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Support The New Lewes History Museum

Please support the new Lewes History Museum at the Margaret H. Rollins Community Center
101 Adams Avenue, Lewes, Delaware 19958.

Special News!

The campaign to raise $3 million to launch the new Lewes History Museum received a major boost when a one-to-one match of every donation was announced recently by a generous anonymous donor.

“Starting now, through December 1, 2017, the donor will match dollar-for-dollar every gift to the Lewes History Museum campaign, up to $1 million,” said Elizabeth Owen of Lewes, campaign chair.

Learn more about gift matching

The Schell Family is making the first named gallery gift to the new Lewes History Museum campaign, contributing $150,000 toward the project! Click here.

After 384 years, one of the oldest and most historic cities in the country is finally getting its own museum and community center.
With the support of the City of Lewes and a lead gift of $500,000 from the Ma-Ran Foundation, the former Lewes Public Library building is being converted into a 12,500 square foot museum and community center, to be renovated and staffed by The Lewes Historical Society.

The facility, now called The Margaret H. Rollins Community Center, will house the Museum, including 10,000 historic objects, 100,000 historic photographic images, 4,000 volumes  of Lewes and Delaware history, and 250,000 pages of documents, all obtained and preserved over 52 years by the Society.

With 70% of the Community Center dedicated to the new Lewes History Museum, the remainder will be available for a variety of community purposes, and to showcase the achievements of local nonprofits.  An entire wing and outdoor patio will be a venue for meetings, events, and benefits.  The first floor of the Museum can also be rented for special occasions.

The Margaret H. Rollins Community Center and Lewes History Museum will be integral parts of an emerging 10-acre cultural campus at the southern entrance to Lewes, including the new Lewes Public Library, outdoor concert stage, a children’s garden, Stango Park, and the hub for an 18-mile regional hiking and biking trail.

A fundraising campaign started in September 2016 to generate the $1.8 million still required for building renovations and related costs.  Don Matzkin, chair of the Society, said this expense is about one-third the cost to otherwise obtain land and create an entirely new museum.

Society employees will staff the Museum, which will be

open year-round and feature a main exhibit hall, an interactive children’s wing, a temporary exhibits room, and a research and reading room. External use of the Community Wing will be coordinated by the City of Lewes.

Upstairs, the Society’s archives collection will be organized and preserved in safe, environmentally-controlled space for research and reference by current and future generations.

The Museum’s historic collection and exhibits will serve as source documents and artifacts for ongoing symposia, presentations, and educational workshops, which will enrich every Museum visitor’s experience.

Museum staff will direct visitors to the many other historic sites, a number of which are maintained by the Society in Lewes, including buildings on its main campus at Shipcarpenter and Second Streets, the Lewes Life-Saving Station, the Cannonball House, and the Ryves Holt House.

Elizabeth Owen, a Society trustee, chairs the campaign, with Wade and Danielle Thompson as co-chairs, and Hazel Brittingham serving as honorary chair. Other campaign leaders include:  Stuart Brahs, Richard Claypoole, Janet Davis, Meghan Lee, Jack Lesher, William Sharkey, Dr. William Thomas, and Lucius Webb.

Support bringing this vision to life:
Donate Today!

For additional interest or information about the Museum campaign and related events call 302-644-0107.


About this project

Lewes History Musuem Case Statement

A long-awaited vision for Lewes is about to become reality with the creation of the new Lewes History Museum at the southern entrance to the City. This “missing pillar of community institutions” will now enable the telling of the remarkable story of Lewes, for visitors and residents alike.

The Museum is a cooperative effort by the City of Lewes, the Lewes Historical Society and the Ma-Ran Foundation, which has made a generous lead gift to the project. Now just $1.8 million more is needed to allow the facility to open by the summer of 2017.

Learn more about this project

General Information

Lewes History Museum General BiFold

For 54 years, The Lewes Historical Society has collected and preserved tens of thousands of historic artifacts, artwork, documents, maps and photos.  Now, with your help, this incredible collection will be on continuous display at the new Lewes History Museum.

Staffed by skilled professionals from the Society, the Museum will serve as the primary source of information about Lewes for visitors, researchers, students and residents. Its invaluable collection will be stored in a secure, climate-controlled area.

The Museum will also provide ongoing seminars, symposia and presentations, a wing for community non-profit gatherings, a children’s interactive history area, and an attractive venue for private celebrations and events.

But wait, there's more!...

Learn how you can contribute to this great project

Major Naming Opportunities

Lewes History Musuem Naming Opportunities

The new Lewes History Museum is being created in one of Lewes’s most beloved facilities. The permanent naming opportunities listed here are available during the Museum’s campaign period.

Please let us know of your selection so it can be reserved. The cost for all naming opportunities is fully tax-deductible. Donations can be pledged over up to three years, with naming secured upon full payment.

For more information, please call Michael Rawl at 302-644-0107.

See details and more information

Campaign Leaders

Elizabeth Owen, Chair
Wade & Danielle Thompson, Co-Chairs
Hazel Brittingham, Honorary Chair
Stuart Brahs
Richard Claypoole
Janet Davis
Meghan Lee
Jack Lesher
Don Matzkin
William Sharkey
William A. Thomas, Jr., M.D.
Lucius Webb

Donald Matzkin, President
Elizabeth Owen, Vice President
Jack Lesher, Treasurer
Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D.
Bernard J. Clark, MD.
Richard Claypoole
Stan Divorski
Linda Dylla
Wesley Perkins
Harold W. T. Purnell, II, Esq.
Bonnie Taylor

Michael DiPaolo, Executive Director,
Lewes Historical Society