanendael whaling colony and the sinking and recovery of the British warship DeBraak.
In addition, the Meerwald will be conducting a mixture of morning, afternoon and evening sails on Aug. 2 to 4, Aug. 27 to 31, and Sept. 1 and 2, in which visitors can help to raise the sails, engage in piloting the vessel and learn about the ship’s historic role in the oyster industry.
All sails noted above will depart from the Lewes Ferry Terminal located at 43 Cape Henlopen Drive. Tickets may be purchased by going to the following: https://bayshorecenter.org/sailing-schedule/. Zwaanendael Museum patrons can receive a $2 discount by using promo code ZDE2019 when purchasing tickets. Advance purchases are recommended. Call 856-785-2060 for additional information.
The A.J. Meerwald is a restored oyster-dredging schooner whose home port is in Bivalve, Commercial Township, N.J. Launched in 1928, the Meerwald was one of hundreds of schooners built along South Jersey’s bayshore before the decline of the shipbuilding industry which coincided with the Great Depression.
Today, the Meerwald is used by the Bayshore Center at Bivalve for onboard educational programs in the Delaware Bay near Bivalve, and at other ports in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The vessel was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Nov. 7, 1995.
The Zwaanendael Museum was built in 1931 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the state’s first European colony, Swanendael, established by the Dutch along Hoorn Kill (present-day Lewes-Rehoboth Canal) in 1631. Designed by E. William Martin (architect of Legislative Hall and the Hall of Records in Dover), the museum is modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands, and features a stepped facade gable with carved stonework and decorated shutters. The museum’s exhibits and presentations provide a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military and social history.