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Grant Funds the Restoration of Drum Head from Boys’ Brass Band of Lewes

The Lewes Historical Society was recently able to restore a bass drum head, once used by the Boys’ Brass Band of Lewes (c. 1907-1914).

The drum head is part of The Lewes Historical Society collections.  It was in overall poor condition, prior to its restoration.  However, with grant funding and help from Linda Lennon, an objects conservator in private practice located in Newark, Delaware, the drum head was safely repaired to a stable state.

From the information and photographs on hand and reminiscences of current residents we have learned that the members of the Boys’ Brass Band were probably between the ages of 7-17.  It is believed that most performances by the band were during 1908-1909. The drum head is representative of the activities that were available and important to small communities in the early 20th century, and fits well with the Society’s mission of preserving artifacts of local significance for the enjoyment and education of residents, visitors and schoolchildren.  

The Society is fortunate to have the drum head from the Boys’ Brass Band of Lewes to share with our residents and visitors; however, it is seeking more artifacts relating to the group. Individuals or groups possessing Boys’ Brass Band of Lewes uniforms, instruments, group photographs, documents, music books and/or band recordings are asked to contact The Lewes Historical Society at 302-645-7670 or [email protected].   

The Lewes Historical Society’s archives and museums contain many artifacts, ephemera, photographs, and documents donated by residents and visitors that depict a variety of times in Lewes and the Cape Henlopen region.  Included in the holdings are diverse subjects such as the menhaden fisheries, the founding of Beebe Hospital (now Beebe Medical Center), the Delaware River & Bay Pilots Association, the construction of the Delaware Breakwaters, and early education.  The Society is currently engaged in preparing a permanent display of “Life in Lewes” as an introduction to our collections, including the restored drum head.  These displays will be located in the Hiram Rodney Burton House at the Lewes Historic Complex at 110 Shipcarpenter Street at the end of Second Street in historic Lewes.

The Lewes Historical Society’s holdings grow thanks to generous donors who continue to provide the bulk of our collections. Anyone that has a collection – or a single item – that helps to understand, remember or appreciate even just a little bit more about old Lewestowne, please consider donating it to the Society or leaving it to us in your estate plans.  To donate an item or a collection or to discuss a potential donation in confidence, call The Lewes Historical Society at 302-645-7670 or [email protected].  To learn more about the Society and to view the collections online, visit www.HistoricLewes.org.

This project was made possible by an American Heritage Preservation Grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.  The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, IMLS helps communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning.

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