Add This Guide to Delaware’s Must-See Museums

Adobe Stock/EdNurg

Want to experience the culture and history of the first state? Visit one of Delaware’s many museums! Here is a list of over 30 museums across the state.

New Castle County

Auburn Valley State Park and Mansion

Auburn Valley State Park includes a furnished mansion completed in 1897, as well as the Marshall Steam Museum with the largest collection of working steam cars in the world. Experience life at the dawn of the automotive age. The museum is open to the public on certain dates and for private visits by appointment.

3000 Creek Road, Hockessin, 239-5687

Delaware Museum of Art

The DelArt houses nearly 12,000 pieces, including the Pre-Raphaelite Collection, Historic and Contemporary American Art, and American Illustrations. Works by John Sloan, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Howard Pyle are displayed in the museum and in the outdoor Copeland Sculpture Garden. The museum is open all year round.

2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, 571-9590

Delaware Children’s Museum

The DCM is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) based museum dedicated to enriching the educational experience of children and allowing them to explore. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Admission is $12 for ages 12 and up.

550 Justison Street, Wilmington, 654-2340

Delaware Museum of Nature and Science

Everywhere you look, our Dynamic Earth is teeming with diverse life. At the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science, learn about diverse ecosystems, explore our region during the Cretaceous, and learn how nature connects us all. Formerly the Delaware Museum of Natural History, the museum reopens to the public in May after extensive renovations.

4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 658-9111

Hagley Museum and Library

Located on 235 acres along the banks of the Brandywine, Hagley Museum & Library seeks to inspire everyone to investigate and discover the ongoing history of American business, technology and innovation, and its impact on the world.

200 Hagley Creek Road, Wilmington, 658-2400

Historical houses of Odessa

Travel back to the 18th and 19th centuries with incredible architecture, picturesque gardens and historic household objects.

Former bank, Second and Main streets, Odessa, 378-4119

Iron Hill Museum

The Iron Hill Museum focuses on Delaware history in the Iron Hill area. Learn about iron milling and the Iron Hill Schoolhouse, one of 80 schools for African American children from 1919 to 1928. The museum is open year-round.

1115 Robert L. Melson Lane, Newark, 368-5703

Kalmar Nyckel Museum and Copeland Maritime Center

Experience the Kalmar Nyckel and learn about Delaware’s maritime history at the Copeland Maritime Center. The center is an experiential learning center that offers educational programs throughout the year.

11124 E. 7th St., Wilmington, 429-7447

Domain of Nemours

Built on 300 acres, the French-style Nemours Estate was built for Alfred I. du Pont’s second wife, Alicia, in the late 18th century. This spring, stroll through the classic French mansion – with more than 70 appointed rooms – and the formal gardens. Open for the season on April 1.

1600 Rockland Road, 651-6912

New Palace of Justice Museum

Built in 1732, the New Castle Courthouse was the first courthouse and state capital. Walk the halls and learn how Delaware’s three counties were formed. The museum is open all year round.

211 Delaware St., New Castle, 323-4453

Rockwood Museum

Rockwood is an English-style estate and museum built between 1851 and 1854 by banker Joseph Shipley. Rockwood is an excellent example of rural Gothic Revival architecture. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

4651 Washington St., Wilmington, 761-4340

University of Delaware, library, museums and press

Offerings include the Mechanical Hall Gallery, 30 N. College Ave., which features temporary exhibits of African American art and related subjects; Old College Gallery, 18 E. Main St., which includes important works by artists of the Brandywine School, as well as ceramics and sculpture; Special Collections and Gallery at the Morris Library, 181 S. College Ave., which features literary archives in a custom reading room; and Mineralogical Museum, 255 Academy St., which features approximately 350 mineral specimens. The museums are open all year round.

Newark, 831-8037

Wilmington and Western Railroad

The Wilmington & Western Railroad began operations in 1872, transporting goods and passengers between small towns and factories along Red Clay Creek. Today it is a museum and a guided tour for visitors young and old.

2201 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, 998-1930

Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library

With a 60-acre garden and extensive research library, the former home of Henry Francis du Pont is the premier museum. Winterthur offers 175 elegantly furnished rooms with various collections of decorative art and fine art. The museum is open all year round.

5105 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 888-4600

Kent County

Air Mobility Command Museum

This museum features exhibits on military life, the history of air transport and air-to-air refueling, as well as an outdoor collection of more than 30 vintage aircraft, including the only C-5 transport aircraft on public display in the world. The museum is open all year round.

1301 Heritage Road, Dover Air Force Base, Dover, 677-5938

Biggs American Art Museum

The museum features fine art and decorative works by American artists of the 17th century and later. Featured exhibitions are also held regularly throughout the year. See a variety of different art forms such as carvings, furniture from early cabinet makers, and a collection of regional silverware in the country. The museum is open all year round.

406 Federal Street, Dover, 674-2111

Delaware Farming Museum and Village

The Great Barn features permanent and special exhibits on rural heritage, agriculture, and Delaware farm life. The village includes restored farm buildings of historical significance from all over Delmarva. The museum is open all year round.

866 N. Dupont Highway, Dover, 734-1618

Delaware State Police Museum

The Delaware State Police Museum was built and dedicated to preserving the history of the Delaware State Police. The museum features a helicopter and a vintage car. A new exhibit details the Lambertson murder case and the execution of convicted murderer Billy Bailey.

1425 N. Dupont Highway, Dover, 739-7700

Delaware Public Archives

One of the oldest archival programs in the nation, the Delaware Public Archives preserves historical records including documents, photographs, posters, maps, audio tapes, and census records that tell the story of Delaware. It is open all year round.

121 Martin Luther King Jr. N. Blvd., Dover, 744-5000

First State Heritage Park, Visitor Center and Galleries

This pedestrian network connects Dover’s historic and cultural sites, including the Biggs Museum of American Art, Legislative Hall and the Old State House. The Visitor Center in the Delaware Public Records Building provides information about museums and historic sites in the state. It is open all year round.

102 S. State St., Dover, 739-9194

John Dickinson Plantation

Visit the 18th century plantation of a founding father. The plantation now tells the stories of farmers, servants, and the free and enslaved black men, women, and children who worked there. Living history presentations are made several times a year. The plantation is open all year round but reservations are required.

340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, 739-3277

Johnson Victrola Museum

This charming museum pays homage to the founder of the Victor Talking Machine Co. through phonographs, recordings and memorabilia. The museum is open year round but reservations must be made in advance.

375 S. New St., Dover, 739-3262

Milford Museum

Housed in the old post office, the museum tells the story of Milford from its beginnings on the Mispillion River in the 18th century, as well as the history of the surrounding communities. The museum is open year round but reservations must be made in advance.

121 S. Walnut St., Milford, 424-1080

The Old State House

Visit the original State Capitol building. The Old State House is open year-round, but reservations must be made in advance.

25 The Green, Dover, 744-5054

Smyrna Museum

Owned and operated by the Duck Creek Historical Society, the museum features artifacts from local history and culture. The museum is open year round but reservations must be made in advance.

11 S. Main St., Smyrna, 653-1320

Star Hill Museum

In 1863, a congregation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was established at the current location of the museum. It is believed that former members of the church were part of the Underground Railroad. Today, the museum educates the public about the hardships of slave life. The museum is open year round but reservations must be made in advance.

357 Voshells Mill-Star Hill Road, Dover, 697-9903

Woodburn: The Governor’s House

This Middle Period Georgian house was built in 1798 and has become one of the state’s most important historic sites. After its purchase in 1965, it became the official residence of the governor. The house is open all year round but reservations must be made in advance.

151 Kings Highway SW, Dover, 739-565

Sussex County

Bethany Beach History Museum

Souvenirs, photographs and documents kept at the town hall tell the story of the resort. The museum is open all year round.

214 Garfield Drive, Bethany Beach, 539-8011

DiscoverMuseum of shipwrecks at sea

This private museum is one of the largest in the mid-Atlantic and includes artifacts recovered from centuries-old shipwrecks. The museum is open all year round.

708 Coastal Road, Fenwick Island, 539-9366

Governor Ross Mansion and Plantation

The mansion, slave quarters, and grounds offer a glimpse of life before the Civil War. The mansion is open year round but reservations must be made in advance.

23669 Ross Station Road, Seaford, 628-9828

Lewes Lifeboat Station and Lightship Overflows

This resort is home to equipment used by surfers in the 19th century. Visit the Lightship Overfalls, which have been lovingly preserved.

Pilottown Road and Shipcarpenter Street, Lewes, 645-7670

Seaford Museum

Housed in the old post office, the museum covers history from a local perspective. The museum is open year round but reservations must be made in advance.

203 High Street, Seaford, 628-9828

Zwaanendael Museum

Learn about the Dutch colony of Lewes in 1631, including the maritime, military, and social history of the area. The museum is open year round but reservations must be made in advance.

102 Kings Highway, Lewes, 645-1148

Near the Brandywine River Art Museum of Pennsylvania

The museum features rotating exhibitions showcasing American artists. Its Heritage collection showcases the Wyeth family of artists with pieces by well-known local landscape artists. Upcoming exhibitions include “Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints, And Drawings” and, coming in September, “Fragile Earth: The Naturalist Impulse in Contemporary Art.”

1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, PA, (610) 388-2700

Related: 20 Ways to Make This Your Best Year in Delaware

Comments are closed.