Bob Gleason will portray the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei on June 10.

Mankind's age-old quest to understand the air and space and to travel through them will be brought to life during Delaware's 15th annual Chautauqua tent show, "America Takes Flight." Events and programs will take place at a variety of downtown Lewes, Del. locations including the Lewes Historical Society and the Zwaanendael Museum from June 9 to 13, 2013. Admission is free and open to the public. Go here for a complete listing of activities. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

A unique mixture of education and entertainment, Lewes' Chautauqua will be held under a large tent and will feature re-enactors who take on the personas of celebrated historical figures, educating and entertaining audiences as they bring the past to life. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions and interact with the featured characters who will include Amelia Earhart; the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei; Bessie Coleman, the first African-American female pilot; and Charles Lindbergh.

Chautauqua takes its name from a series of adult education programs that were first held at a campsite on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in upstate New York during the late 19th century. Chautauquas spread throughout America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries bringing speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day to a wide cross-section of the nation's rural and small-town population. Circuit Chautauquas (or colloquially, Tent Chautauquas) were an itinerant manifestation of the movement. Programs would be presented in tents pitched in a field near town. After several days, the Chautauqua would fold its tents and move on to the next community. The popularity of Chautauquas peaked in the mid-1920s, after which radio, movies and automobiles brought about the gradual disappearance of the movement by the 1940s.

Reborn in the 1970s as a vehicle for humanities education, modern Chautauquas are organized around a core program in which re-enactors portray celebrated historical figures, speaking and interacting with audiences, often in the setting of a large outdoor tent. Modern Chautauquas have been presented annually in Delaware since 1999 featuring a wide variety of historical figures including John Philip Sousa, the Lone Ranger, Edgar Allan Poe, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dolley Madison, and Delaware's own Clifford Brown and Caesar Rodney. In 2013, Delaware's Chautauqua tent show is being co-sponsored by the Lewes Historical Society, the Lewes Chamber of Commerce and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Spiritual Leader Terry Sammons of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware and Principal Chief Mark Gould of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation look on as the Kalmar Nyckel approaches Fort Christina National Historic Landmark.

Dignitaries, led by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (foreground left) and Principal Chief Dennis Coker of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, walk to Old Swedes Church after the landing ceremony at the Fort Christina National Historic Landmark. Pictured in the 2nd row are (from left) Spiritual Leader Terry Sammons of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, Principal Chief Mark Gould of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation, Queen Silvia of Sweden, Satu Siitonen-Heinäluoma and Speaker of the Parliament of Finland Eero Heinäluoma (partially obscured). Behind Queen Silvia are Delaware first lady Carla Markell and Gov. Jack Markell (partially obscured).

On Saturday, May 11, 2013, Delaware welcomed King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, together with Finland's Speaker of the Parliament Eero Heinäluoma, to a Jubilee Day celebration marking the 375th anniversary of the establishment of the first Swedish settlement in America. The day-long celebration began in the morning with events in Philadelphia and Chester, Pa., followed by a luncheon at the Buena Vista mansion south of New Castle, Del., and concluded with a series of activities in Wilmington highlighted by a landing ceremony at the Fort Christina National Historic Landmark. The site, located on the city's Seventh Street Peninsula, marks the approximate location where a group of Swedish and Finnish colonists from the ships Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Grip landed on a natural wharf of rocks in 1638. Fort Christina, named after the then 12-year-old queen of Sweden, was built somewhere nearby.

As part of the landing ceremony, dignitaries—who also included Princess Madeleine of Sweden; Swedish Ambassador to the United States Jonas Hafstrom; Mayor Johan Persson of Kalmar, Sweden; Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and first lady Carla Markell; Sen. Tom Carper; Rep. John Carney; and Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams—sailed from Wilmington's Dravo Plaza to the landmark site aboard a modern replica of the Kalmar Nyckel. Accompanied by singing and drumming by members of the Nanticoke-Lenape Drum Team, the dignitaries were welcomed at the landing site by a Native-American delegation including Principal Chief Dennis Coker and Spiritual Leader Terry Sammons of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware and Principal Chief Mark Gould of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. Lenni Lenape people were living in the Delaware Valley at the time of the colonists' arrival.

After a wreath-laying ceremony, the dignitaries, led by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Chief Coker, walked to Old Swedes Church for a private ceremony and tour. The church, which was completed in 1699 by the descendents of the original Fort Christina settlers, is one of the oldest structures in the United States still in use as a house of worship. Later that evening, the dignitaries attended a dinner at Wilmington's Chase Center on the Riverfront where they were joined by Vice President Joe Biden.

Jubilee Day events were hosted by a broad spectrum of organizations led by the New Sweden Alliance. As the administrator of both the Fort Christina National Historic Landmark and Buena Vista, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs played an important role in the planning and implementation of the event.

Go to the following for press accounts of the 375th Jubilee Day festivities:

There's another part of Delaware history that was missed with the visit to Wilmington of the King and Queen of Sweden
Newsworks, WHYY TV 12, Wilmington, DE—May 14, 2013

A settlement saga: Delaware's founding
News Journal, Wilmington, DE—May 12, 2013

New Sweden's 375th anniversary celebrated
News Journal, Wilmington, DE—May 11, 2013

Swedish royals visit Delaware to commemorate 375th anniversary of colonists' arrival
The Republic, Columbus, Ind.—May 11, 2013

Swedish Royals visit to celebrate New Sweden founding
WDDE 91.1 FM, Dover, DE—May 11, 2013

Swedish royalty celebrate 375 years of history in Delaware
Newsworks, WHYY TV 12, Wilmington, DE—May 11, 2013

Swedish royalty spend day in Wilmington to celebrate 375th Jubilee
News Journal, Wilmington, DE—May 11, 2013

Eleanor Matthews, historic-site interpreter at the John Dickinson Plantation, will be demonstrating a spinning wheel at the "Shall Faithfully Serve" program on June 15.

During the month of June, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be sponsoring 18 special programs at the six museums that it operates across the state.

Highlights of the month include "Shall Faithfully Serve!," a June 15 program exploring indentured servitude at the John Dickinson Plantation. Program participants will symbolically sign an indenture form with a quill pen, after which they will be assigned 18th century chores such as gardening; preparing wool for spinning, weaving and carding; kindling gathering for the smokehouse and cleaning. During their free time, participants will have a chance to play colonial games, enjoy a house tour or explore the plantation grounds.

On June 1, The Old State House will present "The Trial of William Penn," a living-history theater presentation exploring the prosecution of William Penn and the jury that went to jail when they would not find him guilty as charged.

Also on June 1, the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries will utilize the exhibit "Dealing in Symbols: Profundity and the Human Figure" as a backdrop for guided tours that explore the life and work of the noted Wilmington sculptor Charles Parks and his contributions to American art.

Go to the following for a complete listing of events. Except where noted, programs are free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-744-5055.

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy.

On Jan. 29, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013, a $50.7 billion package of disaster assistance largely focused on responding to the effects of Hurricane Sandy which struck a wide swath of the East Coast of the United States in late October 2012. The storm, which caused more than 120 deaths, prompted major disaster declarations in the District of Columbia and 12 states, including Delaware.

As part of the act, Congress appropriated $50 million to cover the costs of preserving and/or rehabilitating historic properties damaged during the storm. All states impacted by the hurricane will compete to receive a portion of these funds. The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, which administers the program in Delaware, is currently seeking letters of interest from potential grant applicants. If your historic property was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, the division wants to hear from you!

To be eligible, the storm-damaged property must be listed, or eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places. Properties may be privately-owned, owned by a local government or state-owned. However, federal regulations do not allow grants to be given to a religious entity or for properties used for religious purposes. The damage to the property must have resulted from the effects of the storm, and documentation must be available to support this claim. Applicants may apply for up to 100% of the cost of making repairs, even if the work has already been completed. The rehabilitation work will be reviewed by the division and must be consistent with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and in compliance with a number of other state and federal regulations.

Potential grant applicants must submit a letter of interest to the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs explaining why their Delaware property may be eligible for funding. Letters of interest must be received by the division no later than June 14, 2013. Information supplied will be used to strengthen the state's application for a share of the larger funding pool. Submission of a letter of interest does not constitute a grant application, nor does it guarantee grant funding. The actual grant-application process will take place in the fall of 2013 once the amount of Delaware's grant award has been determined by the federal government. For more information, go to: "Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy Grants for Historic Properties: Questions and Answers."

Please submit your letter of interest by ground mail to Hurricane Sandy Grants, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, 21 The Green, Dover, DE 19901; or by fax to 302-739-5660; or by email If you have additional questions, contact: Gwen Davis, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer at 302-736-7400 or

Deanna Rishell

In April 2013, Deanna Rishell was promoted to the position of volunteer-services coordinator for the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. The volunteer-services coordinator works to recruit, and fully utilize the talents of, a dedicated cadre of volunteers who can help the agency preserve Delaware's historical legacy. She succeeds Kellie Mullarkey who left the agency in March 2013. Previously, Rishell served as a historic-site interpreter at the division's Dover museums since August 2012. A lifelong resident of Bear, Del., she is a 2012 graduate of Arcadia University in Glenside, Pa. where she earned a bachelor's degree in history and secondary education.

For a second year, the six museums of the state of Delaware have joined the ranks of Blue Star Museums as a vehicle for outreach to members of the United States armed forces. A collaboration between the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 1,800 museums across America, the program offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2013.

In particular, on July 27, 2013 at 9 a.m., Noon and 3 p.m., the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be offering free lecture/tours of the hull of His Majesty's Sloop DeBraak, a British warship that was escorting and protecting a convoy of British and American merchant ships en route to the United States when it was capsized and lost off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798. Normally $10 per person, free tickets for the July 27 tours are available for current and former members of the U.S. military and their families (restricted to persons aged 10 and above). Tickets are available through the Shop Delaware website.