It’s not often the residents of Dover see crews from a national television network cruising through town, but this week was an exception.
“Our goal was to get outside Washington, D.C. and collect the stories of some of our smaller cities,” said Debbie Lamb, coordinating producer for C-SPAN. “These cities have a unique history and we like to showcase a city’s history to a national audience.”
Video cameras in hand and microphones at the ready, the crews kicked off the week Tuesday at the Dover Public Library, where they were welcomed by Mayor Carleton E. Carey Sr.
Thursday morning found producer and video journalist Scott Hummelsheim at the Johnson Victrola Museum, documenting a tour by Historic Site Supervisor Nena Todd and state Curator of Collections Ann Baker Horsey. Both work for the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, which worked closely with C-SPAN to arrange the various stops in the Capital City.
Todd appreciated the fact the network decided to focus on Dover and on the Victrola Museum, which features a collection of early music-playing devices made by Dover-area native Eldridge Johnson.
“We’re really glad C-SPAN is here,” Todd said. “Eldridge Johnson grew up here, but his influence was felt internationally, even today. He was the first to find a practical way to bring music to the masses.”
“We selected Dover because it is a mid-sized city and it’s a state capital,” she said. “It also has some fascinating history to it, and we’re also going to look into the city’s nonfiction literary life.”
That’s possibly one reason the event began at Dover’s library, but the crews also stopped to interview retired Delaware State Police detective John R. Alstadt Jr. Alstadt is author of “With Love to Yourself and Baby: The Story of the Poison Candy Murder Case,” which meticulously documented the 1891 case where cyanide-laced chocolates, sent by mail from California, caused the deaths of two prominent Dover women.
Crews also visited Delaware State University, the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base, the John Dickinson Plantation, the Delaware Public Archives and interviewed Gov. Jack Markell.
Founded in 1979, C-SPAN operates three television channels and one radio station with a mission to provide public access to the nation’s political process. The network is funded by its cable and satellite affiliates and receives no government monies, Lamb said.
Dover residents will get to see their city on television July 20 and July 21 via BookTV/C-SPAN2 on Comcast Cable Channel 104 and American HistoryTV/C-SPAN3 on Comcast Channel 105.
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