Since the 1970s, The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village in Dover has transported visitors into a late nineteenth-century agricultural town complete with a preserved general store, school, barbershop, and train station. Now, the museum is asking for donations to help restore one of the village’s central historic structures, St. Thomas Methodist Episcopal Church.
Museum trustees moved the circa 1857 church from its original location in Millsboro to the museum grounds in 1994, saving it from potential demolition. However, the building has fallen into disrepair over the ensuing twenty-five years due to a lack of funding dedicated to its preservation. Restoring this structure is important, as it is a part of Delaware’s rural heritage and a prime example of rural church architecture.
Museum director Carolyn Claypoole announced a time capsule project that will not only compile documentation of the church, but also act as a fundraising effort. The museum will place the time capsule in one of the exterior walls of the church. Inside, staff plan to include the only known photograph of the church in its original location, documentation related to its move in 1994, pictures of the church at the museum, and a list of all the donors who support the renovation effort. Claypoole hopes the time capsule will help future generations understand St. Thomas Methodist Episcopal Church and the efforts that have been taken to preserve it.