Museum History

Museum Founding

The concept of a Bethany Beach museum was initiated by a dedicated group of people who were interested in the preservation of the Town’s history.

The group was started and led by Val Montanari and included Martha Jean Addy, Julia Jacobsen and others.

Chronology of Events

Pursuant to this goal, the following chronology of events led to the development of the current Bethany Beach Museum:

  • A collection of historic photographs was placed on permanent exhibit in the Baltimore Trust Bank in 1966.
  • A state grant for a history museum was applied for and obtained by the group. The Town matched the grant by providing labor and other services for the museum’s construction.
  • The first museum was opened in 1988, exhibiting pictures and artifacts that had been collected and cataloged by the historical group. Two antique bathing suits, dating from 1900 and 1910, were displayed on manikins. The bathing suits were eventually preserved in glass frames.
  • A docent schedule was developed to assure that the museum would be staffed on a regular basis.
  • A new town hall was constructed in 1997 which resulted in the demolition of the museum.
  • The town council voted to organize an official Bethany Beach Historical Association and to plan a new museum.
  • In 1999, the town contracted with Lynch Co. of New Jersey to produce history panels for the museum.
  • Two rooms in town hall were remodeled to house the new museum, which included the artifacts previously exhibited, along with the completed history panels. The panels display pictures relating to the problems of the 1900’s travel to this area, the summer activities of families of that time and the important events associated with Bethany Beach’s history. The effects of major storms and our part in World War II are also depicted.
  • The museum was eventually moved to the town hall lobby to optimize office space and provide a more open and integrated display venue as well as improving access for the public.

Current Displays

Museum Display Opens in new window

There are currently display cases containing many artifacts that have been preserved and collected over the course of the Town’s history.

Of particular note, is the recently installed mural depicting the Town’s history.

Visit the Town Hall Museum

The museum is located in the foyer of Town Hall and is open weekdays year-round from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Admission for the museum is free of charge.