Confederate Flag Flying on the Marvel Museum Grounds

Some council members are refusing to fund the Marvel Museum without the removal of the confederate flag. 

GEORGETOWN, Del. - On Tuesday, the Sussex County Council held a meeting, in which they discussed a $2,000 grant given to the Georgetown Historical Society’s Marvel Museum. The discussion is part of an ongoing controversy surrounding the confederate flag flying on the museum’s grounds.

Councilman Mark Schaeffer made a motion insisting that the county reclaim the funds, which were used to install an air-conditioning unit in a new museum exhibit. Schaeffer is one of the council members that refuses to fund the museum without the removal of the flag. 

“I wasn’t aware that the flag was flying,” Schaeffer says. “Mr. Rieley, who granted the money to the organization, didn’t disclose that to us, and I think it’s an inappropriate use of taxpayer funding.” 

John Rieley is the Sussex County councilman for the 5th District, where the flag flies. He approved funding for the museum without the flag being removed. 

“I support the mission of the museum, because they do wonderful work,” Rieley says.” “They preserve the history of not only Georgetown, but the general area and they have a great story to tell.”

The motion was eventually tabled. Sussex County President Michael Vincent said the council needed to do more research to find out if they even have the ability to ask for the money to be returned after it has been granted and used. 

However, council members aren’t the only ones discussing the museum’s confederate flag. Local Sussex County residents have their own opinions about whether the Georgetown Historical Society’s Marvel Museum should receive funding while it remains flying. 

“If you as an organization are asking the government for money, and you’re not reflecting the values based on the diverse community here in Sussex County, then you obviously don’t need the money that much,” says Rufino Cruz, who believes the museum should not be funded without taking the flag down. 

Some residents, like Charis Rineholt, believe otherwise. “As long as it’s just a representation of history, I’m fine with it,” Rineholt says. “It’s not that big of a deal to me. I’m okay with it going to the museum.”

The Georgetown Historical Society released an official statement in which they stated their reasons for maintaining the flag, including their commitment to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and clarified that they do not plan to take the flag down:

“The GHS intends to keep its word to SCV, particularly on the choice of flags to adorn the Memorial, and call on all citizens of good character and good faith to commit to the environment of unity, pluralism, and tolerance demonstrated at the unveiling on May 12, 2007, allowing those who chose to honor their dead to do so with respect for their election, all in furtherance of the advancement of education and history that defines the noble object of GHS.”