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New Castle Court House Museum reopens to public after installation of fire sprinkler system

New Castle Court House Museum.jpg

A popular Delaware museum reopens to the public.

The New Castle Court House Museum is one of the oldest surviving courthouses in the United States. Built in 1732, it was also Delaware’s first state capitol.

The Delaware Division of Historic and Cultural Affairs closed the museum in December to install a much-needed fire sprinkler system.

“And everything went very well; we ran into no issues - which is always a concern with historic structures and a complex system like a sprinkler system," said Dan Citron, the museum’s team manager. "But the project ran smoothly. We have gotten all of the artifacts and museum furniture and other objects back into the building.

Citron says fire has always been a concern at the building. The original center section was built on top of the remains of the earlier Court House burned down by a fire set by a prisoner trying to escape.

Citron says the entire project cost $429,000. He says the project was complicated because the West Wing housed many County records since it was built in the 1800’s as a fire proof wing.

“That did cause a few concerns as we were going into this project because the construction in that Wing being different meant that the project had to be different on that side of the building. But we were able to take care of that and make sure that we really impacted the building and the original fabric of the building as little as possible. We also made sure the sprinklers were hidden.”

Citron says since the museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park, making the sprinkler system recessed into the ceiling and hidden from the public’s eye was a priority.

The Museum is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.