Subject:   Upcoming Museum Exhibitions in the Greater Wilmington, Delaware Area
Source:   Lyn Lewis, Director of Communications, Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau
        , (302) 295-2212

Major Furniture Exhibition at Winterthur...

Winterthur Museum, Gardens and Library
is mounting a major furniture exhibit in 2011. Paint & Pattern: Painted Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania is scheduled to open on April 2, 2011 thru January 8, 2012. Approximately 200 pieces of painted furniture will be on display and an introductory film will orient visitors to the historic landscape and architectural environment of the Southeastern Pennsylvania region. As always, Henry Francis du Pont's 175-room mansion, which features the world's finest collection of American decorative arts, is open for house tours and visitors are encouraged to stroll through the surrounding gardens or take a narrated tram ride through the property which Henry Francis is described as "using plants to paint the landscape".

Historic Houses of Odessa Expands Freedom Seekers Program and Adds Restaurant...

Just 30 minutes south of Wilmington, visit Historic Odessa and discover some of the finest examples of 18th- and 19th-century architecture and lifestyles. Know as Cantwell Bridge until 1855, Odessa developed as a bustling grain port and played a vital role in Delaware's commercial life. Today, this tranquil village with tree-lined streets seems to have remained untouched by time. Five of the town's most unique properties are known collectively as the Historic Houses of Odessa. They are operated by the Historic Odessa Foundation and include the Corbit-Sharp House (c. 1774), the Wilson Warner House (c. 1769), the Collins-Sharp House (c. 1700), the Brick Hotel (c. 1822) and the Odessa Bank (c. 1853) and open for tours from March thru December.

What distinguishes these properties is the accuracy of their period rooms and furnishings many of which were crafted by prominent Delaware 18th- and 19th-century cabinetmakers, silversmiths and artists. The exceptional collection of regional decorative arts on display features many pieces of original family furniture, paintings, prints, textiles, silver and pewter spanning the period from 1760 through 1850.

Visitors can enjoy guided house tours, open hearth cooking demonstrations, special exhibits and living history programs. Of particular note is the played in the Underground Railroad and provides a poignant snapshot of the hardships endured by fugitive slaves traveling at great risk under the cover of darkness with limited supplies in the hopes of reaching the North and freedom. It includes an opportunity to explore the hiding places and routes used by local abolitionists to conceal and conduct slaves and a visit to the Corbit-Sharp House which the National Park Service recently designated part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

One new development in Historic Odessa is the addition of a restaurant in the Brick Hotel. The restaurant will make its debut in May, 2011.

The Civil War Is a Hot Topic for Exhibitions...

Overlooking the Delaware River, Historic New Castle is one of the country's first National Historic Districts-and certainly one of the most picturesque. Historic New Castle boasts more than 300 historic properties and 30 major historic sites-second only to Colonial Williamsburg, but unlike Williamsburg, Historic New Castle is a fully-occupied, vibrant community. Beginning April 9, 2011 thru December 31, 2011, "The Civil War in New Castle on the Delaware: A Story of Kinship, Conflict & Politics, 1861-1865" will be on display in the Old Library Museum to celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of the war. Another exhibit inside the Old Courthouse Museum in Historic New Castle chronicles the Underground Railroad.

Hagley Museum and Library is also mounting an exhibition to celebrate the anniversary of the Civil War. At the beginning of the 19th century, the du Pont family fled France, barely escaping the guillotine. In 1802, E.I. du Pont settled at Hagley on the banks of the Brandywine Creek and began harnessing its water power to produce high-quality gunpowder, thus laying the foundation for the DuPont Company. Union Troops were stationed at Hagley throughout the Civil War to safeguard the powder yard and mills which supplied almost half of the gunpowder purchased by Union forces. "An Oath of Allegiance: The du Ponts and the Civil War" chronicles the critical role that Delaware's "first family" played. The exhibit will be on display from April 30, 2011 thru January 1, 2012. Visitors can take a tram ride through the beautiful 230-acre estate, see 19th -century technology in action, including the original gunpowder mills and workers village, and tour Eleutherian Mills, the ancestral home that housed five generations of the du Pont family.

Fort Delaware & Pea Patch Island played a significant role in the Civil War. Built to protect Philadelphia and Wilmington from naval attacks, approximately 37,000 Confederate soldiers were incarcerated in this moated fort during the Civil War. The fort has been converted to a living museum that can only be reached by ferry and re-enactors recreate life on the island during the Civil War period. Ghost tours are also offered.

New Howard Pyle Exhibition Coming to Delaware Art Museum...

This year is also significant since it marks the 100th anniversary of Howard Pyle's death (1853-1911). In honor of this centennial anniversary of Wilmington resident and "Father of American Illustration", the Delaware Art Museum is mounting "Howard Pyle: American Master Rediscovered". The retrospective exhibition will provide a comprehensive look at the work of the man who is considered America's foremost illustrator. A master at bringing to life the characters and circumstances being described, his works were published in Harper's Monthly, Collier's Weekly and Scribner's Magazine, but he is probably best known for illustrations in Treasure Island and The Last of the Mohicans. According to Museum Curator Dr. Margaretta Frederick, "...the exhibition presents a fresh perspective on Pyle's familiar images, by exploring his interaction with the art and culture of his time, effectively repositioning him within the broader spectrum of 19th-century art." The exhibition is scheduled to open in November, 2011.