Fall For History
History is in Reach of our Beach
And there's no better time to highlight all the history you can experience here than during the fall, so...
Check out the videos above to learn a little about some of our historical attractions and take a look at our history events and tours for this fall including museums (26 of them!) and exhibits, all in one place to make planning your Fall for Our History adventures easy! Planning a fall beach weekend? Come a little early or stay a little longer to take advantage of midweek tours, presentations, and museum hours. Please check with individual venues to confirm dates and hours.
The Milton Historical Society
The Milton Historical Society Board of Trustees presents “Walking into Greatness,” a hometown hero exhibition about the internationally acclaimed public interest attorney and best-selling author Bryan A. Stevenson. Presented as a timeline, the show puts Stevenson’s personal and professional history into local and national contexts as it traces the magnitude of social change that has taken place during his lifetime. All information for those wishing to participate can be found on the Milton Historical Society’s Facebook Page. Important updates concerning new exhibits, event and programs can be found on the MHS’s website and other social media platforms. Visit our website here and our Facebook page here.
The Seaford Historical Society
Stay tuned for 2021 updates! Check their website here for updates as dates draw near.
The Lewes Historical Society
- Introduction to Lewes: A Maritime Destination
Journey through Lewes’ salty past while learning about the explorers who first put the town on the map. Find out which pirates sailed the local waters, and hear about the brave United States Life-Saving Servicemen who rescued victims from perilous shipwrecks. This 60-minute walking tour includes a visit to the 1884 US Life Saving Station building. Saturdays - 10:00 a.m. April 10 - October 23, 2021. $10 per adult
- Historic Architecture: A View into the Past
The town of Lewes boasts multiple architectural styles throughout several eras within a three-block radius. This 60-minute tour includes an introduction to the historic district and its various stylistic elements, with an emphasis on the homes of important historic families and notable people from throughout the past three centuries in Lewes. Sundays at 4:00 p.m. April 11 through October 24, 2021 and Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. July 11 through October 28, 2021. $10 per adult
- Lewes Legends
Historic Lewes is rich with legends and spooky tales. This 90-minute walking tour will enthrall you with stories of strange happenings in “The First Town, in the First State”. This memorable evening tour will lead you to the Cannonball House that was bombarded by the British during the War of 1812, notably one of the most haunted places in Delaware. (Due to the eerie content of the tour, children seven and under are strongly discouraged from attending. Flashlights are recommended in October.) Sundays & Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. June 13 through October 27, 2021. $15 per adult
- Maritime Plus: Lewes Ashore & Afloat
For the True History Buff! Enjoy all the same content of the Maritime Introduction Tour PLUS entry for the day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to two of our museum sites: The Cannonball House Maritime Museum and the Lewes History Museum. Available by appointment from April through October for $20 per adult. Please contact our Director of Education Marcos Salaverria
- Boy, Man, Hero: Jacob Jones - Lewes' Own opens at the Ryves Holt House, 218 Second Street, Lewes, DE 19958 October 16th, 2021
- Rehoboth Beach Diorama will be available for viewing by appointment at the Rehoboth Beach Main Street office through the Fall.
Fairs & Festivals
- The Antique/Maritime Festival: September 4, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Experience Lewes’s Maritime Living History Festival in conjunction with the 56th Annual Outdoor Antiques Show!
- Fall Craft Fair: October 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, 110 Shipcarpenter Street.
- Boos and Brews: October 29, 110 Shipcarpenter Street.
- History Book Festival: Virtual.
1813- Navigating the Blockade
Friday, November 5, 2021, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, November 6, 2021, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Journey back to 1813, pull up a chair and raise a pint in Mariner's Tavern. Lewistown finds itself once again under a British naval blockade. Lend your voice to history and learn about the various perspectives of this blockade and daily life in Lewistown during the War of 1812.This program will take place in the newly re-imagined Rabbits Ferry House, located at 110 Shipcarpenter Street, Lewes, DE.
Zwaanendael Museum, Lewes
Stay tuned for 2021 updates!
Ocean View Historical Society
The Coastal Towns Historic Cottages Tour will be October 9th from 10am-4pm.
Indian River Life Saving Station Museum Programs
Stay tuned for 2021 updates!
Museums, Exhibits & Antiques
Eastern Sussex County
- Lightship Overfalls, Lewes: The Overfalls is one of only 17 remaining lightships out of a total of 179 built from 1820 to 1952. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011, it is one of seven lightships in this country still open to the public.
- Old Courthouse, Georgetown's Old Courthouse was built in 1792 and is located 150 feet off the Georgetown Circle on S. Bedford Street. The GPS address is 10 S. Bedford Street. Visitors can see Patty Cannon's poison cache, rare court tipstaffs, and America's last used whipping post on display.
- Lewes History Museum: The Lewes Historical Society recently celebrated the opening of its new museum space featuring their collection of tens of thousands of historic artifacts, artwork, documents, maps and photos. Staffed by skilled professionals from the Society, the Museum serves as the primary source of information about Lewes for visitors, researchers, students and residents. The Museum also provides ongoing seminars, symposia and presentations, a wing for community non-profit gatherings, a children’s interactive history area, and an attractive venue for private celebrations and events. Visit their website for details.
- Cannonball House Museum, Lewes: Cannonball House is the home of The Lewes Historical Society's maritime museum. Nationally important pieces of maritime art and memorabilia are displayed in the house, including the Fresnel Lens of Fourteen Foot Bank Light. There is a cannonball from the War of 1812 bombardment by the British embedded in its foundation.
- Zwaanendael Museum, Lewes: The museum is a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military, and social history. Modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands, the museum commemorates the founding of Delaware's first European settlement by the Dutch in 1631.
- Fort Miles Historic Site, Lewes: Fort Miles, located in what is now Cape Henlopen State Park, was a key piece in the nation's coastal defense during WWII. Take a tour of the Fort, enjoy an interpretive program, dance to a swing band, and celebrate the "greatest generation" in our nation's history. On the National Register of Historic Places. Watch a Pentagon Channel program about the fort here.)
- Rehoboth Beach Museum, Rehoboth Beach: The Society preserves and displays showcase artifacts that illustrate the development of the community. The exhibits range from vintage postcards and bathing suits to original Civil War era maps and train schedules as well as temporary exhibits such as photography and needlework exhibits, etc.
- Anna Hazzard Museum, Rehoboth Beach: This museum boasts a Camp Meeting Era "Tent" structure, which houses a collection of artifacts and memorabilia pertaining to the early days of Rehoboth Beach as a religious retreat.
- Indian River Lifesaving Station, Delaware Seashore State Park: Learn the history of the U. S. Life-Saving Service, the precursor to today's U. S. Coast Guard, by visiting the original Indian River Life-Saving Station. Be swept back to a time where night-time beach patrols and perilous high seas rescues were the only way to save shipwreck victims along the coasts of the United States. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Bethany Beach Museum, Bethany Beach: Located in the foyer of the Town Hall, the exhibits contain memorabilia and photographs from the Bethany Beach area.
- DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum, Fenwick Island: DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum is an ever-changing exhibit that expands and diversifies with the acquisitions of new artifacts as they are recovered. The collection of shipwreck and recovered artifacts is one of the largest in the Mid-Atlantic and contains shipwreck artifacts both regional and worldwide.
- Fenwick Island Lighthouse, Fenwick Island: The lighthouse is owned by the state of Delaware and maintained by the private, non-profit New Friends of the Fenwick Island Lighthouse. The "isolated" lighthouse now stands surrounded by a neighborhood of houses and businesses. Visitors can enter the base to view a small museum and gift shop.
Central Sussex County
- The Milford Museum, Milford: Permanent exhibits include local historic events from the 1700s to the present, shipbuilding, and local businesses. Other exhibits include an historic doll collection, Victorian silverware, Delaware ladybugs, and early Milford baseball.
- Treasures of the Sea Museum, Delaware Technical Community College, Georgetown: Betze Library building. The exhibit is a beautiful collection of spanish treasures from a 17th century ship, the Nuestra Seniora de Atocha. The library is also home to the Elsie Williams Doll Collection. Currently the collection of over 600 dolls is housed in more than one dozen glass cases and is continuing to grow.
- Marvel Carriage Museum, Georgetown: There are many historic buildings on the museum grounds such as the Ellis School, a one room school house built in 1833. There are two large barns on the grounds that house carriages from Mr. Nutter Marvel's collection. Among these carriages are the Queen's carriage, the Disney carriage, a peddlers wagon and an 1800's era horse drawn hearse carriage. There are many treasures to be seen here such as the beautiful collection of victrolas, ephemera, photographs, telephones, furniture and many more items related to Georgetown history.
- Delaware Aviation Museum, Georgetown: The museum features many WWII aviation artifacts, memorabilia and displays. Also home of the Jeffrey L. Ethell Memorial Aviation Library of over 3,000 aviation related books. The largest aviation library in the east. Several aircraft are also on display surrounding the museum. www.delawareaviationmuseum.org
- Lydia Black Cannon Museum, Milton: The museum’s exhibit includes original art, sailors’ decorative folk art, photographs, ship building tools, sailing implements, and ships’ logs.
- Nanticoke Indian Museum, Millsboro: Displays include thousands of arrowheads, pottery, axe hammers and other objects, all of which are homemade. Visitors are educated and receive insight of the work that goes into creating Native arts and leave with a new understanding of Nanticoke culture. Display also features an example of our village to show how our elders lived in the old days and lots of artwork from tribal members and others.
- Prince George's Chapel, Dagsboro. Historic chapel with tours available by appointment. Built in 1755, Prince George’s Chapel has its beginnings as an Anglican chapel-of-ease, serving the northern outlying area of Worcester Parish, Maryland. During the reorganization of the Episcopal Church following the American Revolution, the chapel became an independent parish church in the diocese of Delaware. Deeded to the State of Delaware in 1967, it was restored and reopened as a museum, administered by the State. The Chapel’s most striking feature is its graceful barrel-vaulted ceiling of natural, unadorned heart of pine planks. The nave section remains as the original 18th century portion, while the east transept end with its great window and octagonal high pulpit has been reconstructed. The chapel is available for a fee for special events, such as a wedding and religious services, that are consistent with its historical character. For more information or tours, please call 302-732-6835.
Western Sussex County
- Bridgeville Historical Society Museum, Bridgeville: The Society’s collection includes a wealth of artifacts, documents, photographs, and books from local businesses, families, and community organizations.
- Seaford Museum, Seaford: Extensive collections and exhibits highlight local area history following a timeline from Native Americans to present day. Museum contains a library of historical materials, changing exhibit gallery, interactive displays and more.
- Seaford Fire Museum, Seaford: Displays fire memorabilia related to the history of the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department Inc.
- Governor Ross Mansion & Plantation, Seaford: Explore a complete Victorian Italianate mansion with slave quarters, barns, sheds and spacious grounds. Learn what life was like before the Civil War, why a popular Delaware governor was smuggled to England with a Federal warrant out for his arrest and how the “War of Northern Aggression” changed life forever.
- Days Gone By Museum, Woodland: Woodland Ferry history, restored antique tractors, carpenter's tools and other artifacts. Tours by appointment only.
- Bethel Heritage Museum, Bethel: Explore the history of this quaint shipbuilding village.
- Cook House Museum, Laurel: The Cook House contains the offices of the Laurel Historical Society, as well as a large number of photos and artifacts that help to tell the story of Laurel and the residents who call it home.
- Laurel Heritage Museum, Laurel: Showcasing an extensive collection of historical documents and objects displayed in our restored Train Station. The Key element of the Museum is the one-of-a kind Waller Photograph Collection, recognized as the premier period historical collection by both the State of Delaware Archives and the University of Delaware.
- Delmar Railroad Museum, Delmar: Delmar, known for its railroading history, is home to a unique highball signal listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nearby, a 1929 caboose serves as museum for railroad artifacts. The highball signal and caboose are located in a small park on Route 54 at the railroad tracks. The caboose has no regular hours, so call ahead. A railroad history display is also available at the Delmar Public Library, 101 N. Bi.State Blvd. and the Delmarva Model Railroad Club posts holiday open house events for model train enthusiasts.
Love Antiques and Collectibles?
Check out our Antiques Itineraries! The itineraries, at this link, are designed especially for antiques and collectibles fans and can be enjoyed over two days, any time of year, with plenty of time left over for leisurely lunches and sightseeing along the way.