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Bookmark This Guide to Delaware’s Must-See Museums

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Want to experience the First State’s culture and history firsthand? Visit one of Delaware’s many museums! Here’s a list of over 30 museums across the state.

New Castle County

Auburn Valley State Park and Mansion

Auburn Valley State Park features a furnished mansion completed in 1897, as well as the Marshall Steam Museum with the largest collection of operating steam cars in the world. Experience life at the dawn of the automotive age. The museum is open to the public on select dates and for private tours by appointment.

3000 Creek Road, Hockessin, 239-5687

Delaware Art Museum

The DelArt houses nearly 12,000 pieces, including the Pre-Raphaelite collection, historical and contemporary American art, and American illustrations. Works by John Sloan, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Howard Pyle are housed within the museum and the outdoor Copeland Sculpture Garden. The museum is opened year-round.

2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, 571-9590

Delaware Children’s Museum

The DCM is a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math)-based museum dedicated to enriching the educational experience of children and allowing them to explore. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $12 for those over age 12.

550 Justison St., Wilmington, 654-2340

Delaware Museum of Nature & Science

Everywhere you look, our dynamic Earth is full of diverse life. At the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science, discover diverse ecosystems, explore our region during the Cretaceous and learn how nature connects us all. Formerly the Delaware Museum of Natural History, the museum reopens to the public in May after extensive renovations.

4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 658-9111

Hagley Museum & Library

Located on 235 acres along the banks of the Brandywine, Hagley Museum & Library seeks to inspire all people to investigate and experience the unfolding history of American business, technology and innovation, and its impact on the world.

200 Hagley Creek Road, Wilmington, 658-2400

Historic Houses of Odessa

Journey back to the 18th and 19th centuries with incredible architecture, picturesque gardens and historic household items.

Old Bank, Second and Main streets, Odessa, 378-4119

Iron Hill Museum

The Iron Hill Museum focuses on Delaware’s history in the Iron Hill area. Learn about iron milling and the Iron Hill Schoolhouse—one of 80 schools for African American children from 1919 through 1928. The museum is opened year-round.

1115 Robert L. Melson Lane, Newark, 368-5703

Kalmar Nyckel Museum and Copeland Maritime Center

Discover the Kalmar Nyckel and experience Delaware’s maritime history at the Copeland Maritime Center. The center is an experiential learning center that provided educational programs year-round.

11124 E. 7th St., Wilmington, 429-7447

Nemours Estate

Built on a 300-acre plot of land, the French-style Nemours Estate was built for Alfred I. du Pont’s second wife Alicia in the late 18th century. This spring, take a walk around the classical French mansion—with more than 70 appointed rooms—and through the formal French gardens. Opened for the season on April 1.

1600 Rockland Road, 651-6912

 

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New Castle Court House Museum

Built in 1732, the New Castle Court House was the state’s first court and state capitol. Walk the halls and learn how Delaware’s three counties were formed. The museum is opened year-round.

211 Delaware St., New Castle, 323-4453

Rockwood Museum

Rockwood is an English-style country estate and museum built between 1851 and 1854 by banker Joseph Shipley. Rockwood is an excellent example of Rural Gothic Revival architecture. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

4651 Washington St., Wilmington, 761-4340

University of Delaware, Library, Museums and Press

Offerings include Mechanical Hall Gallery, 30 N. College Ave., which features changing exhibitions of African American art and related topics; Old College Gallery, 18 E. Main St., which includes significant works of Brandywine School artists, as well as ceramics and sculptures; Special Collections and Gallery at the Morris Library, 181 S. College Ave., which features literary archives in a custom reading room; and Mineralogical Museum, 255 Academy St., which displays about 350 mineral specimens. The museums are open year-round.

Newark, 831-8037

Wilmington & Western Railroad

The Wilmington & Western Railroad began operation in 1872 carrying goods and passengers between the small towns and mills along Red Clay Creek. Today it is a museum and tour for visitors both young and old.

2201 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, 998-1930

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

With a 60-acre garden and an extensive research library, Henry Francis du Pont’s former home is the premier museum. Winterthur features 175 elegantly furnished rooms with various collections of decorative and fine arts. The museum is open year-round.

5105 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 888-4600

 

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Kent County

Air Mobility Command Museum

This museum offers exhibits on military life, airlift and air refueling history, as well as an outdoor collection of over 30 vintage planes, including the only C-5 transport jet on public display in the world. The museum is open year-round.

1301 Heritage Road, Dover Air Force Base, Dover, 677-5938

Biggs Museum of American Art

The museum features fine art and decorative works by American artists from the 17th century and later. Featured exhibitions are regularly hosted throughout the year as well. Experience a variety of different art forms such as sculptures, furniture by early cabinet makers and a collection of regional silver within the country. The museum is open year-round.

406 Federal St., Dover, 674-2111

Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village

The big barn offers permanent and special exhibits about Delaware’s rural heritage, farming and farm life. The village includes restored, historically significant farm buildings from across Delmarva. The museum is open year-round.

866 N. Dupont Highway, Dover, 734-1618

Delaware State Police Museum

The Delaware State Police Museum was built for and dedicated to the preservation of the history of the Delaware State Police. The museum features a helicopter and vintage car. A new exhibit details the the Lambertson murder case and the execution of convicted murderer Billy Bailey.

1425 N. Dupont Highway, Dover, 739-7700

Delaware Public Archives

One of the oldest archival programs in the country, the Delaware Public Archives preserves historic material, including documents, photographs, posters, maps, audiotapes and census records that tell the story of Delaware. It is open all year.

121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. N., Dover, 744-5000

First State Heritage Park, Welcome Center and Galleries

This walkable network links historic and cultural sites in Dover, including the Biggs Museum of American Art, Legislative Hall and The Old State House. The Welcome Center at the Delaware Public Archives building provides information about museums and historical sites across the state. It is open year-round.

102 S. State St., Dover, 739-9194

John Dickinson Plantation

Visit the 18th-century plantation of a founding father. The plantation now tells the stories of farmers, servants, and free and enslaved Black men, women and children who worked there. Living history presentations are made several times a year. The plantation is open year-round but reservations are needed.

340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, 739-3277

Johnson Victrola Museum

This charming museum pays homage to the founder of the Victor Talking Machine Co. through phonographs, recordings and memorabilia. The museum is open year-round but reservations must be made beforehand.

375 S. New St., Dover, 739-3262

Milford Museum

Housed in the old post office, the museum tells the story of Milford from its beginnings on the Mispillion River in the 18th century, as well as the histories of the surrounding communities. The museum is open year-round but reservations must be made beforehand.

121 S. Walnut St., Milford, 424-1080

The Old State House

Tour the state’s original capitol building. The Old State House is open year-round but reservations must be made beforehand.

25 The Green, Dover, 744-5054

Smyrna Museum

Owned and operated by the Duck Creek Historical Society, the museum displays artifacts of local history and culture. The museum is open year-round but reservations must be made beforehand.

11 S. Main St., Smyrna, 653-1320

 

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Star Hill Museum

In 1863, a congregation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was established where the museum is now located. It is believed that the former members of the church were part of the Underground Railroad. Now, the museum educates the public about the hardships of life as a slave. The museum is open year-round but reservations must be made beforehand.

357 Voshells Mill-Star Hill Road, Dover, 697-9903

Woodburn: The Governor’s House

This Middle Period Georgian home was built in 1798 and has become one of the state’s most important historical sites. After its purchase in 1965, it became the official residence of the governor. The house is open year-round but reservations must be made beforehand.

151 Kings Highway SW, Dover, 739-565

Sussex County

Bethany Beach History Museum

Memorabilia, photographs and documents housed in the town hall explain the resort’s history. The museum is open year-round.

214 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach, 539-8011

DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum

This private museum is one of the largest in the Mid-Atlantic and includes artifacts recovered from centuries-old shipwrecks. The museum is open year-round.

708 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, 539-9366

Governor Ross Mansion & Plantation

The mansion, slave quarters and grounds offer a glimpse of life before the Civil War. The mansion is open year-round but reservations must be made beforehand.

23669 Ross Station Road, Seaford, 628-9828

Lewes Life-Saving Station and Lightship Overfalls

This station houses equipment used by 19th-century surfmen. Tour the Lightship Overfalls, which has been lovingly preserved.

Pilottown Road and Shipcarpenter Street, Lewes, 645-7670

Seaford Museum

Established in the old post office, the museum covers history from a local perspective. The museum is open year-round but reservations must be made beforehand.

203 High St., Seaford, 628-9828

Zwaanendael Museum

Learn about the Dutch settlement of Lewes in 1631, including the area’s maritime, military and social history. The museum is open year-round but reservations must be made beforehand.

102 Kings Highway, Lewes, 645-1148

Nearby Pennsylvania Brandywine River Museum of Art

The museum has rotating exhibitions highlighting American artists. Its Heritage Collection showcases the Wyeth family of artists with pieces from well-known local landscape artists. Upcoming exhibits include “Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints, And Drawings,” and, coming in September, “Fragile Earth: The Naturalist Impulse in Contemporary Art.”

1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, Pa., (610) 388-2700

Related: 20 Ways to Make This Your Best Year Yet in Delaware

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