About Agency

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.

Mission Statement

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.

Strategic Plan

The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ strategic plan for fiscal years 2022 through 2026 sets a course for preserving, restoring, and sharing Delaware history.


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.

Core Values

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.

Non-Discrimination Statement

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

Section 106 is the section of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 that requires federal agencies to consider their effects on historic properties during project planning for any federal undertaking or permitted activity. This includes projects that are funded by federal money through state or local governments or private groups. Federal agencies and their clients must seek local opinions and knowledge about historic properties before they can proceed with their projects. You are entitled to have your wishes heard about what happens to historic properties during federally funded or permitted projects.

In Delaware, the State Historic Preservation Officer is responsible for the administration of the programs and policies of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, assisted by the staff of the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office. The historians, architectural historians, and archaeologists who make up the staff must meet qualifications established by the Secretary of the Interior for state staffs nationwide. Working in concert with academic and professional communities, preservation organizations, concerned citizens, and all levels of government, the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office coordinates preservation efforts throughout Delaware and serves as an advocate for the preservation of Delaware’s historic places and unique cultural identity.

It is a list of sites, structures, buildings, and objects that are historically, architecturally, or archaeologically significant, on the local, state, or national level.

Occasionally federal monies are available for the restoration and rehabilitation of historic properties. The competition for these matching grants is very intense. A federal income tax credit is available for the approved rehabilitation of income-producing properties.

If you have questions or concerns about Section 106 and the new regulations, or about your place in federal project planning, please write us at 29 N. State St., Dover, DE 19901 or call (302) 736-7400 and we will be happy to talk to you about these issues. In addition, the counties and the City of Wilmington have preservation planners on their staffs to discuss your concerns and help you with particular projects. New Castle County Department of Land Use, 87 Reads Way Corporate Commons, New Castle, DE 19720-1648, (302) 366-7780. City of Wilmington Department of Planning, City/County Building 800 N. French St., Wilmington, DE 19801, (302) 576-3107. Kent County, administered by the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office, (302) 736-7400. Sussex County Department of Engineering, 2 The Circle, P.O. Box 589, Georgetown, DE 19947, (302) 855-7816.

The program permits the owner of an income-producing historic building to seek an income-tax credit equal to 20% of the qualified rehabilitation expenditures. An income-producing property may encompass commercial space, office space, rental apartments, a bed and breakfast inn, etc., or a mixture of such uses. The building must be listed in the National Register of Historic Places, either individually or as a contributing property of a historic district. Further, the rehabilitation must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Please contact the Tax Coordinator for more information: Tax Act Coordinator, Delaware State Historic Preservation Office, 29 N. State St., Dover, DE 19901 (302) 736-7400


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