Archive for the ‘Museum’ 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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Taking the show on the Road!

May 27, 2009

Robert Outreach, originally uploaded by Delaware Historical Society.

As Delaware History Museum educators we sometimes take the show on the road! We try to offer educational outreach programs every Monday and only Monday! (In a past life I was known to schedule outreaches on other days of the week, but I have since been reborn to follow this strict policy! So, dear reader, if you are a teacher and you are gearing to call me and ask for a Friday afternoon outreach- I will need to check with my supervisor first! ).

It is exciting to hit the road and visit schools, most often we end up driving on DuPont Highway, Route 13, thanks to T. Coleman DuPont:

It is eye opening for our museum education staff, who live and spend most of our time in New Castle County to get into Kent and Sussex Counties where we get to see the places where Delaware history happened. On our trip to Hartly we drove by Everett’s Corner- near Kenton, Delaware- where Cheney Clow a Loyalist/ Tory began his rebellion and built his fort during the American Revolution: In Seaford we were enticed by the Seaford Historical Society’s Ross Mansion, but we did not have the time to stop- don’t worry Seaford we will be back someday soon!

On these long car rides we realize the dedication of teachers and brave chaperones, who ride in packed buses, brimming with noisy 4th graders, to visit our museum and participate in a day full of educational programs and activities, year after year.

On May 18th we ventured to Seaford, me (Ms. Antoinette), Mr. Rob (pictured above), who is a dedicated Museum Educator for the past three years, and Ms. Barbara our very special volunteer and creator of the Caesar Rodney’s Midnight Ride narrated play outreach program that we each conducted this day.

We are looking forward to a Delaware Historical Society outreach vehicle in the near future! At present we settle for my personal vehicle, which can comfortably seat 4, but we have been known to squeeze someone in the middle of the back seat, just so that we can come to your school!

For more images from this outreach visit to Central Elementary School, visit us on Flickr at:



Museums Galore!

May 4, 2009

2009 American Association of Museums Conference, originally uploaded by Delaware Historical Society.

This past weekend was the 2009 American Association of Museums (AAM) conference. I got to spend all four days (Thursday-Sunday) at the conference and it certainly kept me busy, busy, busy at 11:45!  In fact, it kept the entire DHS staff pretty busy at 11:45 (and beyond) each day. We were very lucky this year because it was right in our back yard in Philadelphia (Or is Philadelphia considered our front yard since it’s north of Delaware…hmmmm) and thanks to a grant from the Jesse Ball duPont Fund everyone on staff was able to attend!

This was my very first AAM conference (but hopefully not my last) and it was both an amazing and overwhelming experience. There were over 5,000 people registered from all across the nation and over 40 countries (I met a woman from Rekyvick) representing every type of museum you could possibly think of. There were hundereds of sessions, just as many exhibitors….

To be honest, by the last session yesterday afternoon I was on information overload. I’m STILL processing all of the information.

But there was an amazing array of sessions to choose from for all disciplines – technology, education, collections, diversity, fund raising, management, membership. You name it there was a session. I attended a lot of sessions about technology, social media, web 2.0 and (of course) education – a total of 13 sessions, 2 round tables, and the keynote address by Malcom Gladwell (who wrote the Tipping Point and Blink.)

AAM did their best to encourage participation in social media throughout the conference – blogging, posting pictures on Flickr, Tweeting – with a game called Future Quest. (I won my prize!!!) I have to be honest though – I felt a little awkward tweeting and texting in the middle of the presentations. (You can see some of the insights by searching #aam09 on Twitter.)

My favorite sessions were two education sessions – one called Kids + History + Exhibitions = Possibilities (about creating exhibit interactives in history exhibits) and another entitled Collaboration for Innovation: Museum Staff and Classroom Teachers Achieving Excellence. I loved learning about technology and truly believe in its interpretive power, but I guess I truly am an educator at heart!

The two best parts of AAM were when I saw our education bulletin publication displayed at the EdCom (Committee on Education) round table. It was displayed among other museum education publications and I have to say – it certainly held its own and looked great! Our designer is incredibly talented and it was rewarding to see her work shining amongst all the others!

I also was please to find out that the word is getting out there about our Making History 11:45 project. I was sitting at lunch one day. After introducing myself and where I work – someone at the table asked me “Are you with that Making History 11:45 project?” When I heard that I squealed – yes SQUEALED- with delight that yes I am involved with that project. So the word is getting out there and I want to thank all of you for following along and telling people about the project.

I could go on and on about AAM – the things I learned, the people I met, the ideas I’m excited about exploring…However, I think I’ve posted enough for now.

Until 11:45 Next, Andrea


Painting Away…The Next Step

February 24, 2009

Painting Away, originally uploaded by Delaware Historical Society.

It normally takes at least 2 days to move around the exhibit walls. However, because we had so many helpers, we were able to start painting after only 1 day of exhibit de-installation.

The walls went from a bright orange (so appropriate for an exhibit about firefighting) to a dark chocolate brown. (It looks maroon here but it really is brown.) It’s actually a very pretty color color and will make the paintings in our next exhibit look wonderful. (Plus we’re having a champagne and dessert reception so I think chocolate brown is fitting…as long as we have some chocolate at least!)

Our next exhibit is for the Lincoln Bicentennial and is called “Frank Schoonover’s Lincoln: Paintings From the Collection of WSFS Bank.” Schoonover created these paintings for illustrations in a book about the life of Lincoln.

In case you’re wondering (because you were perhaps aghast at my musical selections yesterday) my playlist during painting consisted of Prince of Egypt, Moulin Rouge, Gaelic Storm and (deviating from music) the This American Life, StoryCorps, and The Moth podcasts.

Until 11:45 Next, Andrea

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Hairspray, Ragtime, Simon and Garfunkel…

February 23, 2009
Peeling off Vinyl Lettering at 11:45 on February 10, 2009  Delaware Historical Society.

At the Delaware Historical Society the staff works together to create (and take down) exhibits in the Delaware History Museum.  We have a new exhibit opening this week on Thursday so for the past several weeks different staff members (me included) have helped with the de-installation of our old exhibition.  It’s a step by step process.

First step – our collections manager and Director of Museum Programs and Collections (who curates all of our exhibits) removed all of the artifacts  from the gallery.

Photos off the Wall
Exhibition Deinstallation Day 1

Second step – any reproduction images were taken off of the walls and separated into piles.  Our last exhibition was about the history of firefighting in Delaware and it contained some very striking and memorable pictures.  Most of these enlarged images will be given to the fire companies who lent us the original images to scan.  Others will be on display in our kid’s area of the museum in the firefighting section.

Empty Exhibit Cases

Third step – moving empty exhibit cases!  Leading up to…

Moving Walls

Step Four – when the real fun begins.  Our gallery has movable (but very heavy) walls.  A group of staff members and volunteered all worked together to rearrange the walls for our next exhibit.

Exhibit Deinstallation in Progress

Me?  Well because there were so many people helping this time around (and maybe because I’m not the strongest person in the world), I spent the day peeling off vinyl lettering to prepare for painting.   The first picture posted is me – captured at 11:45 peeling off some of the letters from the wall.  All in all there were several quotes on the walls (one is pictured directly above) and it took the entire day to peel them all off.

Oh and if you’re wondering about the title of this post and what exactly Hairspray, Ragtime, Simon and Garfunkel all have in common (or to exhibit deinstallation for that matter)….they were part of my play list for the day.  I listened to those three albums in their entirety (both acts of Ragtime) as well as random other songs from Beyonce, Miley Cirus, Queen, High School Musical and Toto.  Yes -I can admit it…Miley Cirus and High School Musical!!!! (Isn’t admitting it the first half of the battle towards recovery?)  No, I take that back – I am not ashamed.

Until 11:45 Next, Andrea

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Introducing Making History 11:45

February 19, 2009

Ellen and Andrea, photograph taken by Micheal Willman.

Have you ever wondered what it is like to work at a museum? Or a historic library and archives?  Or a historic house?  Wonder no more – we’re planning to let you know!!!!

Making History 11:45 is a project that we’re starting at the Delaware Historical Society in Wilmington, Delaware.  In short, we plan to post pictures and short descriptions of what we do at 11:45.  Our jobs are so diverse that it could be anything – working on exhibits, attending a meeting, leading school groups, labeling newsletters for mailings, talking on the phone, or getting ready for lunch.  Through posting our pictures and descriptions we would like to get you interested in history (if you’re not already) and the process of how history is saved, created, interpreted, made relevant, and available to you.

To give proper credit where credit is due, we were inspired by a similar project called Same Time 7:15.  We heard about it on NPR and immediately thought about how we could do something similar.  Please check out the Same Time 7:15 web-site too. We can’t promise that our images will be anywhere near as beautiful or creative…however, we’ll certainly be able to post some great stories from the past!!!

For now – the “us”  or the “we” is Andrea (pictured left) and Ellen (pictured right).   We work together running the National History Day in Delaware program but work in the education department (Andrea) and the library (Ellen).  For more about what we do visit the About Us page on our blog. …which will be coming eventually.

As we get into the swing of things, our goal is that this project will grow and other staff members will become involved so you’ll get to meet them and learn about what they will do too!  And eventually – we want you to participate by documenting what you do at 11:45 too! We’re very excited about this project and hope that you will be too!

As for our first – what did we do at 11:45?  Well – we braved a cold, windy Delaware day (okay so it was unseasonably warm for February) to have our picture taken outside of our library building in Willingtown Square.  We left our coats inside in the interest of trying to look our best for the photo.  We told our photographer (the great Micheal Willman who is an intern from Howard High School) that he needed to make us look cool and fun, hip yet smart.  Did it work?  Maybe we should have worn our reading glasses for the looking smart thing….

Until 11:45 Next, Andrea

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