Fenwick Island is home to many treasures that can be found on the coast of Delaware. While the state's beaches are one of the biggest reasons that visitors make the trip, there are some unique things to be found within its towns, as well. For example, a museum that's home to an entire slew of underwater treasures, as well as historic maritime items. In fact, it's rarer for a visitor to the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum to not find something that they're entirely fascinated by.

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The museum houses exhibits and items that come from all over the world, not just in Delaware, and range from the truly incredible to the truly... strange, for lack of a better word. Here's what visitors can expect as they're walking through this museum.

What Can Be Found At Discoversea Shipwreck Museum

Although the name implies that this museum is devoted solely to shipwrecks and shipwreck paraphernalia, there's a broad range of items that visitors can find there. Many of the items were found and collected by local divers while others were donated by people familiar with the museum. In total, the museum houses about 10,000 artifacts from all over, all related to some maritime event or another. The original goal of the Discoversea Shipwreck Museum was to recover and preserve maritime findings, both local and international. It opened for the first time in 1995 and has been a hit ever since, after many years of research in order to find and display only the most unique items. Since the museum exists solely due to public donations and owner contributions, it has since become an important part of the Fenwick Island community.

The best part about visiting this museum is perhaps its diversity. Not only are there thousands of exhibits that one can explore but they're also constantly changing since the museum always acquires new pieces. According to the museum website, it's also home to the largest number of recovered artifacts in the Mid-Atlantic, giving it quite an impressive reputation. Roughly 80% of the exhibits that are on display at the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum are also rotated on a regular basis to other museums around the world - giving it an international connection, as well. At this point in time, the museum has goals of expanding its display space in order to hold even more artifacts in the future.

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Exhibits

The DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum has an incredibly impressive number of artifacts from shipwrecks all around the world.

Some of these include:

  • Delmarva Shipwreck
  • Various colonial sites
  • China Wreck
  • Atocha Shipwreck
  • Concepcion
  • Edmund Fitzgerald
  • Faithful Steward
  • H.M.S. DeBraak
  • The Juno
  • The Quicksilver Galleons
  • R.M.S. Republic
  • 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet
  • 1733 Fleet

Upon first entering the museum, visitors will need to walk through a seashell shop that's seemingly unsuspecting. This is also home to a claw game but don't worry - the real maritime history awaits just ahead. After walking up to the second floor, visitors will be met with artifacts from all over almost to the point where it's overwhelming. Many of these have been found by Dale W. Clifton, Jr., the diver, and owner responsible for the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum. Mixed in with these are artifacts that were donated by the general public, both divers and those who found unique items that were washed ashore. Visitors can also find things such as genuine gold bars that were once transported by ships across the ocean, taxidermy animals such as sharks, a Freejee mermaid, and even an oosik - the unique anatomical body part of a whale.

In addition to the museum's unique artifacts, visitors will also find a handmade recreation of a shipwreck in the form of a diorama. The work that went into it is clearly evident in the fine details of the scene, complete with miniature divers who are swimming down to explore the wreck. Visitors who come to the museum multiple times throughout the year are in for a surprise, though, as the diorama changes occasionally and may depict a different scene the second time around.

Visiting The Museum

For those visiting Fenwick Island, the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum is a true treat for everyone, not just those interested in maritime history. Its artifacts are engaging and one-of-a-kind and the community feel upon walking through its front doors is evident. It's the perfect way to spend some time when visiting Delaware and while the admission is free, donations are highly appreciated - it's how the museum affords to continue putting out its incredible exhibits.

Hours Of Operation

  • June: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • July - August: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • September: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • October - December 8th: Open Sat. and Sun., 11 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • December 8th - March: Closed for Renovations
  • April - May: Open Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Closed Wednesdays

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