Historic Odessa Foundation

The mission of the Historic Odessa Foundation is to preserve and promote the homes, grounds, collections and historic legacy of Odessa, DE. Our Foundation is charged with raising money, maintaining Odessa’s historic assets, supporting scholarly and archeological work and educating the public in the history of the town and the state of Delaware in the 18th and 19th centuries.

About Historic Odessa Foundation

Mission: The mission of the Historic Odessa Foundation is to preserve and promote the homes, grounds, collections and historic legacy of Odessa, DE. Our Foundation is charged with raising money, maintaining Odessa’s historic assets, supporting scholarly and archeological work and educating the public in the history of the town and the state of Delaware in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Help Support Historic Odessa's Living History Education Program

When the Historic Odessa Foundation was established in 2005 to save the enclave of historic museum properties, until recently known as the Historic Houses of Odessa, one of the first things the foundation set out to do was to create an education program that would give children and their families a chance to experience life in colonial Delaware from different perspectives and backgrounds.
 
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From the onset we saw ourselves as a community resource, an education center intrinsically tied to our mission of preserving and encouraging the use of our historic buildings by the general public, students and scholars in order to learn and appreciate the region’s history.
 
In 2006, Historic Odessa launched the Living History program with four workshops. That first year saw 236 students come through our doors. Today, we have nine workshops and annually host more than 4500 school children mainly from Delaware.
 
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Because demands on teachers are so high, and they’re accountable for so many things, they are reluctant to take advantage of our workshops unless we can help them achieve some of the state standard goals required. Since our program is tied to standards and is written like a lesson plan, we’re able to accommodate their needs and goals. 
 
Every single workshop we offer has objectives, it has primary sources, and it has a relationship to standards. In addition, every teacher who leaves a field trip fills out an evaluation. Their input has been valuable in helping us to shape and evolve our programs.
 
In 2012, we established a scholarship fund that is supported by appeals, as well as by foundation members and volunteers. It was created to subsidize admissions for students in need of financial assistance, or to subsidize transportation costs which for many teachers can be their biggest expense.
 
Developing a program that is highly interactive and hands-on is a way that small museums, like Historic Odessa, can affectively educate the public. Learning about history is a way to see who we are in reality, because history unlocks so much of what came before and gives us keys to what’s going to come. 
 
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For kids the stories of children who lived 200 hundred years ago, gives them insight into how life was different, but also how really common childhood experiences are. Whether you’re a kid growing up in the colony of Delaware or whether you’re a kid growing up in Wilmington today.

About Historic Odessa
Established in 2005, the Historic Odessa Foundation owns and operates Historic Odessa, a 72-acre enclave of 18th and 19th century structures located in the town of Odessa, just two miles from DE 1 and just off U.S. Route 13 in southern New Castle County, Del. The historic buildings and gardens along with a well-documented collection of more than 7000 objects and furnishings offer a unique picture of Delaware’s colonial period in a rural village that played a vital part in America’s commercial history. The town of Odessa, originally known as Cantwell’s Bridge, has retained much of its 18th century charm and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and home to a National Historic Landmark, and two National Park Service Network to Freedom sites.

County Served: New Castle; Kent; Sussex

Office Location(s): Odessa

Sector: Museums & Historical