A Historical Society That is its Own Museum 

The Georgetown Historical Society is an all-volunteer organization that quite literally maintains its own village. 

The museum has an extensive, unique collection of memorabilia and antiques that reflect Georgetown’s growth and culture since its establishment in the mid seventeenth century. Georgetown became the county seat of Sussex by decree of Delaware’s governor in 1791 to establish a central location. 

The museum takes visitors on a fascinating tour of the village, located on South Bedford Street (State Road 431). The buildings, which have all been gifted to the historical society are a reminder of Georgetown’s rural, agricultural roots, as well as its growth when it became an important railroad depot. 

All of the gifted buildings have been moved from other locations such as local farms or businesses, then meticulously restored by society members and other volunteers. There are two barns, including the Barrel Barn, a popular wedding venue. Also on the property is The Lynch Building, often rented for meetings and dinners, are two Pennsylvania Railroad Stations from Selbysville and Frankford. The Service Station complete with Gas Pump was restored in 2001.  

There is a renovated blacksmith shop originally from nearby Harbeson. There’s also a renovated old service station complete with its gas pump that was restored in 2001 and evokes our childhood memories, as does the classic dairy delivery truck nearby.  

But the highlights of the historical society’s “village” are its three unique museums. The Delaware Telephone Museum presents a delightful throwback to our present modes of communication, such as cell phones, laptops and emails and texting. 

The Sanger Western Auto Museum replica and memorabilia were donated by Mr. Sanger, who once was synonymous with auto dealerships throughout lower Delaware – before “big box” dealerships came along. 

Finally, there is a fan favorite: the Jim Boyer Model Train Museum. Mr. Boyer was legendary in Georgetown for setting up an enormous vintage train display every holiday season, then opening up his home to the public to enjoy. As the historical society president Jim Bowden explains it, everyone knew he had a large collection, but no one imagined it was so massive – so much so that the society had to add to their existing space in order to accommodate the largess of his display, as well as his collection. He estimates there are 277 engines, and 1,700 rail cars, many of which are still in their original boxes. They now line an entire wall in the museum. 

An added bonus to visiting the Georgetown Historical Society and its museums is that admission is free, and docents are happy to guide a tour.  

The museums are open every day except Sunday, and hours can vary since it is entirely run by volunteers. Visit their website or call (302) 855-9660. Tours of the historic courthouse are also available. 

By Bridget Fitzpatrick, Resident Journalist

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