The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is an agency of the State of Delaware, organized as a division within the Department of State. Funding for the division’s museums, programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, a federal agency.
The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs serves Delaware residents and visitors by identifying, preserving, and interpreting Delaware history. Our activities foster strong communities, engaged citizens, economic vitality, and a deeper understanding of Delaware’s role in world history. We do this in public trust for current and future generations.
Our audiences are actively engaged in learning (in many ways) and understand how Delaware history is meaningful to their lives. Our audiences are actively exploring a diversity of historical and cultural perspectives to inform and influence decisions about the future. Our audiences feel welcomed, valued, and encouraged to question and explore.
The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is a trustworthy, ethical, and reliable partner with organizations, agencies, and individuals with whom we have common goals. All division staff and volunteers will consistently make use of each other’s knowledge and skills, building professional relationships across teams.
Communication: We are committed to an open, proactive, and thoughtful exchange of information and ideas that promotes trust and understanding in our internal and external relationships.
Professionalism: We are committed to conducting ourselves in a professional manner to co-workers, partners, and the public in order to be recognized as a reputable and reliable resource.
Creativity: We are committed to supporting innovative thinking and nurturing a creative environment. Our passion for history inspires us to risk-taking new approaches.
Knowledge: We are committed to the growth and professional development of staff and volunteers in order to ensure that all of our activities are strongly grounded in scholarly research, current and reliable best practices, and relevant laws, rules, and regulations.
Discourse/Dialog: We are committed to open debate and discourse on subjects relevant to the past, present, and future of Delaware.
Community Involvement: We are committed to actively listening to, and communicating, collaborating, and partnering with, the community in the development of our programs and services.
Stewardship: We are committed to the responsible management of the division’s assets, seeking to exceed best practices.
Cooperation: We are committed to developing and maintaining trust and respect amongst co-workers, partners, and our audiences to provide a positive and collaborative atmosphere to achieve common goals.
Race and Equity
We support the elimination of racial injustice, racism, discrimination, and exclusionary history. We believe that Black lives matter.
We strive to practice inclusive history. History is not a series of clean, happy stories. It is a combination of uncomfortable truths, differing views, and difficult narratives. At the John Dickinson Plantation in Dover, for example, we tell the story of the enslaved, indentured, and free Black men, women, and children who worked, and died on the plantation. We welcome the difficult conversations that come from interpreting the land of a founding father who wrote of freedom and liberty for all while holding human beings in bondage.
We struggle with how to tell Delaware’s more troubling history. We are stewards of Delaware’s history. This history includes stories of pain, courage, and defeat. We will not shrink from the pain of our shared history.
We are listening. We want people to be heard and to know that we are listening. Your voices will give shape to how we collect, interpret, preserve, and present history to the public.
We need your help. We can’t do this on our own. We want to be an active participant in the force for change in our communities.
We are here. We will be undeterred in bringing forth diversity in our stories and we want all voices to be heard. We strive to be a safe place for difficult conversations and uncomfortable truths.
We promise to preserve and share Delaware history, commit to expanding the parameters of that history, and preserve the history of this movement for current and future generations.
Delaware Division of Historical & Cultural Affairs
June 10, 2020
For more information on how we are approaching this issue, we recommend the work of our colleagues in the museum and historic preservation professions. A page with these links is available at https:///history.delaware.gov/equity.
The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs receives Federal financial assistance for identification and protection of historic properties. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age in its federally assisted programs. If you believe you have been discriminated against in program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20240.
Acknowledgment of Support
Publications distributed by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs may be financed in part with federal funds from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.
Frequently Asked Questions