The Delaware History Center and Museums

The Delaware History Center is located on Wilmington’s Riverfront and is owned and operated by the Delaware Historical Society. The History Center comprises of two museums, the Delaware History Museum and the Old Town Hall. The Center also boasts Willingtown Square.

Old Town Hall was built in 1798-1800. It was the center of political and social activities for its first 100 years. The Federal-styled building can be toured on the inside by appointment only.

Four historic houses were relocated to this urban part. It is a perfect place for a picnic. The buildings date from 1748 to 1801. The can be viewed from the outside, but are not open to the public for inside tours of the structures. The houses are all built out of Flemish-bond brick.

The Delaware History Museum is located in an early 20th century art-deco Woolworth store that has been completely renovated. The museum is operated by the Delaware Historical Society. The museum houses a wide variety of items that were once owned by Delawareans. Such items include a Revolutionary War flag and homemade 1960’s hippy furniture. Once such unique item is the world’s largest frying pan; it is 10 feet in diameter. It was built in 1950 for the Delmarva Chicken Festival to fry chicken. Only a small percentage of the items are permanently displayed.

 

The museum has three galleries that contain interactive exhibits that change periodically and one permanent historic display entitled “Distinctively Delaware.”

The Distinctively Delaware Exhibit focuses on how Delaware was a major transportation route from the 1600’s to the present. It also showcases the people that made Delaware important along with the inventions and products that have made Delaware distinctive. The re-created scenes teach visitors about agriculture, the Underground Railroad, Dupont and many other topics and their importance in Delaware’s history.

 

In one of the three changing galleries, the current exhibition for summer 2010 is the History of the Railroad in Delaware. It is entitled “Almost as Fast as Birds Can Fly.” The artifacts show how railroads changed transportation of people and goods.

This is an educational play area. Children can play dress up with vintage clothes, play in a historic kitchen and grocery store, or sit back and enjoy reading old magazines and books.

The Delaware History Museum also offers 14 different educational programs for school groups. The activities last an hour to an hour and half. Some activities involve storytelling and hands-on activities.

The Delaware History Museum is open Tuesday through Friday 11:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m., and the museum is open Saturday 10:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m.

 

The museum is closed on Sundays, Mondays, and on major holidays.

Admission

 

Adults $6.00

Seniors (65+) $5.00

Students $5.00

Military Personnel $5.00

Youth (3-18) $4.00

Children

(2 and younger) FREE

Group Tours $2.00 a person

 

The first Friday of every month is free.

The Delaware History Museum is located at:

504 Market Street

Wilmington, DE 19801

Contact Information:

Telephone 302-656-0637

Group Reservations 302-295-2388

Email deinfo@dehistory.org

 

The Delaware Art Museum

The Delaware Art Museum began in 1912 when a group of Wilmington residents who were all devoted friends and admirers of recently deceased artist Howard Pyle formed the Wilmington Society of the Arts. The purpose of the Society was to preserve and exhibit Howard Pyle’s works and to also promote fine arts in Delaware.

In 1935, the Wilmington Society of the Arts received a generous donation from the family of Samuel Bancroft Jr. They donated 11 acres to build a museum, and most importantly, the largest and finest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art and manuscripts outside of England.

 

In June 2005, the Delaware Art Museum, which is supported by a not-for-profit, private organization, re-opened after completing a three-year $30 million renovation of the existing 60,000 square feet museum and an addition of over 40,000 square feet. There are 17 galleries with only a fraction of the museum’s 12,000 art works on display. The mainstay of the museum is its four permanent collections: Howard Pyle and American Illustration; British Pre-Raphaelite Art; John Sloan; and American Art, 1757 – Present.

Howard Pyle was a gifted artist and art teacher from Wilmington. In this exhibit over 60 of his paintings are presented, including over a dozen of his celebrated and extraordinary pirate paintings. Included in the exhibit are art works by Pyle’s students, such as N.C. Wyeth, Frank E. Schoonover, and other renowned illustrators.

The Delaware Art Museum’s Pre-Raphaelite Art Museum houses over 150 forms of art consisting of drawings, photographs, illustrated books, decorative arts, and paintings. Pre-Raphaelite Art is primarily British artists of the 19th century who harmonized color, form, and composition. The collection features works of art by Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burnes-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Frederick Sandys, John Everett Millais, Marie Spartali Stillman, William Homan, Simeon Solomon, and others.

The Delaware Art Museum houses the largest collection of John Sloan art. John Sloan focused his paintings on ordinary human life in the early 20th century, especially New York City from 1904 through the mid 1940’s. The exhibit also displays Sloan’s paintings of Santé Fe, New Mexico.

This exhibit presents art extending from the early 1800’s to the present. The collection displays famous examples of Early American Modernism, Abstraction, and Post Modernism.

The Delaware Art Museum also hosts many major traveling exhibitions enabling visitors to the museum an opportunity to experience various artists and artistic styles.

On the grounds of the Delaware Art Museum, sculptures are placed along winding, tree-lined, lush paths. Benches are strategically positioned for studying the sculptures or for just relaxing. There are a 13 foot Crying Giant, a sculpture that moves in the breeze, and even a sound sculpture. At the back of the Sculpture Garden is the Anthony N. Fusco Reservoir, which has been revamped into a labyrinth.
 

The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday hours are noon to 4:00 p.m.
The museum is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, New Year’s Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Admission

Adults $12
Seniors (60+) $10
Students (ID required) $6
Youth (7-18) $6
Children (6 and younger) Free
Families (up to 2 adults
And 4 youth) $25

Admission is free on Sundays because of a generous donation from AstraZeneca, and there is free admission on the first Friday of the month from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Address:

The address of the Delaware Art Museum is

2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE 19806

Contact Information:

Telephone: 302-571-9590
Toll-free telephone 866-232-3714
Fax 302-571-0220
Email: info@delart.org