“End Slavery! Stop the War!” at Dover’s Old State House on June 5

by Dave on May 26, 2010

On Saturday, June 5, 2010, The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, Delaware 19901, will present “End Slavery! Stop the War!,” a program exploring President Abraham Lincoln’s 1861 strategy to end both slavery and the Civil War. Delaware played a key role in debating the issue which will be dramatized by Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ historical interpreters who will take on the personas of two members of the Delaware General Assembly—one a Lincoln Republican and the other a “Copperhead” Democrat—as they argue Lincoln’s proposed legislation in The Old State House, scene of the state’s original deliberations. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions and talk with the interpreters who will remain in character throughout their appearances. Programs begin at 10 and 11:30 a.m., and 1 p.m.

“End Slavery! Stop the War!” is presented in conjunction with “First Saturday in the First State,” a monthly series of events sponsored by the First State Heritage Park. Admission for all programs is free and open to the public. For additional information, call the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries at (302) 744-5055.

Completed in 1791, The Old State House (http://history.delaware.gov/museums/sh/sh_main.shtml) is one of the oldest state-house buildings in the country, serving as Delaware’s capitol during the United States’ critical early years as a nation until 1933 when the General Assembly moved to larger quarters in Legislative Hall. The venerable structure’s first floor features an 18th century-style courtroom while the second floor houses the former chambers of the state legislature.

In addition to “End Slavery! Stop the War!,” the following programs will be taking place at The Old State House through the end of 2010. Admission to all of these events is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-744-5055.

* July 4, 2010

“Let Freedom Ring!” At 2 p.m., the bell of The Old State House will ring 13 times in honor of the original 13 states on the nation’s birthday. Site interpreters, dressed in period costume, will also recite the Declaration of Independence aloud from the spot where the document was first read to the citizens of Dover in 1776. Museum open 1–6 p.m.

* August 7, 2010

“Delaware Art Works.” Program on the English-born, American painter Thomas Sully whose portraits of Delaware War of 1812 heroes Commodores Jacob Jones and Thomas Macdonough adorn the historic House chamber of The Old State House. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

* September 4, 2010

“A Stately Transformation.” Explore the many physical transformations that have been made to The Old State House since its completion in 1791, and learn how Mabel Lloyd Ridgely halted the destruction of this majestic structure. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

* October 2, 2010

“A Majestic Market Place.” Revisit a time when The Green and The Old State House were the center of Dover’s commercial and governmental activity as historical interpreters explore the goods, wares, and political attitudes of the 18th and 19th centuries. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

* November 6, 2010

“The Magnificent General.” Explore the history of Denis A. Volozan’s imposing portrait of George Washington which hangs in the historic Senate chamber of The Old State House. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

* December 4, 2010

“To Ratify or Not To Ratify.” Learn about Delaware’s role in the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

The Old State House is administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs (HCA, http://history.delaware.gov), an agency of the State of Delaware working in partnership with the First State Heritage Park (http://www.destateparks.com/park/first%2Dstate%2Dheritage/). HCA enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality, and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history. HCA’s diverse array of services includes administration of the state’s historic preservation office, operation of museums and a conference center, and management of historic properties across Delaware. Primary funding for HCA’s programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, a federal agency.

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