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Kalmar Nyckel : Lectures : 2010 – “Keeping Delaware History Alive”

2010 – “Keeping Delaware History Alive”

Sally O’Bryne, Wilmington’s Waterfront: Images & History

Since the Kalmar Nyckel’s arrival at “the Rocks” in March, 1638, bringing Peter Minuit and the first permanent European settlers to the Delaware Valley, “Wilmington’s Waterfront” has shaped the city’s history and explains its location.  Sited at the confluence of the Christina and Brandywine Rivers, Wilmington’s place in our history and lives has been no accident.  Peter Minuit knew what he was doing in 1638 when he chose “the Rocks” as the site for Fort Christina on what is today’s 7th Street Peninsula.      

 “Sally O’Byrne knows what she’s doing, too,” comments Samuel Heed, Director of Education for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation.  “Sally is an exquisite tour guide, and she has invited us all for an unforgettable excursion along the history of ‘Wilmington’s Waterfront’.”   Co-author with Priscilla Thompson of the best-selling book by the same name, “Sally O’Byrne will take us through the images of the two rivers that have been the city’s lifeblood since the arrival of the first Swedish settlers,” Heed said.  It’s a story that ebbs and flows like the tide of the Christina, and, like the Brandywine’s timeless power, it’s one that cascades with the people and industries that have called Wilmington home.”

 The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation is delighted to present Sally O’Byrne for a pictorial tour d’horizon of Wilmington’s waterfront, where she will engage her audience with a vast collection of photographs and lithographs, helping us rediscover the shipbuilding companies, railroad car manufacturers, steamboat excursions, America’s Cup winners, parks and bridge dedications, and all the landmarks and activities that are of part of Wilmington’s waterfront past.    

 A lifelong Delawarean, Sally has lived in the City of Wilmington since 1977, when she and her husband Terry were awarded an urban homesteading house in the Cool Springs Neighborhood.  After earning a Masters in Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, Sally became interested in urban issues, becoming President of Cityside, Inc., an organization dedicated to living in the city.  Her interest in the rivers of the city go back to that time, when, in 1979, Cityside was awarded a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation under their Maritime Preservation funds, to do an inventory of waterfront properties.  Still living in downtown Wilmington, Sally has also pursued her lifelong interest in natural history as a teacher and naturalist for the Delaware Nature Society. She coordinated the 2000 avian survey for the Russell Peterson Wildlife Refuge and is presently President of the Delmarva Ornithological Society.  Sally is also a board member of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the Delaware Nature Society, and Christina Conservancy.

Charles Fithian, The World of "Jack Nastyface:" The Archaeology of His Majesty’s Sloop DeBraak

“Delaware’s sunken treasure and one of America’s celebrated shipwrecks” is how Samuel Heed, Kalmar Nyckel Foundation Senior Historian and Director of Education, described HMS DeBraak, a Royal Navy man-of-war sloop which sank in a storm off Cape Henlopen in 1798.  Heed noted that “The story of HMS DeBraak has all the makings of a Robert Louis Stevenson or Peter Benchley novel – only better, because it’s real history.”  It’s an astonishing story, Heed explained, “one that includes a legend of $500 million in Spanish treasure seized amidst a global war for empire during the ‘Age of Fighting Sail,’ mystical weather witches and sudden sea squalls, not to mention modern mountebanks and treasure hunters battling maritime archaeologists and salvors amidst bureaucrats, politicians, and judges for the rights to the shipwreck.”

“It is a great pleasure to be bringing this important story to a broader Delaware audience,” Heed announced, “for HMS DeBraak bears witness to a timeless tale of shipwrecks and the lust for gold.  The DeBraak story also speaks to the value of maritime archaeology and the passage of the Abandoned Shipwrecks Act of 1987.  Above all, perhaps, it opens a window into the ‘Age of Fighting Sail’ and connects Delaware Bay to the history of the larger Atlantic World at time when the United States was struggling to maintain its neutrality in the face of the titanic struggle between Britain and France during the generation-long war for global dominance known as the ‘Wars of the French Revolution’ and the ‘Napoleonic Wars’ (1793-1815).” 

 Charles H. Fithian, Curator of Archaeology for the State of Delaware’s Historical and Cultural Affairs, has led the HMS DeBraak Project since 1988, recovering thousands of important artifacts and raising the hull for preservation.  “Chuck Fithian is an award-winning scholar, conservator, and archaeologist,” Heed said, “and no one knows more about the Debraak – its history and legacy as part of Delaware’s maritime past.  Don’t miss Chuck Fithian and this fascinating story.”

Dusty Shockley and Kim Statham, "History Lessons:" The State of Delaware’s  Social Studies Curriculum

“History is the study of human conduct over time, which demands a basic understanding of the proper sequencing of events,” suggested Samuel Heed, Senior Historian and Director of Education for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation.  “Too often we put the ‘cart before the horse,’ mostly because history is written and understood backwards – while it is lived forwardly.  All sophisticated historical reasoning depends upon this basic premise, which is why, as the historian for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, I am so excited about the Department of Education’s new Model Unit, entitled ‘Thinking Chronologically.’  That the Model Unit focuses on Delaware’s founding experiences in the 17th century, with Peter Minuit and the Kalmar Nyckel taking center stage, makes it even more special.” 

The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation is delighted, therefore, to present a celebration and discussion of the Delaware Department of Education’s new Model Social Studies Curriculum Unit, entitled “Thinking Chronologically,” which is being launched into Delaware’s classroom this Spring Semester.  Heed says, “If you love Delaware’s history or care about the cultural literacy of our young people, this is an exciting event.” 

                Kimberley Statham, Model Unit writer for the Department of Education and an honored member of the Caesar Rodney High School faculty, and Dusty Shockley, Social Studies Coordinator for the State Department of Education, will unveil “Thinking Chronologically,” along with the primary source material and latest teaching methodologies that stand behind it.  “This is Delaware’s origination story,” said Kim Statham, “and it has been an honor to work on this project.  Engaging the historical imagination of young people is every history teacher’s dream.  To have the opportunity to build a Curriculum Unit that starts at the beginning – both from a content perspective of the 17th century and from the point of view of DOE’s History Standards [History Standard 1: Chronology – Study historical events and persons within a given time frame in order to create a chronology and identify related cause-effect factors; History Standard 2b: Analysis – Examine historical materials relating to a particular region, society, or theme; chronologically arrange them; and analyze change over time.] for Grades 4 and 5 – has been most gratifying.” (For more information on Delaware’s Content Standards and Recommended Curriculum, see www.doe.k12.de.us).

                “‘Keeping Delaware’s History Alive in the Classroom’,” Heed added, “is the job of Dusty Shockley and his staff at the Department of Education.  From the moment I joined the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, I have been most impressed with the sophistication of Delaware’s History Standards, with the innovative instruction I’ve seen going on around the State, and with the imaginative ways new lessons get implemented in the classroom.  Dusty Shockley and Kim Statham are the kind of outstanding educators who personify the State’s sophistication, innovation, and imagination.”

                The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation urges you to become as “smart as the average Delaware 4th or 5th Grader.”  Join Kim Statham and Dusty Shockley to get answers to questions 4th and 5th Graders already know: “Who the heck was Peter Minuit?” anyway …”What is a Kalmar Nyckel?” … and “What were the Swedes thinking when they ‘invaded’ the Delaware Valley in 1638?”  And find out why, as any 4th or 5th Grader might tell you, “Facts are Your Friends” and “Dates Matter” when it comes to the study of history and cultural literacy.  

Kalmar Nyckel : Lectures : 2010 – “Keeping Delaware History Alive”

Did you know: That Peter Minuit led the expedition that founded the New Sweden colony?

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