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School and Group Tour Directory



Tours of the plantation enable visitors to compare and contrast lifestyles of the wealthy Dickinson family with those of tenants, poor whites, enslaved individuals and free blacks residing in Kent County during the 1700s and early 1800s.

School tours complement Delaware’s Social Studies Standards. A special thematic demonstration (weaving, hearth cooking, etc.) can be scheduled for tours.

Tours and other interpretive programs take place during normal operating hours. However, large groups that are interested in a tour must make reservations in advance by e-mailing the site supervisor or calling 302-739-3277.

Politics and Plantation
This tour reviews the life of John Dickinson and the people whom he interacted with (tenants, enslaved individuals, tradesmen, merchants) by utilizing the mansion, outbuildings and primary resources.
In the Best Manner
Compares and contrasts social differences in ownership of items and stylistic changes in architecture and decorative arts.
A World Apart
Synthesizes historical data about enslaved individuals and free Blacks residing in Jones Neck.
Then and Now
Compares and contrasts historical information about the lifestyles of the Dickinson family, children, tenants, and slaves with modern times.
Dickinson Plantation Profiles

Explains the use of primary and secondary resource materials to interpret the plantation’s history.

Then and Now at the Johnson Victrola Museum

While examining everyday objects, students will learn about the history of recorded sound by comparing and contrasting historical items with their modern counterparts at the Johnson Victrola Museum.

The Man and His Machines

Students will examine the history of recorded sound through developing a chronology, participation in interactive activities and watching demonstrations at the Johnson Victrola Museum.

The Wonderful Talking Machine
Students will examine the development of recorded sound, its social effects and the technologies involved at the Johnson Victrola Museum and will be able to watch demonstrations of authentic talking machines.
Johnson and the Golden Age of Music

Students will examine musical artists and their social and political impact. They will compare and contrast contemporary and modern musicians’ viewpoints.

Visitors to the New Castle Court House Museum learn about Delaware’s colonial and state history, early European settlements, development of the systems of law and government, and the Delaware Underground Railroad right where these events happened. Group tours of 10 or more visitors must make reservation for museum tours in advance by emailing the site supervisor or calling 302-323-4453. There are no admission fees for tours.

Court House Museum Tours

Museum Tour: A guided tour of the Court House featuring an overview of Delaware’s European settlers, colonial settlements, statehood, Delaware’s laws and government, and Delaware’s place in the development of the nation.

Underground Railroad Tour: A guided tour of the Emeline’s Journey exhibit and background on Delaware’s Underground Railroad.

Walking Tours (Reservations Required)

New Castle Walking Tour: One half to one hour walk around the historic district noting important colonial and federal public buildings, historic churches, and residences. (Students and adults – 30 or 60 minutes)

New Castle Veterans Walking Tour: A guided one hour tour of New Castle’s historic cemeteries and residences featuring noted veterans from the French and Indian Wars thru modern day conflicts. Tours can be focused on specific American wars. (Adults – 60 minutes)

New Castle Green Walking Tour: The New Castle Green has been the site of everything from prisons to picnics, school houses to stately elms, home of the county courts and first state capitol. The Green today is a product of all these influences and more. Take a guided walk through its historic past and its present day urban park. (Students and adults – 30 minutes)

School Tours

Delaware History

Delaware 1st Tour
A program that presents “first facts” and significant events that first happened in New Castle and Delaware, including early “technology”. Students participate in hands-on activities that review Delaware history from the Native Americans to the beginning of the United States.

Grade Level: K-3
Length of Time: 60 minutes
Standards:

History Standard One K-3a: Student will use clocks, calendars, schedules, and written records to record or locate events in time.

History Standard Four Students will develop historical knowledge of major events and phenomena in world, United States, and Delaware history.

Where the State Began
An overview of Delaware Native Americans, European colonization, colonial settlements and hands-on exploration through art, objects, artifacts, historical documents, and maps. There is an emphasis on the significance of the Court House in early government and the establishment of the state boundaries.

Grade Level: 4-6
Length of Time: 60 minutes
Standards:

  • Geography Standard One 4-5a: Students will demonstrate development of mental maps of Delaware and of the United States which include the relative location and characteristics of major physical features, political divisions, and human settlements.
    • Essential Question: Why does “where” matter?
    • Essential Question: To what extent are human settlements connected?
  • Geography Standard Three 4-5a: Students will understand the reasons for the locations of human activities and settlements and the routes connecting them in Delaware and the United States.
    • Essential Question: Why is a place founded where it is? Why might those reasons change?
  • History Standard Three 4-5a: Students will explain why historical accounts of the same events sometimes differ and will relate these explanations to the evidence presented or the point-of-view of the author.
    • Essential Question: How could there be different explanations of the same event in history?
How the Native Americans Lived
Using models, artifacts and replicas, students will learn about Native American life a long the Delaware before Europeans arrived. Tools, hunting weapons, clothing and shelters will be discussed during the session. Native life will be compared and contrasted to the way we live today.
After demonstrating how Lenapes made items from natural resources, such as shells, bones, sinew and stones, as well as clothing and shelters, students will have some hands-on activities such as grinding corn.

Grade Level: 3-5
Length of Time: 60 minutes
Standards:

  • History Standard Four: Students will develop historical knowledge of major Events and phenomena in world, United States, and Delaware history.
New Castle Court House and Green Architectural Tour

This program acquaints students with historical buildings and the Green, comparing architectural periods, styles, uses, and historical context.

Grade Level: 4-6
Length of Time: 30-60 minutes
Standards:

  • History Standard Four: Students will develop historical knowledge of major events, and phenomena in the world, United States, and Delaware history.
  • K-3: Students will develop an understanding of the similarities between families now and in the past, including:
    • Daily life today and in other times
    • Cultural origins if customs and beliefs around the world
  • 4-5: Students will develop an understanding of major events and people in the United States and Delaware history including:
    • Native American inhabitants before European contact.

African American and Underground Railroad History

Follow the Drinking Gourd
This program introduces the Underground Railroad to young students using the book Follow the Drinking Gourd. Students use a felt board and figures to illustrate run-away slaves following the North Star. Students complete a star chart activity.

Grade Level: K-3
Length of Time: 30 minutes
Standards:

  • History Standard Four:Students will develop historical knowledge of major events and phenomena in the world, United State, and Delaware history.
Flight to Freedom on the Underground Railroad: Emeline’s Journey
An interactive overview of slavery and abolition in Delaware told through the compelling story of enslaved Emeline Hawkins and her family, and their escape for freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Grade Level: 4-12
Length of Time: 30 minutes
Standards:

  • History Standard One 4-5a: Students will study historical events and persons within a given time-frame in order to create a chronology and identify related cause and effect factors.
    • Essential Question: To what extent does one event always lead to another event?
  • History Standard Three 4-5a: Students will explain why historical accounts of the same events sometimes differ and will relate this explanation to the evidence presented or the point-of-view of the author.
    • Essential Question: How could there be different explanations of the same event in history?
  • History Standard One 6-8a: Students will examine historical materials relating to a particular region, society, or theme; analyze change over time, and make logical interferences concerning cause and effect.
    • Essential Question: Is change inevitable?
    • Essential Question: To what extent does the past predict the future?
    • Essential Question: What’s the evidence for my conclusions?
  • History Standard One 9-12a: Students will analyze historical materials to trace the development of an idea or trend across space or over a prolonged period of time in order to explain patterns of historical continuity and change.
    • Essential Question: Were contemporary issues also problematic for past societies? Why are those issues difficult? Is there a pattern of continuity or change?
    • Essential Question: To what extent can we learn from studying historical responses to societal problems?
  • History Standard Four:Students will develop historical knowledge of major events and phenomena in world, United States, and Delaware history.
What Would You Take With You On The Underground Railroad?
Interactive UGRR program for students that can accompany the “Emeline’s Journey” tour or stand alone. Student choose item they would take with them if they were a runaway enslaved person.

Students have a variety of items from faux food, clothing, household goods, knives, Bible, toys, rope, cloth, tools and others representing items an enslaved person may own or have at their home all contained in a large basket. Each student chooses one item he/she thinks would be important to take or necessary for survival if they were running away . Students and guide discuss why they pick the item and its importance.

Free or Slave: Document Analysis
Students will review and interpret primary resource materials dealing with slavery, manumission, and abolitionist activities.

Grade Level: 4-6
Length of Time: 45 minutes
Standards:

  • History Standard Two 4-5a: Students will examine historical materials relating to a particular region, society, or theme; chronologically arrange them, and analyze change over time.
    • Essential Question: How should historical sources be used to look for change?
  • History Standard One 6-8a: Students will examine historical materials relating to a particular region, society, or theme; analyze change over time, and make logical inferences concerning cause and effect.
    • Essential Question: Is change inevitable?
    • Essential Question: To what extent does the past predict the future?
    • Essential Question: What’s the evidence for my conclusions?

Law and Government

Rights, Rules, and Privileges
This program explores the differences between rights, rules, and privileges and the need for government and laws. Students have to determine if something is a right, a rule or a privilege.

Grade Level: 4-6
Length of Time: 30 minutes
Standards:

  • Civics Standard Three 4-6a:Students will understand that American citizens have distinct responsibilities (such as voting), rights (such as free speech and freedom of religion), and privileges (such as driving).
    • Essential Question: What is the nature of a privilege? What do you have to do to earn or lose a privilege?
    • Essential Question: What is the relationship between my rights and my responsibilities?
  • Civics Standard Three 4-6a:
    • Essential Question: Why are rights in the Bill of Rights important to American citizens?
    • Essential Question: To what extent are the rights of American citizens limited?
    • Essential Question: In what ways is the Bill of Rights applied in everyday life?
The 1787 Manslaughter Trial of William White
Students role play an historic adaptation of the Delaware manslaughter trial of William White. After hearing the witnesses, the jury will have to determine the guilt or innocence of Mr. White remembering that they do not have the benefits of modern forensics.

Grade Level: 4-6
Length of Time: 40 minutes
Standards:

  • Civics Standard Two 4-5a: Students will understand that a society based on the ideals of individual liberty requires a commitment in the part of its citizens to the principles of civic responsibility and personal civility.
    • Essential Question: What makes a good citizen? How do I know if I am one? What happens if enough people are not good citizens?
  • History Standard Three 4-5a: Students will explain why historical accounts of the same events sometimes differ and will relate this explanation to the evidence presented or the point-of-view of the author.
    • Essential Question: How could there be different explanations of the same event in history?
  • History Standard Three 6-8a: Students will compare different historians’ descriptions of the same societies in order to examine how the choice of questions and use of sources may effect their conclusions.
    • Essential Question: Why might historians disagree about the same historical event?
    • Essential Question: To what extent does history change?
  • History Standard Four: Students will develop historical knowledge of major events and phenomena in the world, United States, and Delaware history.
The 1848 Federal Trial of Thomas Garrett
Students role-play the 1848 Federal trial of Thomas Garrett, accused of helping the Hawkins family escape slavery on the Underground Railroad.

Grade Level: 7-12
Length of Time: 40 minutes
Standards:

  • Civics Standard Three 6-8a: Students will understand that civil rights secure political freedom while property rights secure economic freedom and that both essential protections for United States citizens.
    • Essential Question: In what ways are citizens protected from the government? From each other?
    • Essential Question: To what extent do property rights define an individual’s freedom?
  • History Standard Four: Students will develop historical knowledge of major events and phenomena in world, United States, and Delaware history.

Large groups that are interested in a tour must make reservations in advance by calling the First State Heritage Park Reservation Line at (302) 739-9194.

A Balancing Act: Delaware and the Constitution
Students will participate in and understand the legislative process through participating in an interactive program at The Old State House based on the process of passing a law though the branches of government.

Grade Level: 5th – 12th
Length of Time: 45 minutes
Minimum Amount of People: 20

Then and Now

While examining everyday objects used by people in the colonial period, students will be able to compare and contrast historical items with their modern counterparts within the context of The Old State House.

Grade Level: Pre-K – 3rd
Length of Time: 30 minutes

Freedom
Students can experience the fight for and against freedom by enslaved African Americans and those who knew them through stories, artifacts, documents and the examination of Delawareans in history, in the location where the events took place, The Old State House.

Grade Level: 4th – 12th
Length of Time: 45 minutes

The People's House
Students will explore Delaware’s historic capitol, The Old State House, and its many functions through the years including a view of Delaware governments in the past. The locations where the branches of government historically conducted business will be pointed out on the building tour.

Grade Level: 4th – 12th
Length of Time: 30-45 minutes

Virtual Tour of the New Castle Green

Not able to make it to New Castle to view all of the stately trees and historic buildings? No problem, check out the virtual tour of the historic New Castle Green.

“Serenity on the St. Jones: A Formal Garden Restored”

Take a look into the restoration of the formal garden at the John Dickinson Plantation, including photographs of the garden during the restoration process, and a plant list that you can take to your local garden center

Image: Tour of Georgetown Delaware

Historic Georgetown Self Guided Walking Tour

A self guided tour map of downtown Georgetown provided by the city. (links to an external site)

The Spice Box
A program engaging students in hands-on activities that explore the quest for spices that helped shape the world during the 17th and 18th centuries. Through the senses of smell, sight, touch, and sound, students learn about the cultivation, origin, and uses of various spices (and other products). In comparing the past and the present, students describe Delaware material culture and its changes through time. The story of trade also introduces geographic concepts of global connections and reinforces the Lewes historical timeline exhibit. In addition, students in the second grade investigate past and present sailing vessels in their discovery of trade artifacts.

Grade Level: K-2
Length of Time: 45 minutes
Maximum Students: 25
Standards: History 2, 3, 4

Discovering Shipwreck Secrets and Archaeological Illustrations
Students will learn about the local Roosevelt Inlet shipwreck and its cargo; global trading; archaeologists and the ship’s artifacts. They will also learn about archaeological illustrations and how they are used to help archaeologists as they study and record recovered artifacts. Students have the opportunity to analyze artifacts from the shipwreck and will use their own archaeological illustration to draw conclusions about the form and function of these items.

Grade Level: Grade 4-5
Length of Time: 45 minutes
Maximum Students: 25
Standards: History 2 4-5a, Economics 4 4-5a

The Merchants of Lewes and their Stores
A program introducing students to a unique institution, the merchant’s store, which gave personality and flavor to towns like Lewes during the Colonial period in Delaware. The, students gain skills in reading and analyzing primary sources, through ledgers and probate inventories, as well as artifacts to reconstruct the economic and social importance of merchants and trade. This program is an engaging way to learn about the global economy, household and business economics, pricing systems, profit margins, and customer service – colonial style.

Grade Level: Grade 4th
Length of Time: 45 minutes
Maximum Students: 25
Standards: History 2; Economics 3, 4

Life at Sea
A program introducing students to the world of a sailor and allows students to investigate items that would have been carried, used and manufactured by a typical 18th or 19th century sailor. Students start by learning about Lewes’ maritime heritage through The Seaborne Citizenry exhibit that allows them to examine the sailor’s life aboard a Royal Navy vessel. Then, students experience a craft through interpretation and a hands-on activity with an interactive block and tackle station.

Grade Level: Grade 5th
Length of Time: 45 minutes
Maximum Students: 25
Standards: Geography 4; Economics 4; History 4


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