Acquiring Old Town Hall, a large building that it owned (instead of renting), allowed the Delaware Historical Society to collect more actively and collect larger items. But, as with all collecting institutions, space filled quickly. By the mid 1930s the Society realized that it needed more space. Some collections had to be stored in a bank vault and weren’t available for research. Following Library of Congress standards, architects Massena & du Pont designed a fireproof vault that was added to the rear of Old Town Hall in 1938.
From then until the early 1970s, when the Society opened its Research Library in the former Artisans Savings Bank, Old Town Hall with its vault was the Society’s home, housing museum exhibitions, library research, and storage for museum and library collections. Since the Delaware History Museum now provides ample storage for objects collections, the vault was removed from Old Town Hall a few years ago.
Unfortunately, the Society does not have a photograph of Old Town Hall with the vault. All of the photos are of the front. But this story tells us that the back of a building can be just as interesting as the front.