Delaware Museum of Natural History

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Delaware Museum of Natural History
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Museum in 2010
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Location in Delaware
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Delaware Museum of Natural History (the United States)
Established1957 (open to public May 13, 1972)
Location4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 19807 USA
Coordinates 39°47′54″N75°36′35″W / 39.798307°N 75.609804°W / 39.798307; -75.609804
Type Natural history
VisitorsOver 65,000 [1]
Public transit accessAiga bus trans.svg DART First State bus: 52

The Delaware Museum of Natural History (DMNH) was founded in 1957 by John Eleuthere du Pont near Greenville, Delaware; it opened in 1972 on a site near Winterthur, Delaware. It is known for its extensive collections of seashells, birds, and bird eggs. The latter is the second largest collection in North America. It is the oldest natural history museum in Delaware.



The museum's core collection was started in childhood by the naturalist, philanthropist and high-profile convicted murderer [2] [3] [4] John E. ("Golden Eagle") du Pont. Du Pont built a personal collection of seashells, birds and bird eggs. Even before getting a doctorate in natural science in 1965 and writing several books on birds, he became interested in developing a natural history museum. During and after graduate school, du Pont took part in several scientific expeditions to the South Pacific and the Philippines, and is credited with the discovery of two dozen subspecies of birds.

At his request, his uncle Henry Francis du Pont provided land across from the Winterthur estate in the Brandywine Valley of Delaware for the museum. The museum opening in 1972 was attended by 200 du Pont family members, and representatives of other Northeastern natural history museums. [5] It was the first major museum of natural history opened since 1910. [6]

The museum originally was based on du Pont's collection of 1,000,000 sea shells and 100,000 bird eggs. The museum emphasizes the ecology of birds and sea life. In early studies, these were used by scientists to measure pesticide contamination of wild species. [6] DMNH is ranked in the top fifteen in the United States for its collections of mollusks and birds, with the second largest collection of birds' eggs in North America. [7]

The museum had a major expansion in 2005 to add educational and exhibit space. It has been expanded to include exhibits on dinosaurs, mammals, and Charles Darwin. [8]

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Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library United States historic place

Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library is an American estate and museum in Winterthur, Delaware. As of 2011, it houses one of the most important collections of Americana in the United States of America. It was the former home of Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969), a renowned antiques collector and horticulturist. Until recently, it was known as the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum.

Hagley Museum and Library Nonprofit museum and library in Wilmington, Delaware

The Hagley Museum and Library is a nonprofit educational institution in Wilmington, Delaware. Covering more than 235 acres (0.95 km²) along the banks of the Brandywine Creek, the museum and grounds include the first du Pont family home and garden in the United States, the powder yards, and a 19th-century machine shop. On the hillside below the mansion lies a Renaissance-revival garden, with terraces and statuary, created in the 1920s by Louise Evalina du Pont Crowninshield (1877–1958).

Brandywine Creek (Christina River tributary) creek in southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, United States

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du Pont family Wealthy American family

The Du Pont family is a prominent American family descended from Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739–1817). It has been one of the richest families in the United States since the mid-19th century, when it founded its fortune in the gunpowder business. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it expanded its wealth through the chemical industry and the automotive industry, with substantial interests in the DuPont company, General Motors, and various other corporations.

John du Pont American heir to the Du Pont family fortune, ornothologist, conchologist, murderer

John Eleuthère du Pont was an American philanthropist and convicted murderer. An heir to the Du Pont family fortune, he was a published ornithologist, philatelist, conchologist, sports enthusiast, and self-styled wrestling coach. He died in prison while serving a sentence of 30 years for the murder of Dave Schultz.

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Henry Francis du Pont, was an American horticulturist, an expert and collector of early American furniture and decorative arts, and a member of the prominent du Pont family. For more than 40 years, he was recognized as a premier breeder for his herd of Holstein Friesian cattle.

Charles I. du Pont American Civil War industrialist and politician

Charles Irénée du Pont was an American manufacturer and politician, and an early member of the prominent du Pont family business. He was a nephew of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the founder of the E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, and a member of the Delaware General Assembly.

Centerville, Delaware Unincorporated community in Delaware, United States

Centerville is an unincorporated community in New Castle County, Delaware, United States. Centerville is now known primarily for being the location of Du Pont family estates, as well as several other wealthy business families from nearby Wilmington, and the home of Governor Jack Markell.

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Brandywine Creek State Park

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George Alexis Weymouth, better known as Frolic Weymouth, was an American artist, whip or stager, and conservationist. He served on the United States Commission of Fine Arts in the 1970s and was a member of the Du Pont family.

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  1. "About Us". Delaware Museum of Natural History. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  2. Longman, Jeré (December 10, 2010). "John E. du Pont, Heir Who Killed an Olympian, Dies at 72". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  3. Goddard, Jacqui (January 4, 2015). "Foxcatcher: the true story". The Telegraph. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  4. Cormier, Ryan (November 29, 2014). "'Foxcatcher' book details du Pont murder plot". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  5. Janson, Donald (May 13, 1972). "DuPonts Toast a New Museum". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2009.
  6. 1 2 Janson, Donald (May 7, 1972). "New Museum in Delaware Stresses Ecology of Birds and Sea Life". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2009.
  7. "Collections and Research". Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  8. "Permanent Exhibits". Delaware Museum of Natural History. Retrieved July 12, 2009.