Friday, March 23, 2012
(Narrowsburg, NY - 12:15 PM) - Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau extends an open invitation to area elementary schools to come enjoy the annual “Blast from the Past” at Student Days at Fort Delaware Museum of Colonial History.
“We know that every year the highlight of the Student Days class trips through our living history museum is the firing of the authentic 2-lb. British naval cannon,” says Fanslau. “This cannon would have been used by the pre-Revolutionary War settlers to signal danger and call everyone to safety inside the stockade walls. When fired, it could be heard for miles up and down the Delaware River valley.”
The cannon represents just one aspect of the lives and lifestyles of the first European settlers in the Upper Delaware River valley that is depicted by costumed interpreters at Fort Delaware Museum. Students’ understanding of local history can also get fired up by a working blacksmith, candle makers, fur trapper, spinners and weavers, colonial musicians and gardeners as well as three replica cabins depicting the different eras (1754-1784) in which the Delaware Company inhabited the Cushetunk Settlement along the New York and Pennsylvania river banks of the Delaware. Fort Delaware was originally built in 1957, under the leadership and direction of James W. Burbank, the first Sullivan County Historian. It has been owned and operated under the supervision of the Sullivan County Division of Public Works since 1970.
“We’ve been working very hard for the last year, continuing the research begun by Burbank to upgrade the accuracy, authenticity and professionalism of our interpretation,” says Debra Conway, who took over last spring as Director of Fort Delaware Museum of Colonial History. “So we are encouraging all teachers or anyone who hasn’t visited for awhile to come back for a fresh, new experience.”
"I can think of no better way to learn about the early history of the area," Sullivan County Historian John Conway says of the Fort. "Fort Delaware provides a unique opportunity for students to witness firsthand how families lived in the mid-18th century and their contribution to America."
“This was great for my students,’’ says Debi Levine, long-time teacher at Monticello’s Cooke School. “We had been studying local history all year. But it is one thing to read about things in a book and another to actually see people dressed the way the 18th century settlers would have been dressed, doing the things they would have actually done to survive. It’s better than a picture saying a thousand words.” Student Days this year will be held on May 22, 23, 24; May 30, 31; June 5, 6, 7; and June 12, 13, 14.
Tours typically take about three hours. Amenities include modern rest rooms, a picnic pavilion, bus parking and a gift shop.
For reservations or further information, call Kristin Porter, Director of Sullivan County Parks, Recreation and Beautification, at (845) 807-0261.