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.

Appropriate For: Adults & Students (Grades 3-12)
Length of Time: 1.5-2 hours

In the Best Manne

Compares and contrasts social differences in ownership of items and stylistic changes in architecture and decorative arts.

Appropriate For: Adults
Length of Time: 1.5-2 hours

A World Apart

Synthesizes historical data about enslaved individuals and free Blacks residing in Jones Neck.

Appropriate For: Adults & Students (Grades 3-12)
Length of Time: 1.5-2 hours

Then and Now

Compares and contrasts historical information about the lifestyles of the Dickinson family, children, tenants, and slaves with modern times.

Appropriate For: Students (Grades K-3)
Length of Time: 1.5-2 hours

Dickinson Plantation Profiles

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

Appropriate For: Adults & Students (Grades 5-12)
Length of Time: 2 hours

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Grade Level: 5th-12th
Length of Time: 30-45 minutes

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.

Grade Level: 6th-12th
Length of Time: 30-45 minutes

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)

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.

Essential Question: Why does when matter?

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

The New Castle Green

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.

Tour of Georgetown Delaware graphic

Historic Georgetown Self Guided Walking Tour

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

Serenity on the St. Jones.

“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

Discovering Shipwreck Secrets

Throughout the 18th century, Lewes was a port town at the center of international trade. Using the Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck, archaeological illustration and analysis, students will draw their own conclusions about this history and the ways that archaeologists and shipwreck artifacts can help us better understand the past.

Grade Level: Grade 4-5
Length of Time: 20-45 minutes
Maximum Students: 25
Standards: History 2 4-5a, Economics 4 4-5a

Life at Sea

During the 18th century, international trade and wars between nations made ships and their crews more important. Students will learn more about this history by standing in sailors’ shoes through interaction with artifacts recovered from the DeBraak, a British Royal Navy ship, which sank off the coast of Lewes in 1798. By seeing, touching, and using the food, tools, and clothing that would have made up a sailor’s daily life students will gain a better understanding of Delaware’s history and Lewes’ place in that more globalized world.

Grade Level: Grade 4-5
Length of Time: 20-45 minutes
Maximum Students: 25
Standards: Geography 4; Economics 4 4-5a; History 4 4-5a