Delaware history and the Lewes maritime culture will come to life at the Zwaanendael Museum this Memorial Day weekend, May 28 and 29, as the Zwaanendael Museum, located at the intersection of Savannah Road and King’s Highway in Lewes, hosts the seventh annual Lewes Archaeology Festival. The festival hours will be from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, May 28 and from noon to 4:30 p.m., Sunday, May 29.
For many visitors, this will be the first opportunity to see newly recovered mid-18th-century artifacts from what it believed to be a cargo ship that sank just off Lewes Beach. Visitors who find artifacts on the beach may bring them to the festival to have them identified by archaeologists. Finders are welcome to keep the souvenirs or to donate them to the museum.
Another special event of the festival is the arrival of the tall ship Kalmar Nyckel, a replica of the vessel that sailed from Sweden to the New World in 1638, leaving its passengers to establish the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley, the colony of New Sweden in present-day Wilmington. Visitors who pre-register will be treated to a free, exclusive archaeological presentation about the ship at the Zwaanendael Museum, followed by an interactive tour of the vessel. Tours of the Kalmar Nyckel are available all day, and special reserved tours are set for 1 and 2 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are required and are available for adults and children age 5 and up. All tours and activities are free.
The Lewes Archaeology Festival, held on the grounds of the Zwaanendael Museum, will include activities and displays to educate visitors about the history and archaeology of the First State. Other participants in the festival include the Tuckahoe colonial reenactors, the John Dickenson Plantation, the Delaware Marine Archaeological Society, the Archaeological Society of Delaware, and the State Historic and Preservation Office.
Activities for all ages will be presented on both days. Participants can reassemble broken pottery, learn to sift for artifacts, build and sail a boat, operate a remote-operated vehicle, participate in a scavenger hunt for a prize aboard the Kalmar Nyckel and more.
Tours are available all day; special reserved tours are available at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
For more information and to make reservations for the Kalmar Nyckel tour, call the Zwaanendael Museum at (302) 645-1148.