The Awakening

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Professionals at the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs along with the staff at The John Dickinson Plantation (JDP) have received financial support, in the form of a grant, from Charles R. Cook along with support from the state of Delaware to re-envision the site. The overreaching theme seeks to remember the enslaved peoples once held on the land and create an area of reflection that illustrates the narrative to be told through the history of the site. The JDP staff are currently in the process of researching primary and secondary source documents, excavating historic artifacts, and creating an informative database to eventually be accessed by visitors. The current tour of the site begins at the existing visitor center located at the far most northeast section of the property. While there, visitors are shown a movie about the plantation and are then able to view a few exhibits before heading out to the mansion. Once the mansion exhibits have been toured, surrounding quarters such as the smokehouse, urban garden, and Dickinson burial are seen before the tour of the Historic Corridor is concluded.While a guided tour is provided, visitors do have the opportunity to lead a self-guided tour. With 12 acres currently in use, an additional 88 acres will be used to introduce alternative pathways and trail systems from the mansion to the various proposed sections of the plantation. Proposed plans include: • Area of reflection: one or multiple designated site areas used to engage visitors in the slave experience and provide a calming space for interpretation. • St. Jones Reserve connection: potential panels or pathways connecting the site to the nearby estuary reserve. • New visitor center: larger and more modern visitor center to support increased visitor activity. The Bernardon firm has proposed a site plan that incorporates a site wide trail system, new visitor center and parking lot, ampitheater, viewing landing, and various boardwalk platforms. These plans are featured in the following site plans.
John Dickinson Plantation, Dover DE, Landscape architecture