The 9 Best Museums in Delaware!

So much of our global history is housed between the walls of local museums so if you want to explore the inner workings of the United States, the museums of Delaware, the nation’s first state, are an excellent starting point. Delaware goes above and beyond when it comes to history, education and preservation. It cleverly combines elements of past, present and future with artistic backdrops that celebrate, innovate and inspire. From shipwreck artifacts to ornate mansion memorabilia, from an aviator’s haven to a child’s imaginative playground, here’s a glimpse at Delaware’s finest museums.

Rockwood Museum and Garden, Wilmington, DE

With so much of this section of Delaware being operated in the memory of the DuPont family, it’s nice to see a setting that features a different famous mansion, the likes of which was previously owned by the Shipley family of Wilmington. If you find yourself at all intrigued by Gothic Revival architecture and/or memorabilia, you’ll be delighted to hear that this hidden gem features a house complete with its original trim, furnishings and keepsakes. Everything here is authentic, all the way down to the clothes in the closets. Rockwood shines in winter, when the frost and snow add a magical element that’s easier to experience than it is to describe. Behind the glamour and prestige sits just a hint of suspense at the thought that the facility might very well be haunted. It has been featured on national television as a likely location for paranormal activity. If you’re a history buff or a paranormal fanatic, this museum is an off-the-beaten-track treasure and on top of that, it’s free to enter Wednesday through Sunday all winter long.

The Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE

This grandiose museum will have you in an aristocratic mood in no time. Situated onto 1,000 rolling acres, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the high society, vintage atmosphere the facility affords, despite its modern city location. Visitors here will be presented with a surplus of more than 90,000 historically-significant artifacts all of which have been made to decorate an elaborate 175 room mansion. Highlights of the tour include formal gardens, galleries, a sprawling look at the DuPont Mansion, a romp through the “Enchanted Woods” and a nationally-renowned research center that is open to inquiring minds of all ages. Admission into the museum is priced at $20 per adult with children costing $5 and babies in arms welcomed onto the grounds for free. Several unique programs and discount packages are available and this is also a nonpareil place to host an event like a wedding or corporate luncheon. It’s an absolute must see in winter, hence the name.

Delaware Children’s Museum, Wilmington, DE

The wee ones will certainly get a kick out of visiting this vibrant, waterfront attraction and its location makes it an optimal family choice. The Delaware Children’s Museum, known by locals as DCM, is an interactive space where children learn through touching, feeling and climbing. The museum is abundant with lively, colorful exhibitions that encourage the children who visit to problem solve in real time and to learn through experience. Noteworthy exhibits include a 600-gallon hands-on aquarium, a sustainable city, an art studio complete with colossal easels and on-site smocks and Structures, an exhibit that introduces young minds to the elemental building blocks of architecture. The museum opens at 10 a.m. sharp from Tuesday through Sunday and is closed on Mondays and most nationally-recognized holidays. Admission comes in at just under $9 per visitor. Nearby attractions that make this a worthwhile pit stop for the whole family include Iron Hill Brewery and the shops at Wilmington waterfront.

Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover, DE

This Delaware museum is unparalleled in its efforts to preserve the history of aviation. With over 30 different aircrafts at each visitor’s disposal, not to mention its Open Cockpit Saturday program, a monthly event that showcases rare planes and the pilots who once flew them giving first hand recollections of their days in flight, visitors are guaranteed a one-of-a-kind experience. Admission here is free of charge and this is also a pet-friendly facility, making it a win, win for Fido and the family.

Delaware Museum of Natural History, North Wilmington, DE

This is your classic science museum, brimming with exhibits designed to ignite a sense of adventure and exploration while instilling a deep appreciation for ancient history. Here you can browse dinosaur fossils, gander at the giant squid, learn about mammals, wildflowers and Delaware geology and head home with a cool gift shop souvenir. The Delaware Museum of Natural History features the type of big city scenery found in Philadelphia museums but in Delaware the experience costs just a fraction of the price when you take into consideration the tax-free shopping, the discount admission (just $9 for adults, $7 for children and teens and free for children under three years of age) and the abundance of free parking within walking distance of this destination.

Hagley Museum, Wilmington, DE

This multi-faceted museum is an ode to just about everything from science to enterprise, from the celebration of working-class heroes to a taste of the upper crust society. A trip here will give you a glimpse into the history of Delaware’s famous DuPont family, the automobile, 19th century machinery, industry, innovation and more. Parking is free and the museum is conveniently situated near an abundance of biking, driving and public transit options. Hagley is currently the only Smithsonian affiliated museum in the region. Its ever-brimming calendar is constantly filling up with adventures from winter break camp to twilight tours. Hagley is a community staple to behold.

Zwaanendael Museum, Lewes, DE

If you have, or would like to acquire, a passion for 17th century Dutch history and/or lighthouses, this museum will certainly ignite that curiosity. The Zwaanendael Museum is unlike anything you’re likely to see elsewhere. Its dedication to the preservation of colonial Dutch social history is truly impressive, plus the lighthouses give it an enchanting feel. This is an ideal first date option that makes for a memorable evening.

New Castle Court House Museum, New Castle, DE

The amazing history of the Underground Railroad awaits museum goers in this iconic location that was one of the first colonial courthouses ever constructed. This museum takes sightseers on a journey through one of the most celebrated escape stories in history and brings them through the social structures that brought forth the foundation of today’s legal system. This museum is both historically rich and thought provoking. Its sculptures and decorative arts are truly exquisite as well.

Johnson Victrola Museum, Dover, DE

Who would have guessed that sound could look so good when placed on display? Founders of the Johnson Victrola Museum centered the entire theme of this unique, and at times, beautifully bizarre museum, on the look of sound. The result is a visual timeline of sound waves that is truly music to the eyes. Museum goers can gather around authentic talking machines, phonographs and other vibrantly colored and masterfully crafted sound equipment curated from the early 1900s. As a bonus, they can also enjoy free parking, free admission, wheelchair friendly amenities and more. If you’re seeking an odd chord in the way of museums, you’re guaranteed to strike it in Dover.

Delaware continues to be a leading state in both collecting and creating history. Be on the lookout for new exhibitions, art installations and interactive tour worthy facilities popping up in and near the region.

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11 South Main Street, Smyrna, DE
About Us:The Smyrna Museum Complex is owned and operated by the Duck Creek Historical Society. This Georgian brick structure was erected by George ... Read More
1425 North DuPont Highway, Dover, DE
The Delaware State Police Museum was built for and dedicated to the preservation of the proud history of the Delaware State Police. This history in... Read More
866 North DuPont Highway, Dover, DE
For the child who believes milk comes from the grocery store instead of a cow, for the woman who remembers using a cornsheller on her grandmother's... Read More
406 Federal Street, Dover, DE
Mission and Vision: The Biggs Museum of American Art, a private non-profit museum in Dover, Delaware, preserves, cultivates and exhibits the artwo... Read More
406 Federal Street, Dover, DE
Mission and VisionThe Biggs Museum of American Art is dedicated to developing awareness, understanding, and appreciation of fine and decorative art... Read More
25 The Green, Dover, DE
About Us:The First Floor of the Old State House features an 18th century-style courtroom while the second floor features the former chambers of the... Read More
375 South New Street, Dover, DE
About Us The Johnson Victrola Museum is a tribute to Delaware's native son, Eldridge Reeves Johnson, who founded the Victor Talking Machine Company... Read More
1301 Heritage Road, Dover AFB, DE
Where do old airplanes go? The lucky ones go to the Air Mobility Command Museum—the only museum dedicated to airlift and air refueling histor... Read More
340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, DE
Welcome to the home of John Dickinson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, signer of the Constitution, and "Penman of the Revolution.... Read More
6362 Bay Road, Frederica, DE
Chapel was built in 1780, on land donated by Philip Barratt, a prominent political figure in Kent County, Delaware. Barratt, who had recently becom... Read More
40 East Third Street, New Castle, DE
About Us Old Library Museum, the New Castle Historical Society's space for changing exhibits, where the charm of this building will stir your imagi... Read More
211 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE
About Us: Visitors to the New Castle Court House Museum learn about Delaware's colonial history, early system of law and government, and how its ... Read More
211 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE
Welcome to the New Castle Court House, Delaware's first court and capital. Visit this historic structure, located in the heart of historic New Cast... Read More
30 Market Street, New Castle, DE
The New Castle Historical Society operates three historic buildings for guided tours for individuals and groups. The Society is also involved in ... Read More
1355 South Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, DE
Mission:"The Iron Hill Museum is the primary resource for the study of human/natural history of the Iron Hill Area.  Its programs, collections... Read More
801 Shipyard Dr, Wilmington, DE
In June 2002, the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame opened its 5000 square foot permanent home at Frawley Stadium, home of the Wilmington Blu... Read More
550 Justison Street, Wilmington, DE
Our Mission:The DCM Board of Directors has identified the following mission for the Museum: to inspire children to explore, discover, and celebrate... Read More
255 Academy Street, Newark, DE
Although the Mineralogical Museum was founded with the gift of the collection of Irenee du Pont, Sr., it has grown to encompass specimens gifted or... Read More
4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE
The Delaware History Museum, located in a renovated art-deco Woolworth store, features three galleries of changing interactive exhibits on Delaware... Read More
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