June 22, 2013 – For a Wilmington University history lab our class ventured down to the Dover Green for some outdoor, experiential learning offered by the First State Heritage Park and the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. In the course of over an hour on this beautiful June day, we strolled around the Dover Green as a knowledgeable interpreter, Chelsea, presented the “Slavery and Freedom Walking Tour.”
Our period attired guide talked about Delaware’s complicated position regarding freedom and slavery and the role of the First State during the Civil War and we were caught up in the lively program. Along the way, we also examined the story of brave runaway slaves and how they made daring escapes.
After our walk in the urban park without boundaries linked historical sites to the subjects we are examining in the course, we’d stepped inside the old Delaware State House. Almost as if the passage through that big door had represented a time machine, our group was in an earlier century as another educator, Gavin, shared additional stories about manumission and freedom.
Since the First State Heritage Park was organized as a state park in 2004, I have attended many of their programs. They are always excellent, the staff is knowledgeable, and the programs are thoroughly researched. These are some of the finest productions in the mid-Atlantic and it’s the type of learning opportunity one would expect to find in Williamsburg. But that trip is not necessary as it is provided for us right here in Dover and it is Delaware’s story.
It’s a great way to present engaging history lessons. The agencies involved are to be congratulated for producing these most instructive programs and offering them in lively ways that encourage participation. The park without boundaries is a great asset. It does a fine job with a superb staff as they link the history and culture of the place that is the capital of the First State.
Also thank you Chelsea and Gavin for providing some excellent experiential learning during our history lab. You present a complicated historical narrative in an informative and engaging ways as you relate to your audience.