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Work begins to reshape historic John Dickinson Plantation

Changes are coming to the John Dickinson Plantation in Dover as it starts implementing its master plan.


Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ historic site team manager Dan Citron recently spoke to Delaware Public Media’s Kelli Steele about the changes and how they will help offer a more complete picture of the site’s history.


The goal is to improve its work to highlight founding father John Dickinson and tell the stories of others who lived there, including enslaved Black men, women and children.

Citron notes that a $5,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation has a particular purpose in this site upgrade.


“We wanted to - as part of this master plan - incorporate an area of reflection because we understand that the topics that we’re covering, especially the lives of the people who are enslaved at the site, are very difficult," said Citron. "And they’re not just difficult for visitors, they’re difficult for us. And we understand. We’ve had training; our staff has had training and done the research to be presenting this information.” 

Citron adds that the master plan also includes opening more sections of the property to the public and another major addition


“With this master plan, we’re going to be building a new visitor’s center - a much larger visitor’s center. And it’s going to have a large exhibit space. Our current visitor’s center has a small exhibit space that is also our orientation space and a program space and a meeting space. This new visitor’s center will have all of those separated out.” 


The John Dickinson Plantation is a partner site of the First State National Historical Park. The property’s mansion house was Delaware’s first National Historic Landmark, designated in 1961.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.