Diving Into History: Rehoboth Beach Historical Society and Museum

Entering or exiting the town’s main traffic rotary on Rehoboth Avenue, it’s hard to miss the Rehoboth Beach Museum – especially now that it is the new home of the iconic Dolle’s sign. After many decades and passionate public input, Dolle’s sign is now hosted by the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society’s home at the museum. 

We all know the museum is there, but have you ever considered visiting and learning much more about Rehoboth Beach’s fascinating story? From its humble origins as a Methodist retreat to today’s popular resort, you can learn about everything in between at the Rehoboth Beach Museum.  

Home to exhibits of local artists, nostalgic photographs and displays and even a venue for special events, the Rehoboth Beach Museum is the perfect place to spend a little time or take out of town visitors.  

The historical society works tirelessly to share our beloved resort home with others. Admission is free, however, donations are greatly appreciated. The society also supports the museum and its outreach programs through annual memberships ($40/individual, $50/family), which gives incentives for certain special events and discounts at the museum store. 

Currently, the museum offers “Women of Rehoboth Beach,” a walking tour celebrating remarkable women who have shaped Rehoboth Beach’s identity, including the first and (so far) only female mayor, the owner of the popular “Dinner Bell” restaurant (now the Belmoor Hotel) and famed chef and baker Ruth Harmon whose legendary dinner rolls were always in high demand.  

On December 9th at 10 am, a guided tour of the Spunky Women is being offered. Tickets are available on the event tab of the museum web site. A link to the walking tour map is also available if you can’t make it or would prefer to do it yourself. 

The other tour, “Rehoboth Avenue and Beyond” is described as pictorial. Enjoy photographs and other memorabilia chronicling other city landmarks and historic sites.  

Additionally, the Rehoboth Beach Historical Center offers a clever topic specific series of videos on its website. For example, you can learn the interesting history and evolution of the bathing suit. Nostalgic baseball fan? Watch the mini documentary of the history of the Rehoboth Pirates. 

Recently, the historical society has published a hardcover book, Greetings from Rehoboth Beach, Postcards from the Collection of The Rehoboth Beach Museum. This full color collection of photographs of postcards from as far back as 1905 offer a glimpse into the transformation of Rehoboth Beach from its roots as a Methodist retreat camp to the resort we all love today. Many of the postcards were gifted to the museum by notable Rehoboth Beach residents, some of which have previously never been seen until the book’s publication. 

The book is $50 and is available at the museum or on its website.  

So, as the museum’s swimmer logo and motto encourage, “Dive into History.” 

Winter Museum hours, November 1 to Memorial Day weekend are Fridays 9-3, Saturdays and Sundays 9-1. For more information, contact (302) 227-7310 or infor@rehobothbeachmuseum.com. 

Article by Bridget Fitzpatrick, Resident Journalist

All Pictures from the Society and Museum Website

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