Tag: Small Museums in Delaware

Zwaanendael Museum                                                             102 Kings Highway                                                                         Lewes, DE 19958

Zwaanendael Museum 102 Kings Highway Lewes, DE 19958

Zwaanendael Museum

102 Kings Highway

Lewes, DE 19958

(302) 645-1148


Admission: Free

Open: Sunday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-4:15pm

My review on TripAdvisor:


The Zwaanendael Museum at 102 Kings Highway

The Zwaanendael Museum was inspired by the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands and commemorates the founding of Delaware’s first European settlement by the Dutch along Hoorn Kill (present day Lewes-Rehoboth Canal) in 1631. It’s programs showcase how the Lewes area’s Dutch and maritime histories unite.

The museum has limited hours but is free to the public.

Information signs

The inside of the museum explains the history of Lewes starting with the Dutch Colony. The growth of the Colony, the shipping industry and the shipwrecks off the coast line. There are many artifacts that the museum has either found or been donated to over the years. There is another display of the railroad industry and its growth in Lewes which lead to it becoming a seaside resort in the later half of the 19th century. The museum was created to honor the 300th Anniversary of the Dutch settlement of Zwaanendael. The museum represents the history of Sussex County in Delaware (Wiki).

The first floor gallery is filled with the history of the Railroads and the Shipping industry

The first floor galleries contain many artifacts that were recovered from the sea or donations that were made to the museum. This tells the story of early Lewes, DE. This gives a visitor a grasp of the importance of Lewes as a shipping port in the early days of the colonies. As the railroads replaced the shipping industry, you begin to see the growth and importance of Lewes as a trading port.

On the second floor there is a display on the Royal family of the Netherlands, a large display of ceramic Delftware and there is even the body of a mermaid. There were also displays of the local farming industry and the commercialization of the produce of the area.

The history of the Railroad industry in Lewes brought this sleepy farming community residents from far away that turned it into a resort town and a destination for summer tourism

The Railroad industry continued to grow and become more prosperous in Lewes

The railroads also help moved farming products out of the area and into urban markets

Lewes was also a big area for shipping with a busy port especially during the Revolutionary War.

The tale of the DeBraak, one of the shipping vessels of the war years

Life on the shipping vessels

Some of the recovered artifacts from shipwrecks off the coast of Lewes

The tales of the ship “DeBraak” and its story

The ship the “DeBraak”

The second floor of the museum has interesting displays on the aspects of life in Lewes and the influence of the Dutch on the community. It also offers many novelties such as a mermaid.

Display of the packing crates on the second floor

How items were shipped in the early days of the shipping industry

The Zwaanendael Mermaid is the most unique item in the collection. It makes you think it is real.

The Zwaanendael Mermaid

The Delftware collection

The history of Delftware

The lighthouses of Delaware

Display of the items that were canned in Lewes that were part of the growth of the farming industry in Lewes

The entrance of the Zwaanendael Museum in the winter months

Rehoboth Beach Museum/Rehoboth Beach Historical Society                                                  511 Rehoboth Avenue                                                      Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Rehoboth Beach Museum/Rehoboth Beach Historical Society 511 Rehoboth Avenue Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Rehoboth Beach Museum/Rehoboth Beach Historical Society

511 Rehoboth Avenue

Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

(302) 227-7310





Memorial Day through October 31st: Monday-Friday-10:00am-4:00pm/Saturday and Sunday-11:00am-3:00pm

November 1st through Memorial Day: Friday-10:00am-4:00pm/Saturday & Sunday-11:00am-3:00pm

Closed: Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day

Fee: Please make a donation

TripAdvisor Review:


Rehoboth Beach Museum IV

Don’t miss this recently reopened and renovated museum by the shore. The Rehoboth Beach Museum is a treasure trove of artifacts on the history of the resort from a Methodist camp to modern times.

The Rehoboth Beach Museum 511 Rehoboth Avenue

On the first floor, there are displays of early Native American artifacts with the history of the Native tribes that lived in the area. Take some time to look over how the tribes lived in the area and the influence they had before Rehoboth Beach became a Methodist Camp.

The entrance of the museum

There is the history of the Methodist camps and as an early Victorian resort. 

The front gallery of the Rehoboth Beach Museum and its various displays

There are maps of the set up of the camps, how the resort developed from a Methodist Camp to the growth of the hotels and amusement areas. They also describe the growth of the Boardwalk and how storms over the years shaped the resort and rebuilding period.

Bathing Suits from the turn of the last century

There are all sorts of items such as old post cards, bathing suits, beach items like shovels and pails, amusement items, historical items from all eras of the resorts including hotel and restaurant information and even the history of the LGBT community with the history of Camp Rehoboth.

Rehoboth Beach started as a Mormon Retreat

Camp Rehoboth has shown how much the resort has changed to include everyone

The museum also showcased the restaurants that once dotted the town, hotels that have since disappeared but left their dinnerware, menus and the events that once happened there. The development from a Methodist Camp to resort for the Philly and Washington DC crowd grew very quickly with the popularity of sunbathing and ocean swimming. As the hotels came, so did the restaurants and amusement areas. Rehoboth Beach morphed from a religious colony to one of family please and recreation.

Sand buckets at the Rehoboth Beach Museum

The growth of hotels in the area

The restaurant and food service industry grew as well to cater to the hungry crowds

There was also a nice display and video on the Rehoboth Beach Rescue Squad and the development of the lifeguards that watch over the beaches. They showed the various squads over the last fifty years and it was interesting to see how many of them came back year after year.

The top floor is for special exhibits and when I was visiting there, the museum was displaying a needle point exhibition on early works and ‘starter kits’, which young girls would do to practice their needlepoint. There is a current exhibition on ‘Sea life by the Shore’.

On recent visit, the museum displayed businesses of ‘Rehoboth Beach Past and Present’. It had a lot of old signs from businesses that have been in the resort for years.

The signs of the businesses in Rehoboth Beach DE

The second floor displays

A recent exhibition showed the disastrous “1962 Nor’easter” that destroyed most of the shoreline, all the boardwalk businesses including the Boardwalk and how the town rebuilt quickly to open by Memorial Day that year. Anything that had been along the coastline had been destroyed in this three day period in March of 1962. The Boardwalk looked like matchsticks.

The storms that have hit the resort

The museum also discusses the people who make Rehoboth Beach their home. This covers regular citizens who live here on a daily basis and tells their story. With the growth of the community so did civic minded people and people who represented the town during the wars. It has a nice display on the high school students and their participation in Rehoboth Beach.

The Military display

The High School display

They offer exhibits, walking and bus tours, programs for adults and children, membership benefits and a gift shop. The gift shop has a nice variety of items for sale that are beach themed. They sponsor the Annual Museum Beach Ball, a beach party on the first Saturday of August (Rehoboth Beach Museum).

The Gift Shop at the Rehoboth Beach Museum

The museum, founded in 1975,  collects, preserves and displays artifacts and memorabilia tracing the history of the town’s 19th century Camp Meeting origins through its development into today’s popular summer resort (Rehoboth Beach Museum).

The museum also has a nice gift shop to buy gifts from Rehoboth Beach as well as a selection of beach magazines and books. Check it out.

Think of becoming a Friend of the Rehoboth Beach Museum.

Outside the museum, there is an interesting park along the canal with walking paths and a small dock to walk down. On a nice to it is a great way to cool off.

Grove Park Dock

The path that leads to the dock

The view of the canal behind the museum

The iconic Dolles sign was moved here when the store closed on the Boardwalk