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Society Properties

Lewes History Museum

Located in the Margaret H. Rollins Community Center at 101 Adams Avenue, is the Lewes History Museum.
For 54 years, The Lewes Historical Society has collected and preserved tens of thousands of historic artifacts, artwork, documents, maps and photos. Now, with the support of the City of Lewes, a lead gift of $500,000 from the Ma-Ran Foundation, and generous donations, this incredible collection will be on continuous display at the
new Lewes History Museum.

The museum serves as the primary source of information about Lewes for visitors, researchers, students, and residents. Enjoy ongoing exhibits featuring Lewes’s maritime history, decorative arts and artists, famous families of Lewes, and our region seen through environmental change. The museum provides ongoing seminars, symposia and presentations, and a wing for community non-profit gatherings. A children’s interactive history area is under construction. The first floor of the Museum can also be rented for special occasions.

This community center is the centerpiece of a new cultural campus in Lewes, including 18 miles of trails, a concert stage, parks, children’s garden, and the new Lewes Public Library.

Children (and those young at heart) can experience 19th century Delaware and its associated values and responsibilities at the new Children’s Discovery Center, a wing of the Lewes History Museum in the Marshall/Schell Family Room at the Margaret Rollins Community Center, 101 Adams Ave., Lewes.

The public can visit the new center, which will include five primary interactive areas: a scale model Cape Henlopen Lighthouse, with a Morse code station, fog horn and reflecting lights; a replica of the Lewes General Store and post office; the Delaware River Pilots’ simulation module; an electronic table-top boat-building area; and the lighthouse “keeper’s cottage.”


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Museum Store & Information (c.1898)

Museum Store & Information
302 Savannah Road, Lewes
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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)

Ryves Holt House
218 Second Street, Lewes
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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 Zwanendael, 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)

Cannonball House
118 Front Street, Lewes
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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)

Lewes Life-Saving Station
Located on the Canalfront
Pilottown Road & Shipcarpenter Street, Lewes
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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 Shipcarpenter Street Campus

The Shipcarpenter Street Campus
110 Shipcarpenter Street, Lewes

Nestled in the heart of historic Lewes, The Shipcarpenter Street 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. 1720, 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 A Walk Through Lewes' Early Past 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.

Buildings on The Shipcarpenter Street 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. 1720:

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.


All Lewes Historical Society Society properties and events can conveniently be reached by DART First State Bus #204. For more schedules and more information, please see