Revisiting history at the New Castle Court House Museum on William Penn Day
On Oct. 27, 1682, William Penn made his first landfall in America on the banks of the Delaware River, taking his first steps in the Colonies on the streets of New Castle, Delaware. To celebrate this historic event, the New Castle Court House Museum hosted a day of performances and storytelling centered around the Colonial era, exploring how Penn and his family helped shape American life as we know it today.
During “Tea with Mrs. Penn,” visitors to the New Castle Court House Museum were treated to tea and baked goods from the Mercury Café and Teahouse while interpreters Kimberly Fritsch and Jean Norvell portrayed William Penn’s wives, Gulielma Maria Springett and Hannah Callowhill Penn, highlighting their connection to the tea and porcelain trade in America, as well as Hannah Penn’s role as the first woman to run Pennsylvania state government after William Penn’s death in 1718.
Upstairs in the museum’s former legislative rooms, interpreter Blaise Glowiak led visitors through the history of Delaware’s government, from its connection to Pennsylvania during its membership to the original Thirteen Colonies, to its separation from England, through the Revolutionary War and beyond. He also gave insight into the lives of average people living in the New Castle area during the Revolutionary War, including local Quakers who were opposed to both the British occupation and the American separation due to the violence they caused.
In the afternoon, students from the Delaware Music School’s Suzuki Academy honors program performed popular music from Penn’s era, including pieces by Handel and Bach.
William Penn Day is an annual event hosted by the New Castle Court House Museum, featuring activities and presentations that explore the town’s Colonial and Revolutionary past. Explore the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ events calendar for details about other upcoming events at various museums and historic sites.