Exhibit Celebrates New Castle's Fascinating History

A public kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 9, features hands-on tours, free activities for children and more.


“New Castle: Three Forts, One Community”—a new exhibit examining the 17th-century struggle for control of New Castle by the Dutch, Swedes and English—will open to the public tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 9, at the New Castle Court House Museum in New Castle.

From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., celebrate the exhibit opening with a series of activities including Dutch and Swedish re-enactors and encampments; museum and exhibit tours; Swedish crafts and activities for children; tours of what is believed to be the site of Fort Casimir; on-board tours of the Kalmar Nyckel, a replica of one of the ships that brought the first Swedish settlers to what is now Delaware; and Dutch-, Swedish- and English-style refreshments. Except for Kalmar Nyckel tours ($5), admission to all activities is free.

New Castle traces its origin to the conflict between three great colonial powers: the Netherlands, Sweden and England. From 1651 to 1681, these nations vied with each other and with the region’s American-Indian inhabitants for control of the Delaware Valley and the profitable trade in natural resources. In response to the Swedish stronghold (Fort Christina) at present-day Wilmington, the Dutch established a fortified settlement five miles to the south. For the next 30 years, the Dutch, Swedes and English would contest and occupy this outpost. Each nation would enforce its claim through a series of fortifications—Fort Casimir (Dutch), Fort Trinity (Swedish) and Fort New Castle (English). These forts were an anchoring presence within the developing community and have not been completely lost to time. Archaeological excavations have found the site of Fort Casimir and recovered artifacts that are on display in the exhibit. To this day, the distinct cultural influences of the three colonial powers can still be found in New Castle.

 For additional information, call 302-323-4453.

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