Delaware's 23rd Annual Chautauqua - The I's Have It: Industry, Innovation, and Invention Banner

Zwaanendael Museum Facebook livestream, Zoom, and in-person

All programs are free. Zoom programs are open to the first 100 registrants. Attendees of in-person programs must bring their own chairs.

Wartime Medicine: Medical Knowledge from the Revolution through World War II  – 12:00 pm

In this virtual program, Old State House Lead Interpreter Gavin Malone will discuss the role medical knowledge played in more than 150 years of American wars. He will describe the successes and failures, how issues of race impacted treatment and what important role Delawareans played in advancing medical techniques.

Join this program via Zoom (Register Here) or Facebook.

All the News Fit to Print: Newspapers Spread the Word in Delaware  – 1:15 pm

In this age, when stories are shared instantly on the Internet, this program looks at the history of journalism.  By placing contemporary mass media in a historical context, we reveal a story of innovation, technology, growing professionalism, and public service.  However, there is also the story of fake news and yellow journalism.  Sensationalism always sold well — it started wars, caused widespread panic, helped or hurt politicians, caused financial disruptions, and damaged reputations.  So as journalism has waxed and waned in the past, pushed and pulled by forces far broader and more dynamic than simply providing news, we frame the story in the larger perspective in all the news fit to print and some more.

Mike Dixon is a historian and writer whose research and teaching focuses on social history and community studies. For over four decades, he has worked to encourage public interest and participation in the preservation of the past while creating understandings between earlier eras and the present. Addressing his area of scholarship, he has appeared on the Today Show, the National Geographic Channel and in prestigious magazines. Mike enjoys seeking out stories that create a distinctive sense of place. Along the way he finds rich, deep, and varied stories about earlier times in our fascinating towns and communities. He holds graduate degrees in history and the behavioral sciences and teaches as an adjunct professor of history at a number of area universities and colleges. His interest in the study of the past started in the late 1960s when he started volunteering at a local historical society.

Join this program via Zoom (Register Here) or Facebook.

Francis Barraud His Master’s Voice  – 2:30 pm

This virtual historical-theater presentation from Johnson Victrola Museum’s historic site interpreter Steven Mumford explores artist Francis Barraud and his painting of one of the most celebrated canines in the world—Nipper, the dog who adorns the Victor trademark, “His Masters Voice.”

Join this program via Facebook.

Dupont’s Haskell Labs  – 3:45 pm

In the years following the American Industrial Revolution, little attention was paid to worker safety. Permanent injury and death were too often outcomes in American mines and factories, and many companies made little effort to improve working conditions. Then, in 1932 twelve people working in a DuPont dye manufacturing plant in Deepwater, New Jersey were diagnosed with similar forms of cancer.

The DuPont company, working for over a century with explosive black powder, knew the importance of safety in the workplace. It had long been a leader in workplace safety and was one of the first companies to create an internal medical division to advise on employee safety. Now it needed to rethink its strategy with the company’s future staked in chemical production and its employees becoming alarmingly ill. This lecture will use newly released archival material to explore the circumstances that led to the creation of the Haskell Laboratory For Toxicology—a pioneering laboratory that studied the hazards of the many new chemicals going into production during the 20th century. The lecture introduces the men and women at Haskell that helped create the field of toxicology research, and it explains how the laboratory maintained its credibility despite being a department within one of the world’s largest chemical producing companies.

Michael DiCamillo is an archivist and historian. He has worked for The University of Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania Historical Society, and the Hagley Museum and Library. He has written for the Journal of Film and History, The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, and has given numerous lectures on United States and New Jersey History to audiences across the U.S. He lives in Moorestown, New Jersey where he serves on the board for the community’s historical society.

Join this program via Zoom (Register Here) and Facebook.

The Old Time Radio Show  – 6:00 pm

Presented by the Possum Point Players Radio Theatre Georgetown, Del. A branch of Possum Point Players, it was founded in 1996, the brainchild of the late David Palmer. Their mission is double-pronged: to read plays aloud at monthly meetings and to present for the public staged readings of dramatic material. They create a network-broadcasting studio, complete with microphones, sound effects, and transcribed music.

Join this program in-person at Stango Park, 114 3rd Street or on Facebook.

Thomas Edison  – 7:15 pm

Black and white photograph of Bob Gleason as Thomas Edison.
Bob Gleason of The American Historical Theatre portrays Thomas Edison

American inventor, scientist, and businessman Thomas Edison developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Edison was dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park.” Less known is his brilliance as a business pioneer. By aligning multiple businesses to bring innovation to the marketplace, he laid the path for today’s General Electric, the company that continues to ask the question: “Why predict the future when you can create it.” Edison’s inventions changed the world. His story is the American Dream.

He began his first entrepreneurial venture selling vegetables to supplement his income. His knack for invention initially included making improvements to the telegraph, but his invention of the phonograph in 1877 was the beginning of a technology-based empire. His business acumen eventually led him to found 14 companies, including General Electric, which is still in existence and is one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world. He modestly once said that his inventions were “one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Bob Gleason completely engages the audience with his portrayal of Thomas Edison. In addition to learning about the inventor’s life, inspirations and inventions, a visit with Thomas Edison will make anyone believe that with a little imagination, ingenuity, and a lot of hard work, great things are possible.

Join this program via Zoom (Register Here) or Facebook.