Division museums resume standard hours
The State of Delaware’s five museums (the John Dickinson Plantation, Johnson Victrola Museum, New Castle Court House Museum, Old State House and the Zwaanendael Museum) have returned to standard operating hours. Admission is free and open to the public and reservations are not required. However, in order to keep everyone safe in keeping with CDC recommendations, face masks are strongly recommended for all visitors and required for those who are not vaccinated.
Following is information on visiting the museums:
John Dickinson Plantation
340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, DE 19901
The John Dickinson Plantation is the boyhood home of John Dickinson, known as the “Penman of the Revolution” and a framer and signer of the U.S. Constitution. Dickinson wrote about freedom and liberty for all while continuing to hold human beings in bondage. The plantation shares the stories of the Dickinsons; the tenant farmers; the trades people; the indentured servants; the free and enslaved people; and the families who lived, labored and died on the land. The museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday — Grounds open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday — Visitor center open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Note: The plantation’s visitor center provides access to an orientation video, two exhibits, National Parks Passport Stamps and restrooms. The site’s mansion house is currently closed due to preservation work. Because to this, guided tours of the plantation’s grounds are offered Wednesday through Saturday and last approximately 30 minutes. Mansion tours will resume once the preservation work is complete. Please contact the site for additional information.
Johnson Victrola Museum
375 S. New St., Dover, DE 19901
The Johnson Victrola Museum highlights the life and achievements of Delaware’s native son, Eldridge Reeves Johnson, founder of the Victor Talking Machine Company. Through phonographs, memorabilia, trademarks, objects and paintings, the museum showcases Johnson, his company and the development of the sound-recording industry.
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
New Castle Court House Museum
211 Delaware St., New Castle, DE 19720
Built in 1732, the New Castle Court House is one of the oldest active courthouses in the United States and was Delaware’s first state capitol. Here, the Colonial Assembly passed the 1776 Separation Resolution creating the Delaware State. During its nearly 300 years of history, this landmark has played many pivotal roles in the political, social and commercial life of both New Castle and Delaware. The museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, tours at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, tours at 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Tours meet at the front entrance to the museum.
The Old State House
25 The Green, Dover, DE 19901
Completed in 1791, The Old State House is one of the oldest state-house buildings in the United States, serving as the home of Delaware’s legislature until 1933 when the General Assembly moved to larger quarters in Legislative Hall. It features an 18th-century-style courtroom, governor’s and county offices and chambers for the state legislature. The building is situated on Dover’s historic Green, a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, tours at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Sunday, tours at 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
102 Kings Highway, Lewes, DE 19958
Inspired by the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands, the Zwaanendael Museum commemorates the founding of Delaware’s first European settlement by the Dutch along Hoorn Kill (present-day Lewes-Rehoboth Canal) in 1631. Its programs provide a showcase for the Lewes region’s maritime, military and social history.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the five museums of the State of Delaware tell the story of the First State’s contributions to the history and culture of the United States. Through tours, exhibits and special programs, the museums shine a spotlight on Delaware’s unique history and the diverse people who came to live there.
The resumption of standard operating hours at the museums took place in coordination with Gov. John Carney’s lifting of the COVID-19 state of emergency on July 13, 2021.