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Cape Henlopen Lighthouse Exhibit coming to Rehoboth Beach Museum

Cape Henlopen Lighthouse.jpg

The Rehoboth Beach Museum will be opening a new exhibit starting next Friday, May 27.

It’s called Cape Henlopen Lighthouse - Beacon, Attraction and Icon.

“We selected that title…well for three reasons," said David McDonald - a volunteer with the Museum and an expert about this exhibit. "The Cape Henlopen Lighthouse served as a beacon for mariners for 160 years. And it marked the entrance to the Delaware Bay and the hazards to the Hen and Chickens Shoal just offshore. And it was viewed as one of the most major landmarks for ships who were approaching the Mid-Atlantic coast.” 

McDonald says back in the day - there were only six lighthouses along the coast and the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse happened to be one of them.

“When Rehoboth became an important vacation destination in the 1880’s the lighthouse became one of the major attractions," said McDonald. "There were trips to see the lighthouse as documented in postcards, letters and world histories and hundreds of photographs in our collection. The lighthouse then became a symbol - a prominent symbol - of the Delaware coast.” 

He says the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse appears on thousands of souvenir items today, as well as paintings and prints.

McDonald notes the exhibit relies on official records, newspaper accounts and photographs to outline the history of the lighthouse from its origins in 1765 - to its collapse into the Atlantic Ocean in April 1926.

He says besides featuring artifacts retrieved from the lighthouse ruins after it fell into the Atlantic Ocean in 19-26, this upcoming exhibit will also feature a six-foot tall model that once belonged to famous painter Andrew Wyeth.

The exhibit runs through September 5.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.