Visit us At 5th and Market Streets on Independence Mall

It's Your Story


Members Free
Adults $12
Seniors (ages 65 & up) $11
Youth (ages 13-21) $11
Children (ages 12 & under) Free
Active military (with ID) Free*

Discounted admission rates are available to groups of 15 or more people. Group visits must be booked in advance through Group Sales to receive these discounts and other group options.  


*As a Blue Star Museum, we additionally offer free admission to up to 5 immediate family members (spouse or children) of active military personnel from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  

A Brief Family History: From Galicia as Orphans to PhD Grandchildren

I was born in 1935 in Wilmington, Delaware, the first child of my immigrant parents. My parents, Sylvia and Isadore N. Silverman, came to the US as 11 year old orphans in 1921/22. Although they left many relatives in Europe, they were sent to the United States to live with an aunt and uncle because the relatives in Poland were not in a position to care for them. Their own parents had died during World War I.

Life in the US was a difficult adjustment, but they worked hard and after they met and married, life was a happy time again. Their focus was always on family, education, and volunteer work in the Jewish community. My Dad was the Gabbai at Adas Kodesch Shel Emeth synagogue for 40 years, after chairing many committees and serving as Vice President. He was also a Boy Scout Leader and commissioner for more than 65 years and was awarded the Silver Beaver Award, which is the highest award to a volunteer in the scout organization.

My Mom was active in Hadassah, Sisterhood, and President of Mizrachi Women. She was always the “home room” mother at school.

Education was important. Sylvia and Isadore were forced to leave school at the age of 16, and to continue their studies at night school while working during the day. They were proud that all four of their daughters graduated from college, with two going on for Master’s degrees. The next generation, their grandchildren and spouses, includes five PhDs, one DBA, two MDs and one JD. How proud they were of the ones they lived to see.

In 1955, I married Charles K. Keil. He had a wonderful relationship with my parents; he was the son that they did not have. He was also the big brother that my little sisters did not have until then.

Charlie is a 2nd generation American, with ancestors also from Galicia. His grandfather came to the US as a 17 year old, worked as a peddler in Brooklyn and eventually came to Wilmington where he brought the rest of his siblings to America, had a successful business, and contributed his time and resources to the Jewish community.

Thus both Charlie and I learned to help others in volunteer efforts by following the examples of our parents. Charles K. Keil was a 1st Lt. in the Strategic Air Command of the United States Air Force for two years, then served as Administrative Assistant to Delaware’s Governor Elbert N. Carvel. Next he served one term as a State Representative.

After 22 years in a law firm, he was appointed as a Judge in the Family Court of the State of Delaware. This is a 12 year appointment by the Governor and requires confirmation by the Senate. His community service included PTA president, president of the Lincoln Club of Delaware, Board Member of the Jewish Federation of Delaware and chair of the Jewish Voice.

My community service included two years as president of the Wilmington Chapter of Hadassah, co-chair of the Women’s Division campaign of the Jewish Federation of Delaware, Chair of the Editorial committee of the Jewish Voice, Board member of the Jewish Federation of Delaware and of the JCC, and Red Cross volunteer. I also had the honor of serving on the staff of Congressman Thomas R. Carper during his first five years in office until my retirement.

We have two children: Lea Keil Garson and Mark Keil. They are our pride and joy. Both are Princeton grads. Lea has a PhD from Princeton; Mark earned his DBA at Harvard. Lea is a reading specialist and director of learning support in a high school, is married to Eliot B. Garson, a clinical psychologist; they have two daughters, Julie and Katie. Julie is a U of Penn grad and a candidate for her doctoral degree in clinical psychology; Katie has a Masters in Ed from Penn and is currently teaching English as a second language in Argentina.

Mark Keil is a full professor at Georgia State University, where he has earned numerous awards for his teaching , research and service responsibilities. He is secretary of Shearith Israel Congregation in Atlanta, is married to Judith Fridovich-Keil, who is a professor at Emory. They have two children: David is a freshman at Princeton; Sara is a high school student.

Sylvia and Isadore had three more daughters, and a total of seven grandchildren.

They live on in the legacy of their good deeds. People we meet at the synagogue and elsewhere still stop to tell us something nice that they remember about Sylvia and Isadore. They left this world a better place for their positive impact on so many lives.