The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will offer 16 special events during February at the museums of the state of Delaware.
Eleven of these events will be presented in commemoration of African-American History Month, an annual observance celebrating the invaluable contributions that the black community has made to the culture and history of the U.S. All programs listed are free and open to the public.
Events and programs at Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover, include:
— “Marian Anderson: Her Achievements and Contributions,” 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 4. African American History Month guided tours explore the life, achievements and political views of operatic contralto and Civil Rights activist Marian Anderson, accompanied by 78-rpm recordings played on authentic Victor Talking Machines.
— “Songs of Love,” 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 11. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, guided tours explore the variety of songs about love recorded by Victor Records. Tours will be accompanied by 78-rpm recordings of those songs played on authentic Victor Talking Machines.
— “Fats Waller: A Man of Many Talents,” 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 18. African American History Month guided tours focus on the life and achievements of the noted jazz musician, accompanied by 78-rpm recordings played on authentic Victor Talking Machines and a short clip of the pianist in performance.
— “Paul Robeson,” 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 25. African American History Month tours focus on the biography and family of bass vocalist Paul Robeson, and his achievements as they pertain to his struggle as a 20th-century black artist. The program will feature Robeson’s Victor recordings played on authentic Victor Talking Machines.
Events and programs at The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover, include:
— “The Old State House: A Network to Freedom,” 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 4. African American History Month interpretive tours examine the story of Samuel D. Burris and his work on Underground Railroad, an event in the history of Delaware’s historic capitol that led to its designation as a Network to Freedom site by the National Park Service. First Saturday in the First State program.
— Concert by Me & My Friend Phyllis, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10. Bluegrass/old-time music. Presented in partnership with the Delaware Friends of Folk and the First State Heritage Park.
— “African-American History: State Historic Preservation in Delaware,” 1 p.m. Feb. 11. Presentation explores Delaware’s rich African American culture, history and legacy.
— “Baseball, Churches, and Schools: Delaware’s African American History Through the Eyes of the National Register,” 1 p.m. Feb. 18. Presentation by Madeline Dunn, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ historian and National Register of Historic Places coordinator, on historic properties listed in the National Register since the 1980s that are significant to African American communities throughout the state.
— “Washington vs. Lincoln,” 2 p.m. Feb. 19. President’s Day theatrical presentation will pit Washington and Lincoln buffs against each other to determine who was the best president of the United States. Audience members will cast their votes in favor of their preferred candidate. After the verdict is announced, a reception will be held in which apple pie (Lincoln’s favorite) and cherry pie (associated with Washington) will be served.
— “Preserving African-American History in Delaware: Highlighting Vibrant Communities Through Research and the ‘Green Book,’” 1 p.m. Feb. 25. Presentation by researcher Carlton Hall of the State Historic Preservation Office on the “Green Book,” a travel and vacation guidebook for people of color during the segregation era. The program will explore the stories of African-Americans of the last century and their challenges living through the Jim Crow laws in Delaware from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Events and programs at John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, include:
— “A World Apart,” 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25. Guided tours explore the 18th-century African-American experience on the plantation.
— Demonstrations by the Thistledown Fiber Arts Guild, 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 11. Program explores spinning, weaving, knitting and other fabric arts.
Events and programs at Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes, include:
— “Buccaneers, Bluebloods and Bonapartes,” 2 p.m. Feb. 18. Lecture by historic-site interpreter Kaitlyn Dykes. Part three of “Ship to Shore Saturdays,” a four-part series that chronicles local Lewes history. To reserve space, call 645-1148 by Feb. 17.
Additionally, the Johnson Victrola Museum and The Old State House will be open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on President’s Day, Feb. 20. John Dickinson Plantation, Zwaanendael Museum and the New Castle Courthouse Museum will be closed.
All Delaware State museums will be open on Washington’s Birthday, FEb. 22.
For information, visit history.delaware.gov.