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Delaware Museums: Get transported back in time

Marvel at the engineering of historic planes, trains and automobiles while touring Delaware museums dedicated to preserving the history of military aircrafts, vintage locomotives and steam powered engines.

Air Mobility Command Museum-- The Air Mobility Command Museum, standing proudly alongside the long runways and giant C-5 Galaxy transport jets of Dover Air Force Base, is the kind of place that gets history buffs’ blood pumping, and puts airplane aficionados into a state of sweaty anticipation.

Nowhere else in the nation can visitors climb aboard classic military transport aircraft, or stand in the decommissioned control tower of one of the nation’s busiest Air Force bases. At the Air Mobility Command Museum, military history fans can witness the drama of the Berlin Airlift, tour Air Force Two or learn about the potentially perilous art of aerial refueling.

As the only museum dedicated to airlift and air-refueling history, the Air Mobility Command Museum is a uniquely far-reaching look into a side of military life rarely seen by civilians. Some of the largest and most iconic transports aircraft in history stand on static display come to life with veteran aircraft personnel giving guided tours of the museum’s exhibits.

The Air Mobility Command Museum is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

-- Meandering peacefully along the banks of the Red Clay Creek through the heart of New Castle County, the vintage locomotives of the Wilmington & Western Railroad offer a journey into the nation’s past, when steam-powered trains were crucial to carrying passengers and products from town to town.

Wilmington and Western RailroadToday, the old trains chug along a 10-mile section of the old rail line as it passes through the rolling hills and leafy valleys, ending its journey at a shaded grove where passengers can disembark for a picnic lunch.

The railroad is run from the historic Greenbank Station, which began service back in the last half of the 19th century. Next door to the station, visitors can also explore the Greenbank Mill, a living history museum with tours and programs that tell a fascinating tale of America’s Industrial Revolution.

The Wilmington & Western Railroad runs throughout the year and offers several themed special events including a Santa Claus Express and Autumn Leaf Special. Please visit their website for a schedules and to purchase tickets.

-- Tucked away in a leafy, picturesque corner of New Castle County, Auburn Heights Preserve looks more like the country estate of a successful businessman from generations past (which it is). Step onto the shaded grounds, however, and a rich world of history unfolds.

On these quiet acres is the world’s largest operating collection of Stanley Steamers, those chuffing early automotive classics. Kids will be thrilled to ride aboard the 1/8-size steam trains of Auburn Heights Preserve Marshall Steam Museumthe Auburn Valley Railroad, while the grownups may decide to take a tour the Auburn Heights mansion, home to three generations of the Marshall family.

Inside the Marshall Steam Museum, displays of electric trains and vintage music machines keep the sense of discovery alive. All around the mansion lies the Auburn Heights Preserve, Delaware’s newest State Park site, encompassing nearly 200 acres of protected land adjacent to the Red Clay Creek and including the original family mill buildings.

The Marshall Steam Museum and Auburn Heights Mansion is open for tours on the first Friday and Saturday of each month (April – November). Please note that reservations are required. Public Steamin’ Days are held the first Sunday of each month (June – November) which include family-fun activities.

Travel tips:
3 museums in one day? Take your time and enjoy the sights by booking an overnight stay online.

Discover why the First State is considered the historical crossroads of our great nation on the Delaware History Trail. Download a passport and earn a limited-edition book about Delaware history at http://www.visitdelaware.com/delaware-history-trail.


posted on: Thursday, Aug 8, 2013 11:49 AM
by: Delaware Tourism Office

Barratt’s Chapel and Museum: a historic hidden gem

Barratts Chapel and MuseumAs travelers drive along route 1 in Delaware, they often wonder what is the significance of this iconic brick structure. Built in 1780, Barratt’s Chapel is the oldest surviving Methodist church building in the United States built by and for Methodists. Its rich history and heritage is well preserved not only in its simple yet, stately architecture but, within the museum artifacts including journals, sermons and primary documents offering a glimpse into the history of Methodism in the United States.

On November 14, 1784, Methodist pioneers Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury met at Barratt’s Chapel. On this day baptism and communion were celebrated for the first time by ordained Methodist preachers.  This was a symbolic declaration that the Methodists were going to become a church independent of the Church of England. Coke and Asbury made plans for a meeting on Christmas Day in Baltimore at which the Methodist Episcopal Church was officially organized. Barratt’s Chapel thus earned the title of “Independence Hall of American Methodism.” A star is placed in the floor of the Chapel commemorates the historic meeting of Coke and Asbury.

The late Dr. William H. Williams of the University of Delaware stated, “Today Barratt’s Chapel stands as both the most important Methodist historical structure in the nation, and in terms of national history, the most insignificant historical building, secular or religious, on the entire Delmarva Peninsula.” As one of the featured locations on the Delaware History Trail, this site is a hidden gem filled with historical significance.

There are three special services held at Barratt’s Chapel each year. The anniversary of the meeting of Coke and Asbury is celebrated with a worship service the afternoon of the second Sunday of November. Every December Barratt’s Chapel and Museum offers a Christmas Carol Service usually on the first Sunday afternoon of December. On Christmas Eve a candlelight communion service is celebrated at 5:00. 

Throughout the year, the location is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. The Chapel is also available for weddings and other special services. To schedule tours or to make an appointment with the curator, please call (302) 335-5544 or e-mail barratts@aol.com


posted on: Friday, Sep 28, 2012 4:10 PM
by: Delaware Tourism Office

Air Mobility Command Museum – The Nation’s History in Flight (Video)

As a featured location on the Delaware History Trail, the Air Mobility Command Museum in Central Delaware will take you to new heights. Visitors can see, touch and feel pieces of history that are brought to life by volunteer curators who have a personal history with operating these masterful pieces of engineering science and American history.

From the moment you arrive at the Air Mobility Command Museum, you’re whisked away into a world of historical treasures. Visitors can discover an aircraft that fought during the Berlin Airlift or just a few feet away they can experience the recently retired Air Force Two that carried world dignitaries. It’s the nation’s history in flight at your fingertips.

As you travel the Delaware History Trail, you will embark on a journey through significant historical sites that helped form our nation and the State of Delaware. Just download the passport, obtain codes from 6 sites in each county, submit your completed passport and you will be qualified to receive a limited-edition book entitled, “Landmark’s and Legacies,” featuring engaging content on the history of Delaware, the locations featured along the trail and outstanding photography by Kevin Fleming.

For a sneak peek at the exhibits at the Air Mobility Command Museum and a few words from their Director, Michael Leister, please view the video below. For more information, about the Delaware History Trail, go to www.visitdelaware.history.


posted on: Tuesday, Mar 6, 2012 2:13 PM
by: Delaware Tourism Office

99 Kings Highway • Dover, DE 19901 • 1-866-284-7483
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