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Beginning on Dec. 4, 2019 and continuing through the month of December, the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., will be decorated for the holidays based on the theme “Here We Go a Caroling.” Decorations will be provided by the Sussex Gardeners, a Rehoboth Beach-based horticultural group that will utilize plant material and holiday objects to illustrate the songs “Here We Come a Wassailing,” “The Holly and the Ivy,” “Jolly Old St. Nicholas,” “Let It Snow,” “Silver Bells” and “Winter Wonderland.”
The decorations will also be featured in two special programs—“Hospitality Night,” which will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m.; and “Tour Zwaanendael Museum,” which will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Presented in conjunction with the Lewes Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Lewes Merchants’ Hospitality Night “Hospitality Night” will present a warm and inviting evening in which luminarias will light the walkway to the museum, and activities will include historical interpreters, demonstrations, music and seasonal refreshments.
The second program, “Tour Zwaanendael Museum,” held in conjunction with the Lewes Historical Society’s Christmas Tour of Lewes, will provide visitors with an opportunity to explore this historic museum which showcases the Lewes-area’s maritime, military and social history.
Founded in 1937 as the Nassau Garden Committee, the 50-plus-member Sussex Gardeners brings together members of the community who have an interest in the fine art of gardening, landscape design, floral design and horticulture. The group’s community outreach includes programs in garden therapy, conservation and civic beautification.
The Zwaanendael Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., from Nov. 1 to March 31; and Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., from April 1 to Oct. 31. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.
The 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 is administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware.
Museum exhibits and presentations provide a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military and social history. Current exhibits include “Delaware Railroads: Elegant Travel and Timely Transport” which explores the history of rail travel and transport in the First State; and “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World” which tells the story of His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak, a British warship that sank off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798.