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To me, history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn’t just part of our civic responsibility. To me, it’s an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is.

David McCullough, Historian

 

Who Makes History?
You Do! When you support Delaware History at DHS!

The Delaware Historical Society is a dynamic, evolving organization with a statewide mission to preserve, promote, and share Delaware’s history in a welcoming environment to educate, inspire, and empower people and communities. Visitors of all ages come to our campuses in Wilmington and New Castle to learn about treasures in the collections, study the historic buildings that comprise the historical society’s campuses and engage in the programs, exhibitions, classes, lectures, tours, and workshops that help us understand and appreciate the First State’s rich history.

The Delaware Historical Society is the largest private institution in the State collecting, preserving, and sharing our collective heritage. With collections numbering more than 3.2 million items, DHS is one of the largest providers of student programs in the First State, and the home of National History Day in Delaware. Your support helps us to preserve and present priceless collections and allows us to keep telling all the ever-expanding stories of Delaware’s past and present in new ways. Today is already history!

You Can Make a Difference!

Your support, in the form of gifts and memberships, is vital to our success. Generous donations and membership dues help to keep general admission and ticket prices at affordable levels that make Delaware history accessible to everyone in our community. Donations also help fund classes, lectures, and programs for all ages. Your help supports the creation of thought-provoking exhibitions and publications. Gifts help maintain facilities, care for collections, provide internships for young scholars and offer a wealth of programs and activities for students.

Making a gift, becoming a member, and volunteering your time and talents are some of the ways you can support DHS. Why not all three? Please take a moment to explore the many ways in which you can become a partner in preserving history for today and for future generations. To all of our past, current, and future supporters, thank you!

The Delaware Historical Society applies annual fund gifts to offset general operating costs such as educational programs for schoolchildren, the preservation and upkeep of our nine historic buildings, the daily care and conservation of archival collections of rare books, maps, manuscripts, diaries, and decorative arts. Plus, contributions support the National Historic Landmark Read House & Gardens.

Many companies match their employees’ gifts to nonprofit organizations. If your company has a matching gift program, your contribution will have twice the impact! DHS’s Tax Identification number is 51-0066731.

We welcome you to explore a variety of options to support projects of specific interest to you:

The Delaware History Makers Award recognizes individuals and/or organizations that have made extraordinary and lasting contributions to the quality of life in Delaware, our nation, or the world. The only annual fundraising event hosted by the Delaware Historical Society, the History Makers Award began in 2007 and supports education programs and exhibitions. Past honorees include Ed and Peggy Woolard; Vice President Joseph R. Biden; Toni Young; The Hon. Pete du Pont; Ken Burns; Harold R. “Tubby” Raymond; Dr. Carol Hoffecker; Rev. Roberto Balducelli; Rev. Canon Lloyd Casson; Ellen Kullman; The Hon. Michael N. Castle; Bryan Stevenson; Rod Ward III; The Hon. Andre Bouchard; Sam and Mariah Calagione; and Gerret and Tatiana Copeland. Individuals and businesses are invited to sponsor tables and underwrite this celebration, which takes place at the Delaware History museum.

 

Tribute and memorial gifts are a thoughtful and lasting way to honor or memorialize a family member or friend. All gifts are listed in the magazine History Matters. We also mail a letter to the recipients notifying them of your gift.

 

Gifts to the collection have made DHS one of the most significant historical organizations in America. We are happy to discuss the potential donation of Delaware-related materials by appointment. Please call to talk with a curator about the material(s) you are considering for donation: (302) 655-7161

Donations of equipment, supplies, materials, and services have also filled critical and substantial needs. Please call to talk with a staff member about the material(s) you are considering for in-kind donation: (302) 655-7161.

Membership to the Delaware Historical Society is available at many levels – with benefits that will appeal to all, including a subscription to the Delaware History Journal, Delaware’s journal of scholarship since 1946. While you enjoy unlimited free visits to our campuses, exhibition previews, program discounts and other benefits, your membership helps the Society plan programs, tours, workshops, and countless other activities to bring Delaware history to life. Memberships also make a great gift!

Ways to Give

Monetary Donations in the form of a personal or business check should be made out to the Delaware Historical Society and mailed to 505 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19735.

Credit Card options are available via Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.

Wire Transfers can be arranged by contacting Rachael Mead, Donor & Grants Manager, by email or phone (302) 295-2381.

Stock and Mutual Funds may be transferred to the Delaware Historical Society. For instructions on how to transfer a stock or mutual fund to the Delaware Historical Society, please contact Rachael Mead, Donor & Grants Manager, by email or phone (302) 295-2381.

Special Funds

The Jane & Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage is named in honor of individuals who dedicated their lives to ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all Delawareans. Jane Evelyn Mitchell built her career as a nurse at the Delaware Psychiatric Hospital. Littleton P. Mitchell served as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen in WWII before building a career as an educator and counselor at the Governor Bacon Health Center. Both were members of the Delaware chapter of the NAACP, Mr. Mitchell volunteering as President from 1961-1991. In 2007, Littleton Mitchell was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award presented by the U.S. Congress for his service as a Tuskegee Airman.

The purpose of the Mitchell Center is to collect, preserve, research, and present for public enrichment the history and heritage of Delaware’s African Americans and is located at the Delaware History Museum in Wilmington. The Mitchell Center includes Journey to Freedom, an exhibition which explores Delaware’s African American history through thematic sections beginning in 1639.

The Delaware Center for Jewish History at the Coxe House will provide the Jewish Historical Society of Delaware (JHSD) with dedicated space in a prime location on North Market Street. The location will increase visibility and bring JHSD to the attention of a larger audience, encouraging them to visit and add to the JHSD archives. The Coxe House will include ample space for the archives, an office, and a reading room for researchers and group discussions. Construction is required to reinforce the floors to support the weight of the collection, and upgrades to the electric, heat, air conditioning, and security systems. Improvements began in September 2020.

The National Historic Landmark Read House & Gardens is located in a scenic area on the banks of the Delaware River in Old New Castle. The distinctive architecture features early examples of high-style Federal period design, leading to the house’s 2017 designation as a National Historic Landmark—a place that holds national significance as recognized by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. Formal gardens installed in 1848 continue to delight neighbors and visitors today. Contributions to the Read House & Gardens support public programs for all ages, care, and preservation of the garden, decorative arts, and historic house.

National History Day in Delaware fosters academic achievement and intellectual growth in students in grades 6-12. Each year students present the results of their research at the state competition in the form of a research paper, an exhibit, a performance, website, or documentary. The NHD competition often encourages students to become writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights and artists as they create unique contemporary expressions of history.

With your support, DHS can expand the number of students and schools participating, and the number of students progressing from the state competition to the national competition in College Park, Maryland. 

Unequal Justice in Delaware is inspired by the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. “Unequal Justice in Delaware” is a multi-year project launched in 2019 by the Delaware Historical Society’s Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage. The project includes partners: University of Delaware, Delaware State University, and the Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition.

Goals are to research, educate, and engage the public on the history of racial injustice and inequality towards Delaware’s African American community in order to create a path for healing and uplift. We will explore the ways communities fought injustice and encourage community dialogue. The project answers the need to know more about the history of legal and extralegal violence in Delaware and to prompt meaningful, facilitated dialogue about the effect of terror and violence before we may begin healing and reconciliation in a collaborative effort to build a country where racial justice is a reality.

Support for this project will strengthen our community by encouraging one another to face our history and explore how it informs our actions and choices to live in a world of equity and justice.

Thank you for supporting the Delaware Historical Society! The Society is driven by its mission to explore, preserve, share, and promote Delaware history, heritage, and culture to strengthen our community. The following donors have affirmed their commitment to that mission with generous gifts to the Annual Fund, programs or projects made between July 1, 2020 and January 21, 2021. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, thank you for your generosity.

Contact the Advancement Office