About Us

Our Story

Since its founding in 1864, the Delaware Historical Society (DHS) has acquired an extraordinary collection of more than 3 million objects, books, documents, photographs, and maps and nine historic buildings related to Delaware’s past and its importance to the nation. We are the only private nonprofit organization with the mission to serve as the statewide organization exploring, preserving, promoting, and sharing Delaware history, heritage, and culture to educate, inspire, and empower people and communities.

Our Mission

The Delaware Historical Society is a non-profit organization that preserves, promotes, and shares Delaware’s history in a welcoming environment to educate, inspire, and empower people and communities.

Our Vision

The Delaware Historical Society was founded in May 1864 for “the elucidation of history, particularly such portions as may refer to Delaware.” Over the next 15 decades, the organization refined its stated purpose to reflect both a changing society and the evolution of the public history profession.

Today, the Delaware Historical Society endeavors to be a national model for engaging a diverse citizenry in Delaware’s unique history through the documentation, interpretation, presentation, and preservation of our state’s artifacts, buildings, and stories.

Our Values

The Delaware Historical Society:

  • Adheres to the highest professional standards and best practices as prescribed by organizations such as the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) , the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and the Society of American Archivists (SAA);
  • Practices exemplary stewardship in managing all its resources;
  • Sponsors programs and provides services which are accurate, engaging, inclusive, entrepreneurial, and innovative;
  • Is an active and valuable participant in mission-related partnerships and collaborations;
  • Encourages broad participation and perspectives in programming; and
  • Fosters a climate of respect, collegiality, and professionalism at work and in the community.

Our Staff

Dr. David W. Young, Executive Director
Shenise Hairston, Director of Human Resource and Finance

Rachael Mead, Donor & Grants Manager
Maggie Meyers, Advancement Assistant
Carol Washington, Special Events Associate
Nicole Avallone, Graphic Designer

Martha Moffat, Director of Buildings and Grounds
Thomas Jones, Facilities Associate

Leigh Rifenburg, Chief Curator
Jennifer Potts, Curator of Objects
Edward Richi, Curator of Printed Media
Bill Robinson, Preservation Librarian
Johanna Seymour, Editorial Coordinator, Delaware History Journal

Siri Nesheim, Visitor Services Manager, Delaware History Museum

Rebecca Fay, Director of Education
Kristin Geiger-Rayca, Digital Initiatives Coordinator
Alex Dittman, Digital Education Coordinator

Open, Director of the Mitchell Center for African American Heritage
Kobe Baker, Mitchell Center for African American Heritage Outreach Coordinator
Shakira Aikins, Public Allies Intern for Mitchell Center for African American Heritage

Brenton Grom, Director of Read House and Gardens
Rebecca Duffy, Education Coordinator

Our Board


Margaret L. Laird, Ph.D., Board Chair
Kevin McGonegal, Secretary
Daniel Scholl with Carlo Lombardi, Treasurer

Madeleine Bayard
Alonna Berry
Tina Betz
Richard F. Corroon
Robert W. Crowe, Jr.
Brionna Denby, Esq.
Charles J. Durante, Esq.
Carrie W. Gray, D.B.A.
Paula D. Hearst
Stephen Kingsberry
Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley
Howard G. Kristol, Esq.
Carlo A. Lombardi
Mary Ann Kelly MacDonald
Kevin McGonegal
Mary Kate McLaughlin
Lynnette Y. Overby, Ph.D.
Natalie A. du P. Reese
Greg Sawka
Jeffrey M. Schlerf, Esq.
Joan L. Sharp
Chief Justice (Ret.) Myron T. Steele
John Sweeney
Whitney Sweeney
Karissa Thacker
Clinton W. Walker, Esq.

Our Partnerships

DHS partners with numerous civic and, cultural organizations, higher education institutions, government agencies, historic sites, businesses, and other nonprofit groups, including:

  • ACLU of Delaware
  • African American Genealogical Society
  • American Association of University Women
  • Black Americana Collectors’ Club
  • The Black Heritage Education Theater Group
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Choir School of Delaware
  • Christina Cultural Arts Center
  • City of Wilmington
  • City Theater Company
  • Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School
  • Coalition of 100 Black Women
  • Colonial Dames
  • Daughters of the American Revolution Diamond State Baseball Club
  • Delaware Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society
  • Delaware Art Museum
  • Delaware Center for Horticulture
  • Delaware Children’s Museum
  • Delaware College of Art & Design
  • Delaware Community Foundation
  • Delaware Department of Agriculture
  • Delaware Genealogical Society
  • Delaware Humanities
  • Delaware Juneteenth Association
  • Delaware Museum Association
  • Delaware Public Archives
  • Delaware Public Media
  • Delaware Saengerbund & Library Association
  • Delaware Shakespeare
  • Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition
  • Delaware State University
  • Delaware Swedish Colonial Society
  • Delaware Valley Historic Sampler Guild
  • DE Div. of Historical and Cultural Affairs
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
  • Downtown Visions
  • Fearless Improv
  • Fiesta de Cinco de Mayo
  • Film Brothers
  • Fort Delaware State Park
  • Friends of the Furness Railroad District
  • Friends of Rockwood
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
  • Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay
  • George Washington Society
  • Grand Opera House
  • Hagley Museum and Library
  • Historic Odessa Foundation
  • Imagination Players
  • INWilm
  • The Jewish Historical Society of Delaware
  • Jewish Federation of Delaware
  • Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
  • Ladybug Festival
  • Latin American Community Center
  • League of Women Voters
  • Lewes Historical Society
  • Lewes Public Library
  • Market Street Music
  • Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League
  • Mid Atlantic Association of Museums
  • Millennial Summit
  • Milton Historical Society
  • Mother African United Methodist Church
  • Museum of the American Revolution
  • New Light Theatre
  • The News Journal
  • National History Day
  • New Castle Historical Society
  • New Netherland Research Center
  • Old Swedes Church
  • One Village Alliance
  • The People’s Festival
  • The Peter Spencer Family Life Foundation
  • Quaker Hill Historic Preservation Foundation
  • Reeds’ Refuge
  • Rehoboth Beach Historical Society
  • Rodney Square Conservancy
  • Sons of the American Revolution
  • Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity
  • St. Anthony of Padua Church
  • Teach for America
  • Theater N at Nemours
  • Underground Railroad Coalition
  • University of Delaware
  • WHYY
  • Wilmington Alliance
  • Wilmington Classical Guitar Society
  • Wilmington Drama League
  • Wilmington Public Library
  • Wilmington University
  • Winterthur Museum
  • WITN22 Television
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority
  • Zwaanendael Museum