262_2historical-society  - The Julie Gritton Team

Lewes Historical Society - A Fun Way to Learn About History

The Spring weather in Delaware has been revealing glimpses of Summer, leading people to venture outside and explore!  Recently my husband and I went into the town of Lewes with the goal to visit the Lewes Historical Society’s event that they were having that day, Hearty in the Cause: Lewes 1776.  It was only five dollars per person to step in and feel like we had been blasted into the past where the buildings were open and volunteers were dressed in period clothing.  It was so much fun and what is even better, the Lewes Historical Society offers access for visitors to learn more about the interesting history of Lewes in several ways.  So, what is the Lewes Historical Society and what is there to know?

The Lewes Historical Society was founded on January 19th, 1962 by a group of concerned citizens that sought to preserve the historical architecture of Lewes.  That same year, they purchased the Lewes Historic Complex located at the corner of Third and Shipcarpenter Streets.  There, they moved several notable historic buildings such as the Burton-Ingram house and restored them to their former glory.  They continue to purchase and restore historic homes and properties as well as take lengths to educate the public.  On their website, they state that their mission is to “promote(s) and advocate(s) the preservation, interpretation, and cultural enrichment of the Lewes region through museum exhibits, educational programs, historical research and publications.”  Their efforts for preservation are evident by visiting these historical homes, but the museums give visitors a chance to see artifacts from the past.

The Lewes Maritime Museum at the Cannonball House has recently made the local news when the cannonball on the side of the building went missing.  One night, the guilt must have ravaged the conscience of the thief and the cannonball was found one morning at the doorstep of the Zwaanendael Museum.  Although the identity of the thief remains a mystery, the contents of the Lewes Maritime Museum help reveal some of the mysteries of the past.  The museum is temporarily closed at this time, but upon reopening patrons can look forward to viewing important artifacts, maritime art, and the Fresnel Lens of Fourteen Bank Light as well as visiting the exhibition of Breaking Britannia’s Grasp.  The Ryves Holt House Museum gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the first settlement in Lewes called Zwaanendael, the Mason Dixon Line, and more.  There is also the Lewes History Museum and Archives which has an extensive display of historical memorabilia and information.  A Children’s Discovery Center exhibit will be coming to this location soon so stay tuned with the Lewes Historical Society and be sure to visit when this exhibit is up and running!

Similar to the Hearty in the Cause event that my husband and I went to, the Lewes Historical Society also offers other fun opportunities for guests to go to.  An upcoming event that you can keep a lookout for is the Mid-Atlantic Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival that is on June 3rd and 4th.  This event is from 9 AM to to 4 PM each day and cost for entry is $10 per day and free for children 12 years of age and under.  Located at 110 Shipcarpenter Street and the US Life Saving Station in Lewes, this event includes maritime interpreters in period clothing, children’s education area, vendors, food, drink selections at the Sussex Tavern, and a lecture series from experts that will be speaking on topics including local ship wrecks, sea glass, and coastal conservation.  

Speaking of the Sussex Tavern, the Sussex Tavern is currently open from 4 PM to 7 PM on the first Friday of each month.  There you can find historical interpreters sharing stories from the past, guest musicians, as well as a selection of period drinks such as Grog and Milk Punch.  Visitors can also wander the Historic Campus during their visit to the Sussex Tavern.  Do you have a large group of 25 or more people and looking to book a unique experience?  The Sussex Tavern makes bookings for private tavern nights!  If this is something of interest to you, contact the Lewes Historical Society at 302-645-7670 x 207.

What has been mentioned above is just a dent into the Lewes Historical Society and what they have to offer to the public.  If you would like to learn more about them, Lewes’ history beyond what has been mentioned in this article, volunteer opportunities, or to donate be sure to reach out to them directly.  They offer guided tours, field trip opportunities, and more.  A link to the Lewes Historical Society’s website will be included at the end of this article where you can find their contact information and learn more information about them beyond what was mentioned here.  Their website was the source for the information found for this article and direct links for their upcoming events will also be included below.  Until next time, we on the Julie Gritton Team hope you have a wonderful day and we look forward to hearing from you soon!




*Credit for photo to Vincent Zaccone