Historic Dover Museum Walking Tour
See the colonial style architecture and learn about the history of Dover's Capitol on this incredible walking tour that will take you to several of the museums in the area!
First State Heritage Park links the city’s historic and cultural sites in a “park without boundaries.” The Welcome Center offers parking, special programming and events and a rotating exhibitions in its gallery space. The exhibits feature Delaware’s historic documents. The park is operated by a joint effort of city and state agencies. The park office is located in Rose Cottage.
Delaware is known as “The First State” because its General Assembly was the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution. The state’s first capital was in New Castle but moved to Dover during the American Revolution. Today, Delaware’s General Assembly is housed in Legislative Hall located downtown in Capital Square. The building is open to the public and available for guided tours year round.
Established in 1993, the Sewell C. Biggs Museum of American Art Museum houses one of the finest collections of American fine and decorative arts. Special features of the permanent collection include the only comprehensive representational American paintings collection on the Delmarva Peninsula with highlights by the Peale family, Albert Bierstadt, Gilbert Stuart, and Childe Hassam and a variety of art forms such as sculptures by Hiram Powers and images by Brandywine School illustrator, Frank E. Schoonover. The Museum also houses examples of furniture by early-American cabinetmakers such as, the Javier family of Odessa, and William Savery of Philadelphia, as well as one of the finest collections of regional silver in the country.
The Old State House was the first permanent capitol building in Dover. It was built from 1787 to 1791 in a two-story Georgian style. It was initially home to both state and county governments. The building was the home of the state capitol until 1933. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
The First State Heritage Park is Delaware's fist urban "park without boundaries" located in the historic district of Dover, which has been Delaware's capital city since 1777. The park links nearly two dozen historic and cultural sites including natural areas like the St. Jones River and the 300-year-old Dover Green, which was recently named one of the participating sites in the First State National Monument (www.nps.gov/frst). The mid-18th century John Bell House located on The Green serves as an interpretive center for the park and the stating point for the free outdoor walking tours. The park is pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
Eldridge Reeves (E.R.) Johnson, a Dover native, founded the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1901. He was a pioneer in the recording industry and posthumously given a Grammy Award in 1985. The Grammy and many other items and exhibits are on permanent display in the Johnson Victrola Museum. Much of it chronicles the development of the sound-recording industry.