The decorative arts and archival collections of the Society are comprised of textiles, furniture, ceramics, metals, photographs, works-on-paper, books, manuscripts, and documents. The collections span over three hundred years of local and national history. The collections are used extensively in the historic site interpretations of the Dutch and Amstel Houses.

The Amstel House, built in 1730s, was home to the seventh governor of Delaware, Nicholas Van Dyke. Various objects on display in the house convey the 18th-century lifestyle of the Van Dyke family. The objects descended through Nicholas’ daughter Ann who married Kensey Johns in the parlor of the house. Examples of these pieces are the exquisite pair of mahogany chests of drawers with untouched surfaces and original open brasses. A few of the other pieces belonging to the Van Dyke family are watercolors by Nicholas' thirteen-year-old granddaughter Fidelia Johns. A purse carried by Thomas Stockton when he went off to the War of 1812 is on view. Stockton was the husband of Fidelia Johns and the grand nephew of Richard Stockton, signer of the Declaration of Independence for New Jersey. A silver ladle owned by Sheriff John Moody who resided in the Amstel house in the 1830s was used at the wedding of Dorcas Van Dyke and Charles du Pont. In the portrait collection, there is a 1759 painting of New Castle resident, Mary Brinckle, by artist John Hesselius, a noted mid-Atlantic portraitist. A highlight of the Society’s silver collection is a pair of tablespoons made by Delaware clockmaker and silversmith Duncan Beard.

The Dutch House is furnished with American and European decorative arts that reflect the town’s Dutch heritage. The kas (a cupboard) like much of the furniture is from New York; it illustrates the types of items found in a colonial Dutch household. Delft ceramics are displayed throughout the house. The majority of the collections were purchased in the late 1930s by one of the society’s founders, Louise du Pont Crowninshield. The rooms are furnished in the style and sensibility of the Colonial Revival. The house tells two stories: one of the early Dutch period in the town’s history and how the collectors and preservationists of the early 20th century interpreted early colonial life. Unique to the period is a set of six Queen Anne yoke back, duck foot side chairs in old paint stamped “Coutant.”

The archival collection contains, surveys, maps, documents, manuscripts, photographs, glass negatives and newspapers. The archival collection contains over 1,000 photographs of the town and the waterfront in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection contains many items important to the early history of the town and the State of Delaware. There is a 1805 survey of the town by Benjamin H. Latrobe and Robert Mills and indentures (land deeds) from the 17th century.

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