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Maritime celebration at Zwaanendael Museum May 27, 28

British Warship DeBraak tour reservations due May 25
May 18, 2017

The Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes will present A Sailor's Life for Me Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28. The museum's sixth annual maritime celebration explores seafaring lives of adventure, romance, excitement and hardships, and honors mariners who made the ultimate sacrifice. Activities will take place at several downtown Lewes locations including the Zwaanendael Museum, Canalfront Park, Lightship Overfalls and St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Except for tours of the Lightship Overfalls, admission to all activities is free and open to the public. For more information, call 302-645-1148.

Events for Saturday, May 27 include:

Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes 

Life at Sea demonstrations will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees will learn about shipboard food, play Crown and Anchor and other Colonial-period games, swab the deck and serve on a block-and-tackle station where visitors will be drilled by a demanding mariner looking for new crew members.

Displays and demonstrations on local maritime history will be presented from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A variety of local organizations will participate including the Indian River Lifesaving Station, the Lewes Historical Society, the Lightship Overfalls and Overfalls Foundation, and the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute.

Canalfront Park, 211 Front St., Lewes
Living history encampment will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Historical re-enactors will portray sailors and mariners from the American Revolutionary War to the Korean War, with a spotlight on World War I in commemoration of the centennial of America's entrance into the Great War. Activities include displays, demonstrations and musket drills.

Lightship Overfalls, 219 Pilottown Road, Lewes (next to Canalfront Park)
Sound pipe demonstrations will occur from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteers will show how sound pipes were used by the Overfalls to produce distinct and powerfully audible warnings during the presence of thick fog or mist. Tours of the Overfalls will be given from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This National Historic Landmark was the last lightship built by the United States Lighthouse Service. Last tour at 3:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and children over 14.

Sunday, May 28

Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes

Lost Off Lewes: The British Warship DeBraak tours will be offered at 9 and 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Participants will meet at the Zwaanendael Museum where they will board a van to transport them to an offsite conservation facility for a guided tour of the surviving hull section of His Majesty's Sloop DeBraak, which sank off the Delaware coast May 25, 1798. Admission is free, but due to limited seating, reservations are required by Thursday, May 25. To reserve a seat, call 302-645-1148.

Colonial games will be offered from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the museum.

A wreath-laying ceremony honoring crew members of the DeBraak will take place at 3:30 p.m. Featuring historical re-enactors, a bugler and a bagpiper, this ceremony will take place at the DeBraak Memorial on the museum grounds. The site contains the remains of several crew members who lost their lives in the sinking of the DeBraak.

Canalfront Park, 211 Front St., Lewes

Living history encampment will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Historical re-enactors will portray sailors and mariners from the American Revolutionary War to the Korean War, with a spotlight on World War I in commemoration of the centennial of America's entrance into the Great War. Activities include displays, demonstrations and musket drills.

St. Peter's Episcopal Church cemetery, 211 Mulberry St., Lewes

Wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of James Drew, captain of the DeBraak, will be at 3 p.m. Featuring historical re-enactors, a bugler and a bagpiper, participants will lay a wreath on Capt. Drew's grave, followed by a walk to the Zwaanendael Museum for a wreath-laying ceremony honoring other crew members of the DeBraak.

The Zwaanendael Museum was built in 1931 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the state's first European colony, Swanendael, established by the Dutch along Hoorn Kill (present-day Lewes-Rehoboth Canal) in 1631. Designed by E. William Martin (architect of Legislative Hall and the Hall of Records in Dover), the museum is modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands, and features a stepped facade gable with carved stonework and decorated shutters. The museum's exhibits and presentations provide a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military and social history.

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