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Elaine Brenchley, First State Heritage Park, 302-739-9194 (, or Chris Polo, Delaware State Parks, 302-739-9177,(

First State Heritage Park Commemorates
2012 Women’s History Month
at March First Saturdays in the First State

DOVER (Feb. 15, 2012)  On Saturday, March 3, the First State Heritage Park’s monthly First Saturdays in the First State programming gives special attention to women’s history. This focus on women is highlighted at 1 p.m. in The Old State House with an historical theater event –“The War of the Roses – Delaware and the Battle for Women’s Suffrage” – designed to recreate the spirit of the public rallies held in the 1920s during the battle for women’s suffrage. The nineteenth amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote had just been approved by Congress and ratified by a number of states. Would Delaware join in ratifying? The debate over women’s rights descended upon Delaware with a vengeance. In the spring of 1920, Dover was the site of its own historic “war of the roses,” so called because no one – men, women, legislators, or average citizens – could avoid taking sides on this important issue, proclaiming their pro or con opinion with a simple flower worn on their lapel. This theatrical event transports the audience back to 1920 to hear the energetic arguments and speeches that might have been made by pro-suffragists and anti-suffragists alike. Prior to the performance, the John Bell House on The Green will serve as Suffrage Headquarters, where visitors can help the historical characters prepare for the rally. 

Women are the subject of other First Saturday activities as well, including a lecture on Amelia Earhart at the Delaware Public Archives; tours at the Johnson Victrola Museum and the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center & Galleries; and the Women of The Green walking tour. 

Regular First Saturday activities include tours of the two capitol buildings in Delaware’s capital city – The Old State House and Legislative Hall. Tours of the Governor’s residence at Woodburn and Hall House will also be available. Exhibits are also on display at the Johnson Victrola Museum, the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and the Biggs Museum of American Art, which also features its monthly “Biggs Kids” program. Until further notice, the Mabel Lloyd Ridgely Research Room at the Delaware Public Archives will not be open to researchers on the first Saturday of the month. Instead, the facility will be open to researchers on the second Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Admission to all park sites is free. Centrally located free parking is available at the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, located at 121 Duke of York Street. For more information about The First State Heritage Park programs, the public may call 302-739-9194 or visit 


 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
War of The Roses – Pre-Rally Suffrage Headquarters
John Bell House on The Green
Help out at Suffrage Headquarters before the War of the Roses! Everyone can help the suffragists prepare for their upcoming rally by making campaign buttons, signs and flowers. Hear the stories of the struggle for women’s right to vote! 

10 a.m., Noon and 3 p.m.
Letters to My Mother
First State Heritage Park Welcome Center & Galleries
Guided interpretations of the current exhibition, The Civil War: Five Delaware Soldiers’ Stories, explores women’s role during America’s bloodiest conflict. See and hear compelling, insightful letters written by soldiers to their families in Delaware during the Civil War.  

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Tours of the Governor’s House
At Woodburn – The Governor’s House
Enjoy guided tours of Woodburn, the official residence of Delaware’s Governor since 1965, and Hall House, the Governor’s guest house, as well as a self-guided tour of the gardens.

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Last tour leaves at 3 p.m.)
Walking Tour: Women of The Green
Meet at the John Bell House on The Green
Many women were innkeepers, political leaders and social figures throughout the history of The Green. Learn about the lives and contributions of these often forgotten figures. 

10:30 a.m.
What Really Happened to Amelia Earhart?
Delaware Public Archives
Richard E. Gillespie, Executive Director of TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) explores one of the most baffling mysteries of the 20th century – the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, arguably the most famous woman aviator of all time.   

1:00 p.m.
The War of the Roses – Delaware’s Battle for Women’s Suffrage
Old State House on The Green
Join us for this exciting living history debate that will transport you back to the dramatic days of the women’s suffrage movement. Participants are encouraged to show their support and let their voices be heard on this important issue!   


9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

1.      The First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries
121 Duke of York Street

The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs presents two exhibits:

USS Delaware: An American Battleship. The story of the USS Delaware (1909-1924), told through objects, photographs, and ceremonial silver.

The Civil War: Five Delaware Soldiers’ Stories
This exhibit recognizes the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War. Through the state’s collection of objects, portraits, and documents, personal experiences of the brutal journey through the War of the Rebellion are revealed.  

·         Guided Tours of Legislative Hall - Delaware’s Capitol
Legislative Hall has been the seat of Delaware’s General Assembly, the supreme lawmaking body in the state, since 1933.  Tour the House and Senate Chambers as you learn about the legislature and Delaware history. Photo ID is required for all adults entering the building.  

·         Victor’s Queens
Johnson Victrola Museum
Some of the Victor Records Company’s earliest and most successful recording artists were female singers. Hear the timeless music of these pioneers in the music field.


2 – 3 p.m.
Biggs Kids – The Loockerman Portrait
Biggs Museum of American Art
Discover the history of this 18th-century portrait and create your own portraits! Ages 5-10. Reservations required; call (302) 674-2111.


The First State Heritage Park at Dover is Delaware’s first urban “park without boundaries” linking
historic and cultural sites in the city that has been the seat of state government since 1777.
The park is a partnership of state agencies, under the leadership of Delaware State Parks, working in
collaboration with city and county government, nonprofit organizations and the private sector. 

Vol. 42, No. 44

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