The New Castle Historical Society offers a variety of tours for individuals, students and groups. Any of the following tours can be arranged by completing our online field trip reservation request form or by contacting the New Castle Historical Society Office at 302-322-2794. 

NEW! Audio Tours

Historic New Castle AudioWalk

Click here to download a .pdf map to guide you through our AudioWalk.

Click here to download our 2015 Complete AudioWalk Tour .mp3 file for your personal device
     LISTEN ONLINE: please click the link above and listen with your pre-installed MP3 player
     SAVE FILE TO YOUR DEVICE: To save the .MP3 file to your computer and transfer to your device, RIGHT-CLICK the above link and choose "Save Target As" and save the file to a folder / location on your computer.

A perfect way for individuals to learn about New Castle's 360+ history while exploring this National Historic Landmark District at their own pace, the New Castle AudioWalk is available for download from our website. 

With over 40 stops included on the tour, visitors can spend up to 2 hours enjoying a personal, private tour through the Historic District. 

For a shorter tour experience, we've designed a 30-minute tour using the most popular sites in New Castle - or you can create your own experience by selecting which tour stops you are interested in. 

The tour is available online as a simple MP3 file. You can use your own device and headphones/earbuds to enjoy this tour while you're in Historic New Castle. 

 

School Tours

NEW! NCHS announces new hands-on field trip activities for 4th-6th graders!
Introducing new hands-on student tours at the Amstel House and Dutch House: At the Amstel House, you'll experience "Social Networking" in Colonial New Castle, which compares social networking in colonial times to the social media of our time. Students participate in the ritual of "taking tea" socially, as hosted by Governor Van Dyke's wife, explore civility and manners and delve into the world of servants. At the Dutch House, "At The Artisan's Home" introduces students to three generations of one family of craftsmen, the Silsbee family, who were blacksmiths and carpenters. Students will explore the house, discovering objects made by hand and then handle the carpenter tools up close, identifying jobs that each performed. 1 1/2 hours, $3.00 per student. Can be combined with a tour of other sites in New Castle. Addl. fees for other sites may apply.

Your students will be engaged by the hands-on interactivity of this new program! In addition, you can combine the Amstel House & Dutch House programs WITH a guided walking tour of Historic New Castle for a full history of our town. 2 hours, $4.50 per student.

  • Encounter the authentic setting of a historic town on the lovely Delaware River.
  • Learn on a walking tour around the town green and view its civic buildings: the 1799 Academy, 1809 Arsenal, 1703 Immanuel Church on the Green, the Sheriff's Office and Court House.
  • Explore the alleys and experience the allure of early cobblestone streetscapes.
  • Examine how the early settlers in the New World lived at this diminutive Dutch House.
  • Learn about the early period of settlement when this craftsman's house was young.
  • Imagine the lifestyle and traditions from early America.

    • Also available is our standard tour of four museums in New Castle (see below New Castle Tour of the Town). The student activities, Social Networking in Colonial New Castle and At The Artisan's Home, are also included in this on-going tour.

      Our school tours are designed to meet the latest standards and curriculum requirements, programs support New Directions Content Standards for Social Studies and English in Delaware.
    • Student tours are available Monday-Friday, 9:30-3:30, throughout the year. 
    • Guided tours must be reserved in advance and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 
    • Please call early for spring school tours as they are very popular and we fill up fast!
    • Teachers are free and chaperones are complimentary at a ratio of 1-8.  Additional adults are $3.00.
    • Minimum number of students is 15 for a group tour.  School may pay for 15 students when the minimum is not reached.     

    Elementary Age Tours

    Learn What Museums Do Tours: Our Youngest Visitors

    • This program is a good introduction for students to understand what a museum is and why museums collect objects, for younger visitors, generally second graders.
    • Fee is $3.00 per student, minimum of 15 students (or $45 for up to 15 students.)
    • The program is one hour with introductory visits to the Amstel and Dutch Houses.
    • Students do hands-on activities in the historic houses that demonstrate what a museum does by making a collection, as well as learning about the Green Umbrella (a children's book and an artifact.)

    Then and Now Tours: 2nd - 4th Graders

    • This program is designed for the youngest visitors, generally second graders. Students visit the historic houses and gardens (in season) where students compare and contrast life in olden times with modern life. 
    • Fee is $3.00 per student, minimum of 15 students (or $45 for up to 15 students.)
    • Reproduction artifacts are passed around for the group to investigate.
    • Student skills that are developed:  comparing and contrasting, sharpening observation skills.

     
    Colonial Adventure Tours: 4th – 6th Graders

    • This program is designed for students to step back in time as they learn about the lives of men, women, and children living in colonial New Castle. The tour is one hour in length, with visits to the Amstel House and the Dutch House.
    • Fee is $3.00 per student, minimum of 15 students (or $45 for up to 15 students)
    • Students are able to investigate reproduction artifacts.
    • We focus on enhancing the following: developing inquiry skills, sharpening observation skills, making inferences, problem solving, comparing and contrasting.

    A teacher packet, Dutch Settlement in Delaware, is available from the Society’s Education Department, for $10.00, which includes shipping and handling.


    New Castle Tour of the Town Tours: 4th – 6th Graders

    • The program is designed for 4-6th graders to learn about the history of Delaware's early capital and premier colonial town.
    • The program includes visits to Amstel and Dutch House, the New Castle Courthouse, and the Read House, and is three hours in length.; One call to the New Castle Historical Society will set up this tour.
    • Lunch at Battery Park may be included in the tour day, adding 30-60 minutes to the tour.
    • Fee is $3.00 for Amstel and Dutch Houses; Fee also charged by the Read House; The Court House is free.

    Middle and High School Tours

    Be a History Detective Tours: 7th – 12th Graders
    This tour gives older students a hands-on lesson about doing historical research using primary documents. The program provides for student detectives to weigh evidence from primary documents, analyze the information, and explain their conclusions in a 90-minute session. Students tour historic houses during which each student is provided with copies of primary documents to analyze. The tour is followed by a guide-led discussion of the materials. 1 hour at AH/DH, $4.

    • Lesson 1, How Amstel Families Lived, deals with Amstel House families from the past.
    • Lesson 2, African-Americans in New Castle, discusses aspects of African-American history in New Castle.
    • Lesson 3, Interpreting Photographs, provides historical photographs for students to find clues and information about the past from “reading” the photograph.
    • Lesson 4, Life in an Artisan Household in 1795, analyzes inventories of room contents from the will of Mary Thompson, owner of the Dutch House in the 18th century. (under development)
    • Lesson 5, Architecture in New Castle, studies five houses in the vicinity of the Amstel House that are built by Van Dyke family members, comparing the architectural features of each.

    Walking Tour of Haunted New Castle: 6th-9th Graders
    This tour includes ghost stories told throughout the town and at the Amstel House. It intertwines ghost stories of historical figures with mourning customs, grisly stories of the pillory and whipping post in New Castle, the lives of sailors and mariners, the impact of fire and war on townspeople, to provide a fun and informative experience in October. 1 1/2 hr. at AH and walking tour, $6.

    All Grade Levels

    Holiday Houses in New Castle is a student tour which can be elaborated for all grade levels, in which students learn about holiday customs and traditions in colonial times, while touring the historic houses which are decorated in December for a traditional feast during Governor Nicholas Van Dyke’s residency at the Amstel House. At the Dutch House, students learn about the Dutch tradition of St. Nicholas’ Eve celebration. 1 1/2 hours at AH/DH, $3.00.

    Summer in New Castle is a tour for campers which can be modified for all levels.

    Other Student Tours

    College Student Tours

    College students visit the Dutch and Amstel Houses for tours in which students learn about the early life of colonial and revolutionary-era Delaware as well as explore topics related to museum studies, history, anthropology and archaeology..

    • Fee is $7 per student with no minimum.
    Home school programming is available in the topics above.
    • Fee is $3.00 per student, with one free adult chaperone per 8 students.  For additional adults on tour, fee is $3.00 per adult.  Minimum charge is $45.
    • Tours are available 11-3 p.m. throughout the year
    Adult Group Tours 

     

    Historic House Tours   

    • Visit two remarkable historic sites in historic New Castle.
      A tour of the Amstel House and Dutch House can be a memorable experience for your group. 
    • See important architectural landmarks of the region, admire beautiful and unique antiques, and learn fascinating stories about the people who lived here.
    • The histories of the houses are intertwined with prominent families, stretching from the origins of the town in the 17th century through Revolutionary times and to the twentieth century's important early preservationists.

    Garden Tours

    • A visit to the Amstel House and Dutch House gardens provides a delightful way for your group to enjoy gardens associated with these two remarkable homes.
    • Guided tours of our gardens are available. You may choose to tours the gardens only or combine guided garden tours with guided tours of the Amstel & Dutch Houses. Specialized tours for advanced gardeners are available by request. For more information about our garden tours please see our Gardens page.  

    Hauntings In History Tours

    • Perfect for bus, corporate, and other groups, our Hauntings In History tours explore the darker side of New Castle's history through history, folklore, legends, and ghost stories.

    • Hauntings In History tours begin with a tour of the Amstel House - one of New Castle's most well-documented "haunted" houses, and continue with a walking tour around the New Castle historic area. 

    • Tours can be scheduled during the daytime or evening. 

    • Tours are available throughout the year, but are particularly popular around Halloween. 

    Guided Walking Tours

    • Guided walking tours of the New Castle Historic District are available throughout the year. 

    • Highlights of the tour include the New Castle Court House, The Green, Immanuel Church, The Arsenal, New Castle Presbyterian Church, and Delaware Street.

    • Tours are either 30 or 60 minutes in length and may be combined with tours of the Amstel and Dutch Houses. Allow 2 hours if adding both houses

    Group Tour Pricing

    • Historic House Tours  for both Amstel and Dutch Houses are $9 per person. The minimum number for a group is 10 visitors.

    • Garden Tours are 60 minutes in length and are $10 per person. They may be combined with tours of the interior of the Amstel and Dutch Houses (2 hours total) for $18 per person. The minimum number for a group is 10 visitors.

    • Hauntings In History Tours are 1 hour and 15 minutes in length. Reserved times available for private groups. Pricing information can be found on our Events page.

    • Guided Walking Tours:

      • 30 Minute Tour - $7 per person

      • 60 Minute Tour - $10 per person

      • 30 Minute Tour with Amstel & Dutch Houses - $13 per person   

    • Group tours are available throughout the year and may be combined with visits to the New Castle Courthouse and Read House & Gardens, by request.
    • Other tours of New Castle, which include additional historic sites, are available on request and are priced accordingly.
    Group Tour Information
    Buses drop off visitors at the bus-unloading zone on Second Street, across from the Arsenal, just past the New Castle Presbyterian Church. Drop-off zone signs are posted.  Buses then park at the bus parking zone at Fourth and Chestnut Street for the duration of the visit and pick up guests at the same unloading zone at the end of the tour time.
    Adult groups may make luncheon arrangements at Jessop's Tavern, Nora Lee's French Quarter Bistro or Traders Cove at Penns Place which may be available for hosting group luncheons.

    Make Historic New Castle your first stop in Delaware!  Spend the day experiencing the town's history, and then consider extending your stay in Delaware to visit another exciting locale. For an overview of  all Delaware has to offer, view the Delaware Loves Buses video produced by the Delaware Tourism Office (below.)  As an added incentive, the Delaware Tourism office offers participation in their Motorcoach Rewards program, rewarding groups for visiting any attraction in Delaware. See their site for details!