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stormofdec71914smAngry Water - Storms, Shipwrecks and Life Saving over Last Century

The Rehoboth Beach Museum is opening an exciting exhibit Saturday, May 27, chronicling the impact of storms on the beach area, telling the story of famous shipwrecks, and demonstrating how the community responded with lighthouses, lifesaving stations, and rebuilding efforts.  The exhibit, lasting through March2018 and entitled “Angry Water,” will use photographs, documents and lectures to show the dangers that severe weather brought to residents of Rehoboth Beach, shippers plying the coastal waters, and people facing the challenges of building – and then rebuilding - the Rehoboth Beach community.

Rehoboth Beach Museum Director Nancy Alexander said, “While many current residents know some of the history of the famous 1962 nor’easter, they may find our interactive quiz quite a challenge.” Both residents and visitors will learn about how many times the boardwalk has been rebuilt because of storm damage, how Coin Beach got its name, and how the Cape Henlopen Light House and local Life Saving Stations came to be built.

The Storms section will describe how Native Americans and European settlers coped with local hurricanes and nor’easters in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. It will also show the impact of the 1914 storm on the new city of Rehoboth and how the 1933 storm caused Silver Lake to overflow. Finally, it will look at the 1944 nor’easter that shipwrecked the oil tanker Thomas Tracy at the end of Brooklyn Avenue as well as the devastating 1962 storm that obliterated the shoreline.

The Shipwrecks section will feature the 1785 sinking of the Faithful Steward. It will also describe the 1918 sinking of the Merrimac so deep in the sand at the foot of Brooklyn Avenue that it could not be refloated; the 1956 demise of the yacht Black Spoonbill, (owned by the late singer Burl Ives); and the grounding of the oil barge Hess Hustler.

The Lighthouse section will feature the history of the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1765, after Philadelphia merchants organized a lottery to fund its construction to guide ships into Delaware Bay, and how it was used and renovated over the years until it succumbed to erosion and fell into the sea in 1926.

The Life Saving Station section will go back to the story of how Congress established the United States Life Saving Service that set up 250 stations on the Atlantic Coast, including stations at Cape Henlopen, Dewey Beach, and Indian River inlet. Using rowboats, and a cannon-propelled rope and pulley device, the Delmarva stations collectively rescued 7,500 people, before the service was folded into the new U.S. Coast Guard.

The Restoration section will focus on modern efforts to replenish the beach, rebuild the boardwalk and clean up after an oil spill.

Museum Director Alexander said, “Shipwrecks, heroic rescues, and severe storms have been the subject of legends and novels many of us have known and read since childhood. The Delaware experience has been equally famous and infamous, and the Museum is excited to gather these stories and history into this new exhibit. We look forward to sharing it with the public”.

LewesLifeSavingStationSMHistorical Societies Team Up for Program

The Rehoboth Beach Historical Society and the Lewes Historical Society are teaming up to tell the story of Life Saving Stations and their role in local history. On Thursday, June 8, beginning at 1 p.m., program participants will be treated to a tour of a home in downtown Lewes that was once the Rehoboth Beach Life Saving Station, followed by a tour of the restored Lewes Life Saving Station, situated near the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.

Life Saving Stations were the pre-cursors to the modern-day Coat Guard. The United States Life-Saving Service was a United States government agency that grew out of private and local humanitarian efforts to save the lives of shipwrecked mariners and passengers. It began in 1848 and ultimately became the United States Coast Guard in 1915.

“I am grateful to the Lewes Historical Society for providing this opportunity for Rehoboth Beach Historical Society members and friends. This tour coincides with the Rehoboth Beach Museum’s Angry Water exhibit, which tells the stories of storms, shipwrecks, lighthouses and rescues,” said Nancy Alexander, Director of the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society.

Space is limited to 15 participants. The cost of the tour is $12, pre-paid. The entire program will last approximately one and one-half hours, with a fifteen-minute walk between buildings built in. At the end of the program, participants will need to walk back to their cars.

Please call (302) 227-7310 to make a reservation.

NauticalFlagBannersmMuseum Hosts Nautical Flag Activity for Children

The Rehoboth Beach Museum is inviting area children to answer the question: How do ships talk to one another without making a sound? The answer is by using nautical flags that represent each letter of the alphabet. Ships can “talk” to each other by waving flags when in sight of each other. Each letter of the alphabet has its own flag with a design on it.

The Rehoboth Beach Museum is hosting a children’s program on Friday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. for children ages 8 to 11 featuring a story book and a craft activity allowing each child to create a banner with nautical flags spelling out his or her name. A $5 donation is requested and reservations are strongly suggested. Please call (302) 227-7310 to reserve a spot

Rehoboth Beach Museum to Offer Memoir Writing Class

While springtime is traditionally a time to look ahead, museums are accustomed to looking back. And that is why the Rehoboth Beach Museum will celebrate Spring 2017 with an opportunity for some personal retrospection.

Indeed, to kick off the season, the museum will offer a series of workshops on memoir writing, beginning Thursday, May 4th and running for three consecutive weeks, starting at 10:00 AM each day.

Of all the forms of non-fiction, memoir writing is the most personal. And it has become one of the most popular forms of written expression. Without question, writing memoirs can provide an opportunity to create a personal legacy for friends and family alike.  But getting started can be a challenge. To guide that journey, these workshops will help you master - and practice - the basics of writing a good, readable memoir. No prior creative writing experience is necessary.

The workshop will be taught by Rae Tyson, a local journalist who teaches memoir writing courses at the University of Delaware's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Lewes. The dates for aa sessions are May 4, 11 and 18.

Registration is required and is limited.  There is a $20 fee for members, and $25.00 fee for non-members for the entire, three-part workshop series which will be used to support museum programs. Please call (302) 227-7310 to reserve your spot!

vintageteapartysm2017 Annual Tea Party

The theme of this year’s Rehoboth Beach Historical Society annual tea party, scheduled for Sunday, April 30 at the Rehoboth Beach Museum, is vintage handbags. Bring your own teacup, a vintage purse or an old favorite, and a story to share.

The term "purse" originally referred to a small bag for holding coins. In British English, it is still used to refer to a small coin bag. A "handbag" is a larger accessory that holds objects beyond currency, such as personal items. American English typically uses the terms purse and handbag interchangeably. The term handbag began appearing in the early 1900s. Initially, it was most often used to refer to men's hand-luggage. Women's bags grew larger and more complex during this period, and the term was attached to the accessory. Handbags are valued for their stylishness as visual accessories as well as for their function.

Early modern Europeans wore purses for one sole purpose: to carry coins. Purses were made of soft fabric or leather and were worn by men as often as ladies; the Scottish sporran is a survival of this custom. Men are invited to join the fun and bring a bag, too.

Those who come in vintage costume with purse are invited to join in a fun fashion parade. Participants will need to brush up on trivia for Pocketbook Jeopardy.

The museum will also collect items for the Immanuel Shelter to help clients survive the summer outside.  Participants should bring items including sunscreen, chapstick, t-shirts, water bottles and sunglasses for the clients of Immanuel Shelter.

The tea is open to all ages. There will be two seatings: the first at 2p.m and the second at 4:30p.m. Cost is $15.00 for members, $20.00 for non-members. Please call (302) 227-7310 to reserve a seat.

Admission to the Museum

Admission to the museum is by donation. The Rehoboth Beach Historical Society welcomes your support.

Our Hours

 Winter Hours   November 1 - Memorial Day (Open Fri, Sat & Sun)
    • Fri  • 10a - 4p  • Sat & Sun  • 11a - 3p
 Summer Hours    Memorial Day - October 31
     • Mon - Fri  • 10a - 4p  • Sat & Sun  • 11a - 3p

Our Address

Rehoboth Beach Museum
511 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
302.227.7310