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“We're so glad we stopped by.”
Review of Zwaanendael Museum

Zwaanendael Museum
Ranked #7 of 51 things to do in Lewes
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This museum duplicates the architecture of a medieval Dutch town.
Reviewed July 21, 2011

The building was built in 1931 to honor the 300th anniversary of Delaware's first European settlement which was founded in 1631. It is modeled after the the town hall in Hoom, the Netherlands. The museum has exhibits that focus on the maritime and social history of the Lewes area. There are some interesting hands-on exhibits and you can even try your hand at knot tying.

Thank peggy49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 12, 2010

You will find enough to distract and/or educate you here for a bit - but don't expect anything comprehensive or enlightening. None of us felt it really told us the story of the settlement - the most I learned had to do with fishnets. The staff was friendly and willing to engage. We popped in because of the rain. The building is very interesting, but is modern so loses interest. They have some small pottery shards of a ship that wrecked in the mid 1700s which is somewhat interesting, but if you've been to a museum that actually has something old (like Egyptian) and beautiful, then your interest may be tepid at best. The gardens around it are nice, but can someone explain the tidy-boy blue in the fountain?

Thank DCMooney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2010

What an unexpected delight. We passed this tiny museum, commemorating the first Dutch 1631 settlement, when leaving the Lewes Saturday Farmer’s Market. We came back to get a closer look at the building which is modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, Netherlands. We figured we would only spend a moment inside this free museum; were we ever wrong! We walked in and were kindly greeted by ‘Carol’. She immediately engaged us in stories surrounding the artifacts that kept even my 13 year old, fidgety boy, interested. Ask for her and make sure she talks to you about the following: story of the first Dutch settlers and their ‘cultural’ mistake…why whaling in the area turned out to be a disappointment…the ‘wool hat’ story…’Master and Commander’ influence…and a little demonstration on the various ‘pulley’ technology. I enjoyed a quick look at the Dutch pottery on display. Upstairs is a MUST to check out the Merman. Apparently they do a lot of group demonstrations for children. You might want to call ahead and get your child signed up for something wonderful. Donations are encouraged. Thanks Carol!!!

Within walking distance is the Cannonball House. It still has a cannonball lodged in its foundation from the War of 1812.

2  Thank spontaneoustrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2010

We didn't get to go inside because we arrived late in the evening. But we enjoyed the beautiful architecture from outside. The whole area is charming and we loved the well tended park right next to it with a blue colored fountain that lights up at night. A magical experience.

Thank Deo_Family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2009

The Zwaandendael Museum is a small musuem located in downtown historic Lewes. The museum exterior is a beautiful duplication of a town hall in Holland. It is brick with accents of red, white and blue. The grounds and park area around the musuem are beautifully landscaped, providing a nice area to sit & relax on afternoon.

Once inside the old building, you will see a small staircase to the left that takes you to the 2nd floor. Just past the staircase is the main entrance to the musuem. Here we were cheerfully greated by musuem staff that welcomed us to the museum. She asked us if we had ever been there before & told us to go ahead and take a look around.

Once inside we saw a display on early inhabitants, the living fossil (horseshoe crab), the Dutch connections, the Debraak (shipwreck), and Queen Anne's Pier. We also saw some old clothing displays including an old dress-style bathing suit. Up on the second floor we saw diplays about the Fiji Merman, Lighthouses of Delaware, and an exhibit on "rediscovery through recovery"...which were artifacts found from shipwrecks in the Roosevelt Inlet area. The Fiji Merman is an exhibit that I clearly remembered from a childhood grade school trip to this musuem. I could not wait to show it to my husband. The Fiji Merman was something that I definately remembered from my childhood visit...since it is somewhat of an oddity...a creature that appeared half man (or monkey) and half fish. As you read the display next to the Merman, you learn that he is mere sailor's art. AND to this day... it is still something I will never forget.

This museum is pretty compact, however, some of the exhibits are pretty interesting. My favorite as a child was the Merman. As an adult, I appreciate the Debraak display, the Rediscovery display and the information on the Queen Anne's pier and Delaware lighthouses. The musuem is FREE (donation box on location) so it is definately worth a peek on a rainy day. It did not take us long to tour the musuem...probably about 30 minutes. It may take you a little longer if you read ALL of the display signs at ALL of the exhibits.

Note: There is a very tiny gift shop area located right inside the front entrance across the the museum clerk desk. In addition there is a small donation box on location should you want to donate a dollar or two towards the musuem.

2  Thank daisyferret1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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