News Flash

Executive - Press Release

Posted on: December 2, 2021

County Executive Meyer announces new exhibition at Rockwood Park & Museum entitled “Coming Home"

WILMINGTON – New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced that in appreciation for the community's support through this exceptionally difficult year, all December tours at Rockwood Park & Museum will be FREE to the public. This gift to our friends and neighbors was made possible through the generosity of the Rockwood Park Preservation Society, benefitting Rockwood through fundraising, recreational and educational events. Become a member today for your gateway to Rockwood.


Rockwood Park & Museum will feature an inspiring temporary exhibition, entitled Coming Home: Treasures of Rockwood, from November 26, 2021 - January 9, 2022. This exhibition recounts five tales of adventurous travel that brought Rockwood's families back home again told through the worldly treasures they collected for over 100 years. Nestled within Rockwood Park's and Museum's enchanting holiday decorations, Coming Home will be featured in the museum's guided and self-guided tours. Visit for reservations and current hours of operation.


Excerpted from the exhibition:

“Joseph Shipley, the founder of Rockwood, worked for 30 years in Liverpool, England and decided to return to the place of his birth in Wilmington, Delaware for his retirement around 1850. While making plans with his architect in Liverpool and his family in America to design and build the Rockwood Estate, he and his nephew Edward Bringhurst took the Grand Tour, an elaborate trip to study great art through Europe, on their way to returning stateside. Starting in England, they travelled through France and Italy collecting the fine and decorative arts that became centerpieces of Shipley's new home.” 


Rockwood’s new Director, Ryan Grover, described that, “travel was important to all the generations of Rockwood and it was the way the world came into this treasure house. While members of the Shipley and Bringhurst families collected mementos from local American and even British travels, they also explored the Caribbean, South America, Africa and the Middle East.” Coming Home is the first exploration of Grover’s new direction for Rockwood and just scratches a deep surface of international interests inside this pastoral setting.


Coming Home will be highlighted in New Castle County's annual Holiday Open House celebration in the evenings of December 3 & 4, 2021. Along with the talents of local choirs, food trucks, famous tree lighting ceremony and Santa display, the Holiday Open House will feature self-guided tours of the museum's exhibition throughout both nights. This event attracts thousands of visitors and is a local tradition.


Rockwood Mission:

The mission of the site - owned, maintained and operated by New Castle County - is to serve residents and visitors through education and recreation, while preserving and maintaining the historic 19th Century mansion, its collections and grounds. The county advances that mission by presenting an ongoing variety of youth- and family-friendly public programming in the historic buildings and on the grounds, as well as hosting signature annual events and offering facility rental. The county is committed to past owners’ intention for the unique site to benefit the public. 


Associated Programs:

Every Friday and Saturday in December – FREE guided tours of the full house and exhibition, Coming Home: Treasures of Rockwood


Every Thursday – Sunday – FREE self-guided tours of Rockwood’s first floor with highlights of the feature exhibition, Coming Home: Treasures of Rockwood


December 3 & 4, 5-9 pm – Holiday Open House – New Castle County’s signature FREE winter festival with choirs, LOTS of lights, craft artisans, food tricks, Santa and self-guided tours of the Coming Home exhibition nestled into Rockwood mansion’s Christmas displays.


December 10, 11, 17, 18, 5-8 pm – Holiday Lights – Free nighttime self-guided tour of the museum's first floor and historic gardens illuminated by the lights of the season-perfect for date night and family fun.


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