Archive for the ‘Events’ Category


A New Kind of Club….

January 29, 2010

Students Examining Old Image of Their School, originally uploaded by Delaware Historical Society.

I am very excited about a new partnership between the us here at the Delaware Historical Society and middle school students and P.S. DuPont. Together, we have formed a history club. The club was the idea of Kelly Whitaker – an absolutely extraordinary 6th grade teacher! Because P.S. DuPont just switched from an elementary school to a middle school – she thought having a history club would be a great way to build a sense of community, history education…and FUN!

Visiting the Jail Cells
Image by Delaware Historical Society via Flickr
What is it?
Image by Delaware Historical Society via Flickr
Locked Up
Image by Delaware Historical Society via Flickr

We will all be meeting together – students, teachers, parents, and historical society staff members – once a month and learning about a variety of topics. Our first gathering was two weeks ago and we provided a general overview of the historical society. I gave a tour of the museum, students explored some of our artifacts more indepth, and we also shared with them old photographs including daguerreotypes, tintypes, negatives ,etc. (The image above shows students examining old images of their school when it was first constructed!)

We had a great group! For me, it was exciting to hear the students talk about when they visited the museum in 3rd grade or 4th grade for a field trip. I was impressed (and thrilled) by how much they remembered. Most rewarding, was watching the students feel comfortable in the museum and begin to take ownership of it. The museum is – after all – a place for them, their histories, and their stories!

I’m looking forward to our February meeting where we’ll be learning about the Underground Railroad.

Until 11:45 Next, Andrea

Here is a Smile Box Album from our history club!

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Fall Fest A Success!

November 20, 2009

Another shot of Andrea and Cagney, originally uploaded by Delaware Historical Society.

A few weeks ago I wrote about getting ready for Fall Fest at the Delaware Historical Society….and then I didn’t write anything about how the event went. Well….shame on me!

We're going fishing!

It was a GREAT event. We got lucky because it didn’t rain, it was sunny, and it wasn’t too warm. (In fact, it rained the five Saturdays before Fall Fest and the Saturday after Fall Fest too! Like I said…lucky!)

Overall we had about 500 people visit the Delaware History Museum, the activities that we organized, and the community groups who came out for the event.



Ellen and Dorothy

This year we had two different areas with kid’s activities where they could aim a nerf bow and arrow into a target, play a duck bean bag toss, pick a rubber ducky (or crab) in our duck pond, color a picture, try their hand at fishing, and make a duck call out of a straw. (The straw duck call and the nerf bow and arrow were by far the most popular kid’s activities.) We also had a storytime…and don’t forget about Lucy the Whale. Lucy survived the day and was a hit – about 200 people visited her and learned about our very special Fin Whale. (I must say – she looked so tiny when she was outside on Market St.)


A really hard day...

We had some great music by the Whirled Peas. And several community organizations came out including – the Red Cross, the Delaware Museum of Natural History, The Brandywine Zoo, The Delaware Nature Society, East Coast Search and Rescue, and the New-Del-Pen Newfoundland Club. (The picture above is me and Cagney – the Newfoundland who attended the event.)

Overall, it was nice to see the entire staff coming together to pull everything off! I truly appreciated all of their efforts!

Check out all of the Fall Fest pictures on Flickr or on our Delaware Historical Society Facebook page. Have you own pictures? We would love to upload them and add them to the albums!!!!

Until 11:45 Next, Andrea

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A Robin’s View of Putting the Garden to Bed

November 11, 2009
Bird’s Eye View of Flower Garden from Scaffold Perch, originally uploaded by Delaware Historical Society.

From a bird’s eye view at 11:45 Saturday morning in the Read House garden three women walked the pathways below chattering away like bluejays while one made periodic notes.

They were preparing, it seemed, for a day spent putting the flower garden to bed for the winter, but also looking forward to the late winter and pruning in the park and kitchen garden sections. At noon the women disappeared into the basement of the big house to fortify their willing volunteers with soup and cake and discuss the hidden meanings of flowers and future steps for the Read House garden.

Volunteers Cut Back Hostas
Image by Delaware Historical Society via Flickr

By 2:00 the Delaware Historical Society volunteers and organizers returned to the garden and much to this bird’s chagrin began to cut back all the perennials in the flower beds and even dig out the dahlia bulbs in the center boxwood basket. Only the canna lilies still in bloom were left alone. What’s a bird to do for food?

Leaves from the trees on the property are being gathered in the park section of the garden and will soon be spread atop the flower beds to insulate the perennials over the winter—lucky plants!

In the back section of the garden a group of men trimmed limbs from a few trees. From what I could see in my perch in the mulberry tree, some bottom limbs were trimmed back from the lilac bushes below. One of the “bluejays” helped a man determine where to cut a dead limb out of one of the old quinces, and the fig tree was trimmed back below the sheltering brick wall beside it.

Luckily my habitat in the tree and shrub-filled park and kitchen garden sections was not altered too much this time around. There will be some berries to eat if I decide to winter over. But I know they’ll be back to target the shrubs and trees in the late winter. Hopefully they’ll take pity on this poor bird!

Until next year…
The Robin (with help from Michele)

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A Whale of Tale!

November 5, 2009
Lucy the Whale, originally uploaded by Delaware Historical Society.

Wow – we’re busy this week. Two blog posts in one day! (Sometimes that seems that we have so much to write about while other weeks….well….)

The start of building Lucy the Giant Whale
Image by Delaware Historical Society via Flickr

This week I’ve super busy getting ready for Fall Fest. It’s a free city family event that takes place along Market Street – the 400 through the 800 blocks. There will be a lot going on and we’re excited about participating.

It's all tape and plastic!
Image by Delaware Historical Society via Flickr

Our theme this year is water and water safety. It all relates back to the exhibit at the Delaware History Musuem, Whales, Weirs, and Waterfowl. I’ve spend my week making bean bag tosses, duck ponds, and fishing games. However, I think (if I do say so myself) that the best part of Fall Fest is going to be Lucy the Giant Whale!

I found out about Lucy through a Twitter friend who tweeted out the website of where to order instructions. (She’s part of the curriculum materials developed by Whale Net at Wheelock College. and the Mingan Island Cetacean Study) I thought she was awesome and asked if we could make her for Fall Fest. (After all – the first part of our exhibit title is Whales).

Lucy's insides
Image by Delaware Historical Society via Flickr

I ordered the instructions (MICS was so good about sending them to me ASAP). I bought the materials over the weekend and we began constructing Lucy on Tuesday. Now – I have to say – in my line of work at the Delaware Historical Society, I don’t often have the opportunity to learn about whales or use the metric system. I’m ashamed to say this BUT…the first two hours of my whale building adventure consisted of trying to re-learn the metric system. (I did know it once upon a time…maybe in 7th grade science.) It also took some head scratching to decipher (and remember) Dorsal Side, Ventral Side, peduncle, flukes, anterior side (head), and posterior side (okay…I knew what that was)!

With a lot of help (five people helping me out) and a lot of jokes along the way – like lots of Jonah and the Whale/Jonas brothers quips (trust me they all related after being at whale building for 5 hours strait), jokes about being able to “add giant” whale to our resumes, and one guide asking if my master’s in history prepare me for this – we managed to build our giant whale. We only had two slight mishaps along the way (like building the head incorrectly the first time and having Lucy “pop” when we first tried to inflate her.) Now that she’s done. I have to say this…SHE’S AWESOME! She’s huge to look at from the outside (I really never knew that whales were that big), but the best part is when you go inside. Yes – you can really go inside!!!

Lucy the Whale
Image by Delaware Historical Society via Flickr

I wouldn’t have been able to do it without help so I’m very grateful for everyone who put to good use their out of practice crawling muscles, risked slipping on giant sheets of plastic, unrolled piece after piece of tape, and stayed late with me to finish her up. These pictures simply don’t do her justice so I hope you’ll come out on Saturday (it’s supposed to be a beautiful day) for the Fall Fest. It’s from 11:00-4:00. Lucy the whale will be in the 500 block of Market St. at the Delaware Historical Society.

Now – onto making duck calls out of plastic straws!

Until 11:45 Next,

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Fall Fest Preparations

November 5, 2009

Chris and Curtis Ready to Play Duck Hunt, originally uploaded by Delaware Historical Society.

Take Aim
Image by Delaware Historical Society via Flickr

The staff and volunteers of the Delaware Historical Society are busy this week preparing for the City of Wilmington’s Fall Fest this Saturday. Yesterday the Howard School of Technology Service Learning students, Chris and Curtis helped paint boxes for a bean bag toss. They also tried the nerf “duck shoot.” We made the game pretty difficult, Curtis succeeded after 12 attempts- can you beat that? The object is to shoot through the holes next to the sitting ducks. We just didn’t have the heart to shoot a duck! We are soft, animal loving people through and through! Hey- is that so bad?

Here are Curtis and Chris posing with the nerf guns- they loved the game we’re pretty sure you will too!

We’re also trying to construct Lucy, a 55’ long whale. Wish us luck- as Saturday draws near- we need your good wishes and Lucy’s cooperation. It’s hard to birth a 55’ whale- full grown and

Image by Delaware Historical Society via Flickr

made of plastic. Come down to the Society this Saturday- we’ll have live animals (not plastic, we promise) from the Brandywine Zoo, a table from the Delaware Natural History Museum, and many other attractions including Newfoundland dogs and rescue dogs. All that- and our smiling faces. We hope you’ll join us. It’s free!

For more about the City’s programs, check this out:

Until next time,

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All Aboard for the Whistle Stop Tour!

October 19, 2009
Strasburg Railroad #475
Image via Wikipedia

It’s 11:45 and I just got off the telephone with the last piece of the promotional puzzle we’ve been working on for six weeks.  We’re calling it “All Aboard Delaware in 2010.”

In May of 2010, our Delaware History Museum will be opening an exhibition featuring the history of Delaware’s railroad industry – everything from the rail and wheel makers to the conductors and engineers.  It’s a great idea BUT how are we going to get people to see it?  Sure, people like to learn about trains, but they like to see and ride trains a lot more.

Our PR coordinator, MaryLynn, and I put our heads together.  First, we contact the Wilmington & Western Railroad – a tourist railroad in the suburbs that takes visitors through Delaware’s beautiful Chateau Country – then the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, where they display more than 100 historic rail cars and railroad memorabilia.  The three institutions each agree to offer $2 discounts as part of the All Aboard program and to jointly promote each other’s venues.  We call it “The Whistle Stop Trail” (is that cute or what?)!  And to encourage travelers to visit all three attractions on The Whistle Stop Trail, the names of people who visit all three will be entered into a drawing to win great prizes every week.  BUT what kind of prizes?  Better put our heads together again.

How about two free Amtrak tickets?  Great idea! Our next call is to the regional Amtrak community relations guy.  He’s interested, BUT “what does Amtrak get out of it?”  By now our heads are getting pretty bruised, but we put them together one more time. What if we put a discount package together to encourage visitors to come to Wilmington on Amtrak for The Whistle Stop Trail?  We’ve got some great hotels and they love the idea, BUT if visitors come to Wilmington by train, how are they going to get to the hotels that aren’t in walking distance – not to mention the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania that’s 44 miles away?  Wilmington only has 21 taxis – that’s seven per eight hour shift!  Once more, heads come together.

Hertz and Budget have offices near Amtrak station but they never return calls.  However, we’re nothing if not “enterprising” – Enterprise Rent-a-Car that is!  Sure enough MaryLynn visits one of the local offices and gets an immediate “buy in.”  BUT, they wonder, how are we going to get the word out to prospective visitors outside of Wilmington?  Ok heads – well you know the drill.  Let’s bring our regional convention and bureau on board as a partner and piggyback on their promotions.  A ten minute call at 11:05 am and we’ve got a 9th partner and the final piece of the  puzzle.  Now, onto our next exhibition…quilts.  HEADS!….

-Greg (Chief of Development)

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June 18, 2009

If you’ve wondered why there were no new Making History 11:45 posts this week, it’s because Ellen and I were both at National History Day at the University of Maryland.  The national competition was from Sunday through today.  (The awards ceremony was today!)  I plan on posting more about our week tomorrow (along with pictures) but I wanted to tell all of the NHD students how proud both Ellen and I are of everyone….especially our 2 Best of Delaware winners Becky (for her junior exhibit about Clara Barton) and JP (for his documentary about wartime journalist).  A very special congratulations is also for Devin who won the NHD special prize for African American history for his website called “The Statne that Stood the Test of Time.”

I promise I’ll write more tomorrow, but I wanted to congragulate all of our Delaware students and teachers as soon as possible!!!

Until 11:45 Next, Andrea

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