Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House Win Award from Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission

Pluckemin Cantonment Video Earns History Award from Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission

“In Quarters Comfortable and Clever,” a video depicting Pluckemin’s Revolutionary War artillery cantonment, earned a History Award from the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission at the 2014 Historic Preservation and History Awards Ceremony held at the historic Brook Art Center in Bound Brook on May 21, 2014.

Robert Bouwman, President of the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission (SCC&HC) (far left), Patricia L. Walsh, SCC&HC Freeholder Liaison (second from right) and William Schleicher, a member of the Historic Preservation and History Awards Committee (far right), present a History Award to Sean Blinn, President of the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House Board of Trustees, at the Somerset County Historic Preservation and History Awards Ceremony at the historic Brook Arts Center in Bound Brook. Image provided by SCC&HC.

“We are honored to be recognized for our efforts to increase public awareness of the historic events that occurred here in Bedminster during the Revolutionary War,” commented Sean Blinn, President of the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House Board of Trustees, which commissioned the video to tell the story of the nation’s first military academy and its pivotal role in the American Revolution. 

The Jacobus Vanderveer House served as the home and headquarters for General Henry Knox during the winter of 1778 - 1779.  General Knox supervised the construction of the cantonment (now located in the Hills Development) and established a military training academy for the Continental Army. Working with Dr. John Seidel, Director for the Center for the Environment & Society at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland and lead archaeologist on the Pluckemin Archaeological Project in the 1970’s; historical geographer Stewart Bruce; historians; and students at Washington College, the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House authorized the use of sophisticated mapping software to create a 3D visualization of the lost Pluckemin cantonment in a series of digital animations that is interpreted and narrated by scholars. The animated visualization of the 1778 - 1779 cantonment depicts buildings (officers’ quarters, armorers’ shop, artificers’ quarters, tin smith’s shop, etc.) as well as the physical materials, tools and daily activities of life on the site. 

A screenshot of the Academy Building from “In Quarters Comfortable and Clever,” a video depicting Pluckemin’s Artillery Park.

“In Quarters Comfortable and Clever” complements the Friends’ more traditional interpretive programs, including authentic artifacts, period rooms, The Prich Matthews History Center, museum displays, artwork, maps and printed materials at the Jacobus Vanderveer House. 

A nine-minute version video can be viewed on YouTube by visiting: http://youtu.be/EDinpcpS52w

The complete 17-minute video can be viewed on the YouTube URL: http://youtu.be/MWRIx6J8UOk

“In Quarters Comfortable and Clever” can also be viewed at the Jacobus Vanderveer House, as well as on the museum’s website and Facebook page. The website URL is: http://jvanderveerhouse.org/videos.html

Funding support for the video was provided by grants from the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. The project was also made possible with support from the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the Somerset County Open Space, Recreation, Farmland, and Historic Preservation Trust.

Each year, Somerset County recognizes exemplary historic preservation and heritage efforts through its annual Somerset County Historic Preservation and History Awards program. The program is sponsored by the Board of chosen Freeholders and the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission.

The Jacobus Vanderveer House is located at 3055 River Road (in Bedminster’s River Road Park), Bedminster, NJ. For more information about the museum, upcoming events, and becoming a member of the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, call 908-396-6053 or visit www.jvanderveerhouse.org.


About The Jacobus Vanderveer House                                  
For more than two centuries, the Jacobus Vanderveer House, located in River Road Park, has been at the center of Bedminster Township’s rich and colorful history. It is situated on part of the 218 acres that make up River Road Park in Bedminster Township, Somerset County. 


Jacobus Vanderveer, Jr., son of Vanderveer, Sr., a wealthy Dutch miller, built a small Dutch frame-style farmhouse just west of the North Branch of the Raritan River on the northern outskirts of Pluckemin. In 1778, during the War of Independence, Vanderveer lent his home to General Henry Knox, who was to command a new artillery encampment and training academy being established by the Continental Army on a hillside above the village of Pluckemin. General Knox, along with his wife Lucy and family, occupied the house from the winter of 1778 through the summer of 1779.

The Vanderveer house is the only surviving building associated with the Pluckemin encampment, which is considered to be the first installation in America to train officers in engineering and artillery. General Knox established “The Academy” and subsequently created its successor, The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.  

The Jacobus Vanderveer House and property were purchased by Bedminster Township in 1989 with the help of Green Acres funding. The house was listed in 1995 on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places. The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House is a nonprofit organization formed to restore and develop the historic site as an important educational and cultural resource. During the past decade, the Friends have restored the house, created historically accurate period room exhibitions, established historic collections, supported important research, and embarked on a program of education and interpretation to tell the stories of General Henry Knox, the Pluckemin military encampment and the community’s key role in the American Revolution.


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