Museums

Image painted by Ed Bronstein

Museums of The Lewes Historical Society:

Zwaanendael Club Musuem Store (c.1898)
302 Savannah Road, Lewes

May 30-October 31:
7 days a week
10am-8pm

November-December:
7 days a week
10am-4pm

This charming 1898 building was built originally as the Lewes branch of the Sussex Trust, Title & Safe Deposit Company.  It's light and airy space is now the home of the Society's Museum Store featuring iconic Lewes products, books, and apparel, as well as locally sourced art, food, and crafts.

Ryves Holt House (c.1665)
218 Second Street, Lewes

January-March:
Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday
11am-4pm

April-December:
7 days a week!
10am-5pm

Explore the Ryves Holt House -- Delaware's Oldest -- and now part of First State National Historical Park.  Lewes's early history from 1631 - 1787 is revealed here including the story of Swanendael, the first European settlement in Delaware, the Mason & Dixon Line, and Lewes's role in the journey to ratifying the Constitution in 1787.

Cannonball House (c. 1760)
118 Front Street, Lewes

February-March: Donations suggested and appreciated
Saturdays & Sundays 12-3pm

April 11 - September: $5 per person, or included with ticket for Maritime Tour. Free for members, students with ID cards, and children under 12.
7 days a week!
11am-4pm

October-December 3: $5 per person, or included with ticket for Maritime Tour. Free for members, students with ID cards, and children under 12.
Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays
12pm-3pm

Struck by a British cannonball during the War of 1812, The Cannonball House is home to The Lewes Historical Society’s Maritime Museum. Located on the corner of Bank and Front Streets, the Cannonball House displays the Society’s maritime collection, ranging from the Fourth Order Fresnel Lens from Fourteen Foot  Bank Light in Delaware Bay, to some of the remains of the fallen Cape Henlopen Lighthouse.

Lewes Life-Saving Station (c. 1884)
Located on the Canalfront
Pilottown Road & Shipcarpenter Street, Lewes

The Lewes Life-Saving Station is only available for touring via The Lewes Historical Society’s Maritime Tours, offered June-October. During July and August, the LLSS is also open on "Shipwreck Sundays" from 1pm-4pm and "SignalSaturdays" from 11am-2pm.

The Lewes Life-Saving Station is best known for its heroic surfmen’s actions during the great Bilzzard of 1888. The third station commissioned in Delaware, the Life-Saving Station exhibits the tools and boats used by the surfmen to rescue the victims of shipwrecks up and down the coast. Located on the canal front, at the intersection of Pilottown Road and Shipcarpenter Streets, the Lewes Life-Saving Station is open for specialty programs and is a part of the Maritime Tour.

The Lewes Historical Society Campus
110 Shipcarpenter Street, Lewes

The campus is undergoing a transformation this year. Please pardon our dust. Availability to buildings may vary, based on restoration projects.

The Lewes Historical Society Campus buildings are available for touring with a knowledgeable volunteer Docent during a walking tours from April-October.

Nestled in the heart of historic Lewes, The Lewes Historical Society’s Campus offers 9 historic buildings for you to explore. Highlighting Lewes’s relationship to the sea and dedication to the preservation of historic structures, these museums help to tell the story of Lewes through the centuries since its founding. The Campus includes the Hiram Rodney Burton House (c. 1725, the only building on its original site), the Burton-Ingram House (c. 1785), the Rabbit’s Ferry House (c. 1740), the Thompson Country Store (c. 1800), the Ellegood House and Blacksmith Shop (c. 1790), the Doctor’s Office (c. 1850), and Midway School #178 (c. 1898).

The Historic Campus is located at 110 Shipcarpenter Street. Explore the buildings during the Life in Lewes Tour.  Tours are $10 per person, with members, students, and children free of charge.  There is no charge for enjoying the Society’s park-like grounds.

Museums at The Lewes Historical Society's Campus:

Burton-Ingram House, c. 1789:

The Society’s first preservation project in 1962, the Burton-Ingram House is noted for its fine Federal period architecture and colonial furnishings. Several extraordinary museum objects are displayed in this elegant home.

Hiram Rodney Burton House, c. 1730:

The only house in the Campus on its original foundation and location, the Hiram Rodney Burton House is named after a prominent local physician who also served two terms in Congress from 1904-1908.

Midway School #178, c. 1898:

The Society’s most recent addition, Midway School #178 is one of only a handful of one-room schools left in Delaware. The Society’s educational programming is carried out within the school.

Old Doctor’s Office, c. 1840:

The Society’s Old Doctor’s Office contains excellent collections of mid- to late-nineteenth century medical instruments. Boasting the only example of Greek Revival architecture in Lewes, the Office also houses nearly 500 volumes of medical texts ranging from the late 18th century to the early 20th.

Rabbit’s Ferry House, c. 1740:

An outstanding example of rural Sussex County architecture, the Rabbit’s Ferry House reflects the hard and simple life of southern Delaware’s 18th century farmers. Hearth-cooking demonstrations are being planned for its kitchen.

Early Plank House, c. 1690:

Constructed by early Swedish settlers in the late 17th century, the Plank House contains examples of rugged, hand-hewn timbers, lofted sleeping spaces, and a small fireplace where meals that were truly earned were cooked.

Ellegood House, c. 1800:

The Ellegood House is another example of an early Sussex County farmhouse. Sheathed in clapboards, the Ellegood House is also a temporary exhibit space.

Thompson Country Store, c. 1800:

Built in Thompsonville, just east of Frederica in Kent County, Delaware, the Thompson Country Store functioned as just that up until 1963 when it was acquired by the Society. Step inside and enjoy a game of checkers, pick up the local papers, or gaze on the Society’s unsurpassed collection of milk-bottles from local dairies.

Blacksmith Shop, c. 1790:

Formerly the home of a Lewes blacksmith, the Society’s Blacksmith Shop compliments the Ellegood House.