Delaware, also known as the First State, is home to many rich historical sites. Some of the most popular include:
First State National Historical Park
This park encompasses three historic sites in New Castle, Delaware: Fort Christina, the New Castle Court House, and the John Dickinson Plantation. These sites tell the story of Delaware’s early history, from its founding by the Dutch in 1638 to its role in the American Revolution.
Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library
Winterthur is a former du Pont estate that is now a museum dedicated to American decorative arts. The museum’s collection includes over 90,000 objects, including furniture, paintings, ceramics, and textiles. The gardens at Winterthur are also renowned for their beauty.
Fort Delaware is a former Civil War prison camp located on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River. During the war, the fort was used to hold over 85,000 Confederate prisoners. Today, Fort Delaware is a popular tourist destination where visitors can learn about the fort’s history and explore its grounds.
Delaware Art Museum
The Delaware Art Museum is located in Wilmington and houses a collection of over 12,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and photography. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs and events.
The Kalmar Nyckel
The Kalmar Nyckel is a replica of a 17th-century Swedish warship that was used to settle Delaware in 1638. The ship is now docked in Wilmington and is open to visitors for tours.
Other popular historical sites in Delaware include:
- Hagley Museum and Library
- Nemours Mansion and Gardens
- Fort Miles Historic Area
- John Dickinson Plantation
- New Castle Historic District
- Lewes Historic District
- Odessa Historic District
- Zwaanendael Museum
In addition to the historical sites listed above, here are a few more that are worth a visit:
- Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village in Dover tells the story of Delaware’s agricultural heritage. Visitors can explore a living history village, see farm animals, and learn about traditional farming practices.
- Barratt’s Chapel in Frederica is one of the oldest churches in the United States. It was built in 1780 and is still in use today.
- John Dickinson Plantation in Dover was the home of John Dickinson, a Founding Father and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Visitors can tour the plantation house and learn about Dickinson’s life and work.
- Lightship Overfalls in Lewes is a former lightship that is now a museum. Visitors can tour the ship and learn about its history and the role of lightships in maritime navigation.
- Nemours Mansion and Gardens in Wilmington is a former du Pont estate that is now a museum. The mansion is known for its lavish interiors and the gardens are known for their beauty.
If you are interested in learning more about Delaware’s maritime history, be sure to visit the Delaware History Museum in Dover and the New Castle Maritime Museum in New Castle.
If you are traveling with children, you may want to visit the Delaware Children’s Museum in Wilmington. This museum offers interactive exhibits and programs for children of all ages.
No matter what your interests are, you are sure to find a historical site in Delaware that you will enjoy. With its rich history and diverse culture, Delaware has something to offer everyone.
Things to do at Delaware’s historical sites
Delaware historical sites: Tips for visitors
Here are a few tips for visitors to Delaware’s historical sites:
- Plan your visit in advance. Many of Delaware’s historical sites have seasonal hours and admission fees. It is a good idea to check the website of the site you are planning to visit before you go.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Many of Delaware’s historical sites involve a lot of walking.
- Bring sunscreen and water, especially if you are visiting in the summer.
- Be respectful of the property. Many of Delaware’s historical sites are centuries old and need to be preserved.
- Ask questions. The staff at Delaware’s historical sites are knowledgeable and passionate about their work. They are happy to answer your questions and help you learn more about the site.
- First State National Historical Park: The park offers a variety of ranger-led programs and tours. Be sure to check the park’s website for a schedule of upcoming events.
- Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library: The museum offers a variety of guided tours, including tours of the house, the gardens, and the library. There are also self-guided tours available.
- Fort Delaware: The fort offers a variety of tours, including ranger-led tours, self-guided tours, and ghost tours.
- Delaware Art Museum: The museum offers a variety of guided tours, including tours of the galleries, the sculpture garden, and the museum’s special exhibitions. There are also self-guided tours available.
- The Kalmar Nyckel: The ship offers a variety of tours, including guided tours, self-guided tours, and sailing trips.
I hope this information is helpful. Have a great time exploring Delaware’s historical sites!