Joseph Shipley, a Quaker merchant banker, built Rockwood between 1851 and 1854. Its Gothic Revival architecture and enchanting landscape were designed to reflect the beauty of an English country estate.

The museum reflects the way the Bringhurst family, descendants of Shipley, lived during the turn of the 20th century.
The Irish Connection:
Kilwaughter Castle to Rockwood Mansion

March 1, 2015 - February 28, 2016

Rockwood Museum celebrates its connection to Ireland at the turn of the Twentieth Century with the exhibit The Irish Connection: Kilwaughter Castle to Rockwood Mansion. Eldest daughter Elizabeth Bessie Bringhurst’s connection to Ireland came when she married Irish gentleman John Galt-Smith, and they began spending half of their year at Kilwaughter Castle near Larne, County Antrim, Ireland. Family letters recount her impressions of Ireland along with recommendations on how to make Rockwood more like an Irish manor house. Bessie even arranged for staff to emigrate to Delaware to take jobs at Rockwood. Bessie remained in Ireland through WWI after which she returned home bringing with her furnishings and artifacts from Kilwaughter.

This yearlong exhibit will feature archival photographs, paintings, letters and other documents some of which have never been on display. Also featured will be Bessie’s presentation gown worn when she was presented at the Royal Court of King Edward VII at Dublin Castle in 1903. The dress, covered in shamrocks, along with her written accounts of the event are a charming glimpse into the Irish aristocracy.

This yearlong exhibition will feature; Irish art, music, dance, lectures, and film. Groups are welcome. For a schedule of events and information visit or call 302-761-4340.
Ghost Tours
Rockwood offers private and group ghost tours throughout the year. Upcoming tours will appear in our events section. If you would like to inquire about a private tour or would like more information please call Philip Nord at 302-761-4340.

Group & School Tours
To inquire about group or school tours of the historic gardens, please contact the main office.