School Days Celebration

School Days Celebration

NEXT DATE:   |   12 p.m. to 5 p.m.   |  
category: Feature on Home Page, Family Programs  |  location: Visitor Center

The history of the Brandywine Manufacturers’ Sunday School dates to 1813, when classes were first taught in private homes. After several years without a permanent home, DuPont Company founder E. I. du Pont financially supported the construction of a school building on his property, and the school opened in 1817.

Join us on May 13 for nineteenth-century games, quill pen writing, and ice cream to celebrate!

The Sunday School was a nonsectarian school offering classes in reading, writing, arithmetic, and Bible lessons. The students, both male and female, were workers or the children of workers in the local manufactories along the Brandywine. E. I. du Pont’s daughters, Victorine du Pont Bauduy, Eleuthera du Pont Smith, and Sophie M. Du Pont, were teachers at the school, as were other du Pont family members and friends. In its heyday the school had 150 students, many of whom returned as teachers.

Although the Sunday School was non-sectarian, school officials allowed local residents to use the building as a sanctuary during the 1840s. Because Roman Catholics, Methodists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians held services at the Sunday School until they constructed church buildings of their own, the congregations of Saint Joseph, Mount Salem, Christ Church, and Green Hill trace their roots to those services.

Today approximately 8,500 schoolchildren visit yearly on field trips. Visitors today learn how nineteenth-century children practiced their penmanship with quill pens, did sums on slates, studied history and geography, and also had fun with races and tug-of-war games.

Visitors to Hagley’s School Days Celebration will experience student life in the nineteenth century, including writing with quill pens and playing games like stick and hoop. In the Sunday School, visitors can also make a Mother’s Day card to celebrate the special women in their lives.

A Hagley guide will be making homemade ice cream in the Gibbons House using nineteenth-century methods, and visitors can sample a taste.

The Belin House Organic Café will be open until 4:30 p.m. the day of the event to allow visitors the opportunity to purchase a snack or meal throughout the day. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery beers will also be available for purchase. Visitors are encouraged to picnic on Workers’ Hill where tables will be provided.

Hagley’s School Days Celebration is included with museum admission and free for members. Visitors should use Hagley’s main entrance off Route 141 in Wilmington, Delaware.