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First State Heritage Park celebrates summer on June 1 and 2

DOVER – DNREC’s First State Heritage Park will “Celebrate Summer” as the theme for the First State Heritage Park’s monthly “First Saturday in the First State.” The program will feature a variety of free events and activities.

“The Invention of Childhood” will be presented at the John Bell House, with the help of middle-school students from Campus Community School to explore what it was like to grow up in early America, and how summer would be celebrated by people of all ages.

At the Biggs Museum of American Art, visitors can enjoy one of the free community days at the museum and participate in the Biggs Kids Program to make a fun beach bucket craft. Visitors to The Green can also see the John Bell House during the “Archaeology – a Time Travelers Event,” where they can visit an active dig site, and find out more about life in the past.

“Delaware’s Forgotten Naval Hero: Jacob Jones” is a special historic theater program at The Old State House, giving an intimate view of Delaware’s naval heroes.

Here is a list of other programs and activities for “First Friday” and “First Saturday in the First State:”

First Friday – 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 1

Visit by lantern light the Presbyterian Church of Dover’s historic cemetery, where many prominent Delawareans and their families are buried. Among them is Delaware’s great statesman John M. Clayton and Revolutionary War martyr Colonel John Haslet, who died a hero’s death at the Battle of Princeton in 1777. Meet these and other figures from Dover history. Tickets are $10, and space is limited. Call 302-739-9194 to reserve your spot.

First Saturday – May 5

9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The Invention of Childhood: Being a Kid in the 18th and 19th Centuries

John Bell House on The Green

What was it like to be a kid in times past? How was it different? How was it the same? Explore the evolution of childhood and kid culture through history.

A Capitol Experience

411 Legislative Avenue

Visit Legislative Hall, the building that has been home to the Delaware General Assembly since 1933. Photo ID is required for all adults entering the building

Guided Tours of The Old State House

25 The Green

Tour this 1791 building that served as Delaware’s capitol until 1933.

Turn of the Century Inventors

Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New Street

Guided tours will focus on the late 19th and early 20th century inventors – Edison, Ford, Tesla, Bell, Johnson and Berliner – to learn of their contributions to the modern world.

Biggs Kids: Beach Buckets

Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal Street

Kick off those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer by making your own beach bucket craft. For ages 5-10.

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Tours of the Governor’s House

At Woodburn – The Governor’s House, 151 Kings Highway

Enjoy guided tours of the official residence of Delaware’s Governor since 1965, and Hall House, the Governor’s guest house.

10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

“Trades of The Green” Walking Tour

Meet at the John Bell House on The Green

Explore the many skilled and unskilled trades once practiced on The Green in the past. Tours leave on the hour with the last tour leaving at 3 p.m.

10:30 a.m.

They Fought for the Union

Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard

For 300 years, The Green has been the center of commerce, politics, and civic life in Dover. Guided walks through the historic district reveal the people and events that left their mark on Dover’s history. Tours leave on the hour with the last tour leaving at 3 p.m.

Noon – 3 p.m.

Hands-On Archaeology – A Time Travelers Archaeology Month Event

John Bell House, 43 The Green

Get down and dirty with state park archeologists and take part in an actual archaeological dig. Experience the thrill of discovery as you uncover small pieces of Dover’s past. For ages 10 and older.

1 p.m.

Delaware’s Forgotten Naval Hero: Jacob Jones

The Old State House, 25 The Green

This historic theater program gives visitors an intimate view into the lives of Delaware’s two great naval heroes; one receives national acclaim, the other is forgotten.

1:30 – 4 p.m.

The Once and Future Courthouse: Historic Kent County Courthouse, Courtroom #1

Meet at the front steps of the Old Courthouse at 38 The Green

From the 1690s to the present, learn how this site transformed from a courthouse to a hotel and back again.

Each month during “First Saturdays in the First State,” the First State Heritage Park offers a variety of free programs at each of the park’s partner sites, including tours of the two capitol buildings in Delaware’s capital city – the Old State House and Legislative Hall – hourly walking tours leaving from the John Bell House, and the monthly “Biggs Kids” program at the Biggs Museum of American Art. Exhibits are also on display at the Delaware Public Archives, the Johnson Victrola Museum, the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries and the Biggs Museum.

Admission to all park sites and programs is free. Centrally-located free parking is available at the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, located at 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard North. For more information about “First Saturday” events and all First State Heritage Park programs, please call 302-739-9194 or visit

The First State Heritage Park is Delaware’s first urban “park without boundaries,” linking historic and cultural sites in the city that has been the seat of state government since 1777. The park is a partnership of state agencies under the leadership of DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, working in collaboration with city and county government, nonprofit organizations and the private sector.