Friday, September 5, 2014

Weekend Historical Happenings: 9/6/14 - 9/7/14

WEEKEND HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS
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Saturday, September 6 - Morristown, Morris County
African American Patriots
Children Friendly

Did you know that more than 5,000 African Americans served in the Continental Army? Join a Park Ranger at the Wick House to learn about the contributions of these patriots to American independence and the complicated choices they faced about liberty and freedom. Programs at 11:00 am, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm at the Wick House in Jockey Hollow, within Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, NJ. Cost: Free. For more information, call 973-543-4030 or visit www.nps.gov/morr.

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Saturday, September 6 - Titusville, Mercer County
Eyewitness Images From the American Revolution

On Saturday at 1:00 pm, Arthur Lefkowitz will present "When Artwork Speaks: Eyewitness Images From the American Revolution." This will be a slide presentation of paintings, portraits, illustrations, and rapidly executed drawings from the Revolutionary War. The program will be held at the Washington Crossing State Park Visitor Center auditorium which holds sixty people on a first-come, first-serve basis. The main entrance to Washington Crossing State Park is located at 355 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, Titusville, NJ. For more information, call 609-737-0623.

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Saturday, September 6 - Princeton, Mercer County
Princeton University Architecture Tour

Back by popular demand, this tour explores the phenomenal architecture on the Princeton University campus, dating  from 1756 to the present. Buildings on this two-mile walk include the Georgian style of Nassau Hall, collegiate Gothic marvels, and extraordinary contemporary designs, including the Frank Gehry-designed Lewis Library, the Stadium, the Icahn Laboratory, and the brand new Princeton Neuroscience Institute/Psychology facility. The tour begins at 10:00 am. Tickets are $8 per adult and $5 per for children ages 5 - 12. Space is limited. For tickets, call 609-921-6748 x102 or e-mail eve@princetonhistory.org.

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Saturday, September 6 - Bridgeton, Cumberland County
Harriet Beecher Stowe: "Never Give Up"
Children Friendly

On Saturday at 2:00 pm, Kim Hanley, an actor, singer, costumer, and dancer will portray and present a program on Harriet Beecher Stowe at the Cumberland County Library. In 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe published her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly. This empathetic depiction of life for African Americans under slavery reached millions in the United States and the United Kingdom. The emotionally charged stories of Uncle Tom, Eliza, and Little Eva helped move the conscience of the country to the great and imperative cause of Abolitionism. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the pro-slavery South. It is alleged that when she met Abraham Lincoln, he told her "So you are the little woman that wrote the book that started this great war."

Constrained by 19th century societal conventions, Harriet could not become a minister like her father, brothers and husband, so she chose instead to use the outlets available to a lady, among those were teaching and writing. During the early years of her marriage, Harriet drew income as an educator and from writing from magazine articles. Later, after witnessing the horrors of Slavery and the work of Abolitionists, she began Uncle Tom's Cabin as a story to be published in serial form. The stories catapulted her to international fame, and in the years following, Harriet went on to publish over 20 novels as well as travel memoirs, home-life guides, letters and essays, becoming one of the most widely published authors in American History.

The Cumberland County Library is located at 800 East Commerce Street, Bridgeton NJ. This program is free and open to the public. For more information, call 856-451-1940.

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Saturday, September 6 - Morris Township, Morris County
Horse-Drawn Wagon Ride & Maid's Eye View at the Willows
Children Friendly

Enjoy an interpretive horse-drawn wagon ride at Fosterfields Living History Farm on Saturday while discovering the importance of sustainable farming. Learn about the methods, equipment, crops, and enterprises of Charles Foster’s farm in the early 1900s. Wagon ride from 10:00 am - 12:00 noon and included in regular admission.

From 11:00 am - 12:00 noon, on a hands-on guided tour, discover the life of the domestic help at the Foster home, known as The Willows at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm. Assist with some house-hold chores. 

Admission: $6/adult, $5/senior (65+), $4/child (ages 4 -16), $2/child (2 and 3). FREE for children under age 2 and Friends members, with a current membership card. Fosterfields Living Historical Farm is located at 73 Kahdena Road, Morristown, NJ. For more information, visit www.morrisparks.net.

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Saturday, September 6 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Back to School
Children Friendly

School bells ring once again in Pleasant Valley when Howell Farm invites the public to participate in a unique "back to school" day on Saturday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. The program features the educational, social, and cultural activities centered on the "one-room school" in rural life of 1900.

The Howell Farm school mistress has McGuffey readers, slates, and slate pencils ready for students of all ages to begin their lessons in the three R's. Visitors can take a seat in an antique school desk and try their hand at orthography using pen and ink, or attempt to solve farm related arithmetic problems on the chalkboard. As in yesteryear, children can help with farm chores before attending the "one-room school.

The school bell will ring to begin lessons, for recess, and a quick tour of the privy. During recess, children will be introduced to hoops and sticks, tug of war and other old-fashioned games and toys.

School lunches served in baskets or pails will be sold.

Participants in the school program may also attend the "box social". Well-wrapped boxes of homemade pies or goodies will be auctioned off to benefit the school.  The lucky gentleman who wins the bid on the teacher's pie will also share her company.

Howell Living History Farm represents typical farm life between 1890 and 1910. The farm is operated by the Mercer County Parks Commission. It is located at 70 Wooden's Lane, Lambertville, NJ. For more information. call 609-737-3299 or visit www.howellfarm.com.

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Saturday - Sunday, September 6 - 7 - Tuckerton, Ocean County
Maritime Heritage Festival 
Children Friendly

You can celebrate all things maritime Saturday and Sunday at the Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm. The annual Maritime Heritage Festival takes over the Seaport both days with highlights that include: live music from Valerie Vaughn Duo from 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm on Saturday; lessons from Randy Budd of Pine Knot Surfboards in how to make your own wooden boards; lessons from "master basket maker Mary May" in how to make "traditional South Jersey maritime baskets," including eel traps; lessons in tying nautical knots; lessons in making fishing lures and rigs; lessons in boat-making, including such traditional South Jersey craft as sneakboxes and garveys; lessons in making your own toy sneakbox; and much more! There's even a bounce house, if the kids get tired of all the nautical niceties, plus festival food and vendors.
General Admission: Adults: $8; Seniors: $6; Children 6 to 12: $3; Children 5 and under: Free. Members Free. Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum, 120 West Main Street, Tuckerton. For more information call 609-296-8868 or visit www.tuckertonseaport.org.

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Saturday - Sunday, September 6 - 7 - Hewitt, Passaic County
Civil War Living History Weekend and Candle Lantern Tour
Children Friendly

The Friends of Long Pond Ironworks is sponsoring a Civil War Living History Weekend and Candle Lantern Tours this Saturday and Sunday. The site will be open on Saturday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. There is no formal charge for admission, but donations will be accepted.

On Saturday evening, there will be a candle lantern tour of Long Pond Ironworks at 8:30 pm. Children under 12 years of age will not be admitted. Walk through the historic village by candle light: witness vignettes of civil war era life and be treated to a performance by the 6th NH Contra Band at the furnaces. Advance registration is required as space is limited. Tickets are $10/adult and $5/child. Event held rain or shine.

To make reservations for the lantern tour, call 973-657-1688 and please leave your name, tour time, number of tickets, and telephone number. They will confirm your reservation. Long Pond Ironworks is located at 1334 Greenwood Lake Turnpike, Hewitt, NJ. www.longpondironworks.org

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Saturday - Sunday, September 6 - 7 - Cape May, Cape May County
Revolutionary War Encampment
Children Friendly

Authentically clad and equipped Continental, Loyalist and Hessian reenactors bring the American Revolution to life on the grounds of Historic Cold Spring Village on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am - 4:30 pm. At the Village’s annual Revolutionary War Encampment, visitors can see demonstrations of drills and equipment, with cannon firing at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm both days of the event. Civilian reenactors will also demonstrate the role played by typical Americans of the period in supporting the army. New for 2014, children can participate in a militia muster at 12:00 noon at the Dennisville Inn and search the Village for clues in the Cold Spring Patriot Spy game on both Saturday and Sunday.

Historian Mike Kochan will be in the dining room of the Dennisville Inn in character as Benjamin Franklin demonstrating some of Franklin’s famous inventions and experiments. Local historian and Village interpreter, Hank Heacock, will give a presentation both days at 12:30 pm at the gazebo on Cape May County soldiers who served in the Revolution. HCSV Deputy Director for Education and Interpretation, Jim Stephens, will also give a special presentation, "The Story of Old Glory," a fascinating look at the origins and history of our nation’s flag, at 2:00 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Historic Cold Spring Village is a non-profit, open-air living history museum that portrays the daily life of a rural South Jersey community of the Early American period. It features 26 restored historic structures on a 30-acre site. From late June to early September, interpreters and artisans in period clothing preserve the trades, crafts and heritage of “the age of homespun.”

Historic Cold Spring Village is located at 720 Route 9, three miles north of Cape May City and four miles south of Rio Grande. Admission during the season is $10 for adults and $8 for children ages 3 to 12. Children under 3 are admitted free. Unlimited free admission is available with Village membership. As a member of the national Blue Star Museums program, Historic Cold Spring Village is proud to offer free admission to active duty military personnel and up to 5 family members. The Village Nature Trail at Bradner's Run is open to the public for free self-guided tours. For more information, call 609-898-2300, ext. 18 or visit www.hcsv.org.

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Saturday - Sunday, September 6 - 7 - Morristown, Morris County
People of the Continental Army
Children Friendly

Visit Continental soldiers and others who worked with and for the army. Hear what they have to say about army life, their duties, equipment and experiences in the Continental Army. They will be at the Soldier Huts in Jockey Hollow, within Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, NJ from 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm. Cost: Free. For more information, call 973-543-4030 or visit www.nps.gov/morr.

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Saturday - Sunday, September 6 - 7 - Upper Freehold, Monmouth County
Games Galore
Children Friendly

From the game of graces to croquet, the staff at Historic Walnford will have an array of historical activities, both physical and mental, to keep visitors of all ages and abilities entertained.

While there, visit the large, elegant Walnford home built in 1774, the 19th century gristmill and the farm buildings set in a beautiful landscape. Admission is free. Walnford is located at 62 Walnford Road, Upper Freehold, NJ. For more information, call 609-259-6275 or visit www.monmouthcountyparks.com.

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Saturday - Sunday, September 6 - 7 - Belvidere, Warren County
Belvidere Victorian Days
Children Friendly

The Victorian Days Committee presents the 27th Belvidere Victorian Days on Saturday from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm and on Sunday from 11:30 am - 5:00 pm. Belvidere Victorian Days is a celebration of our town's Victorian heritage. With over 200 historical homes and sites, spend the day realizing the ambiance of yesteryear.

Come join the festivities which include live musical entertainment, over 100 antique, craft, and food vendors, an antique/vintage car show, antique military vehicles, lace and quilting demonstrations, Civil War and Victorian reenactors, Victorian era demonstrations, a vintage baseball game, and much more!

You will delight in strolling through a quaint town that evokes memories of a bygone era. Victorian Days takes place rain or shine. For more information, visit www.victorianbelvidere.com.

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Sunday, September 7 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Pleasant Valley Schoolhouse Tour
Children Friendly

Walking tours of the historic Pleasant Valley Schoolhouse and school yard will be offered at Howell Farm on Sunday at 1:00 and 2:30 pm. Historian Larry Kidder of Ewing will lead the tours, which will take visitors along the route traveled by children who lived at Howell Farm a century ago…on their way to District School Number 1.

The tour will include a peek inside a furnished classroom as well as an examination of the remaining concrete walkways, outhouse foundation, well and pump location, flag pole, and playground. Visitors will also see how material from part of the schoolhouse was recycled and incorporated into buildings constructed for a family poultry farm that operated on the site after the school closed in 1938. 

On their way to and from school, visitors will learn about the building’s history as a school, community center, and private home before its acquisition by Mercer County in 2003, for use in Howell Farm’s interpretive programs.    

During the tour, visitors will be invited to enjoy lemonade and cookies on the porch of the schoolhouse and learn about the community that once surrounded the present-day Howell Farm.

Howell Living History Farm represents typical farm life between 1890 and 1910. The farm is operated by the Mercer County Parks Commission. It is located at 70 Wooden's Lane, Lambertville, NJ. For more information. call 609-737-3299 or visit www.howellfarm.com.

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Sunday, September 7 through November 2014 - Ocean Township, Monmouth County
New Exhibit - The Story of the Morro Castle
Children Friendly

On Saturday, September 8, 1934, the burning hulk of the disabled luxury liner Morro Castle broke free of its towline and drifted dangerously near Convention Hall to run aground just yards off the Asbury Park beachfront.  The tragedy (at the time the worst in U.S. merchant marine history) made national headlines. It turned local lifesavers into heroes and Asbury into a sightseeing mecca for the next six months.

Eighty years later, the Township of Ocean Historical Museum, located in the Eden Woolley House at the Ocean Township Library complex on Deal Road, opens a mini-exhibit remembering  the Morro Castle.  The highlight of the September 7 opening is a dramatization of a radio interview with fictional Morro Castle survivor Ellen Van Brunt. Imagining a WCAP ("City of Asbury Park") broadcast from Convention Hall, the performance, scheduled for 1:30 pm and repeated at 3:00 pm, brings events to life.

Visit the Eden Woolley House through November to learn the full story of this tragedy. The exhibit will be up through the end of November.

The Township of Ocean Historical Museum is located in the Eden Woolley House, one of the few 18th century structures still in existence in Ocean Township and is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (1:00 - 4:00 pm), Thursday evenings (7:00 - 9:00 pm), and the first and second Sundays of each month (1:00 pm - 4:00 pm). The Museum is located at 703 Deal Road, Ocean, NJ. For more information, call 732-531-2136 or visit www.oceanmuseum.org.

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Sunday, September 7 - Eatontown, Monmouth County
Preserving a Slice of Shore History

The Eatontown Historical Museum & Eatontown Public Library present a FREE Native American program entitled, "Indian Ike: A Slice of Shore History," with Claire Thomas Garland on Sunday at 2:00 pm at the Eatontown Public Library, 33 Broad Street, Eatontown, NJ. The Richardson and Revey families are part of the history of Eatontown and were part of the community for two hundred years. By telling the story of Indian Ike we take a look at life at the shore during the early 1800s.

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Sunday, September 7 - Jefferson Township, Morris County
Open House
Children Friendly

The Jefferson Township Museum, also known as the George Chamberlin House, will have an  open house on Sunday from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. This month's exhibit will continue the theme "Little House in the Valley" with an emphasis on the parallels between the two families of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the  Chamberlains. Also featured will be an exhibit of vintage tools. Costumed docents will give tours of the museum. Admission is free.

The Jefferson Township Museum is located at 315 Dover-Milton Road, Jefferson Township, NJ. Visit Miss Elizabeth's Shoppe located in the original kitchen of the museum, where small antiques, collectibles, handmade, handcrafted and seasonal items will be offered for sale. For further information, call 973-208-8601 or visit www.jthistoricalsociety.org.

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Sunday, September 7 - Morristown, Morris County
Colonial Games
Children Friendly

Have old-fashioned fun with games played by the soldiers and the Wick family. Try your hand at nine-pins, quoits, trap-ball, nine-man morris, fox  and geese and other 18th century games. The event will run continuously from 11:00 am - 12:00 noon and 1:30 - 3:30 pm at the Wick House at Jockey Hollow within Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, NJ. Cost: Free. For more information, call 973-543-4030 or visit www.nps.gov/morr.

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Sunday, September 7 - Whippany, Morris County
Excursion Train Rides
Children Friendly

Spend Sunday at the Whippany Railway Museum on a 10-mile, 45-minute round trip excursion from Whippany to Roseland on a mid-1900s Excursion Train. The combined age of the equipment used on the vintage train is an astounding 635 years! Be on the lookout for deer, turtles, wild turkeys, hawks, and rabbits, as the route takes you past a natural swamp with abundant wildlife. Trains depart at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 pm from 1 Railroad Plaza at the Intersection of Route 10 West & Whippany Road in Whippany, NJ. Train fare is: Adult: $14; child (under 12): $9; infants (1 year and under): Free. Train Fare includes admission to Whippany Railway Museum Building.  The "Excursion Train Ride" is a fundraising effort to benefit the Whippany Railway Museum, a 501(c)3 non-profit Operating Heritage Railroad that is staffed by Volunteers. Donations from the public help to keep the Museum operational, but funds are still required to support this unique New Jersey treasure. Proceeds from the train rides will further enhance the Museum's mission and its Historic Preservation efforts. For more information, call 973-887-8177 or visit www.whippanyrailwaymuseum.net.

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Sunday, September 7 - Westampton, Burlington County
Migrant Farmers in Southern New Jersey

The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of New Jersey will host Professor James Judge of Burlington County College on Sunday who will give an in-depth account of migrant farmers during colonial times. He will touch upon what caused so many to migrate to New Jersey, their living conditions, work ethic and their attempts to become land owners.

The program takes place at Peachfield, the Headquarters of NSCDA-NJ, located at 180 Burrs Road, Westampton, NJ. Admission to this event is $5 per person; Friends of Peachfield admitted free of charge. Reservations in advance are strongly recommended as seating is limited. For more information and to register, call 609-267-6996 or e-mailcolonialdamesnj@comcast.net.

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Sunday, September 7 - Atlantic Highlands, Monmouth County
Book Release and Author Signing

Stop by the Strauss Mansion in the Atlantic Highlands on Sunday anytime between 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm for the release of their latest publication, Ghost Hunting Confidential: Investigating Strauss Mansion! The book delves into the "haunted history" of the historic Strauss Mansion, including actual paranormal investigation reports, ghost stories, and information on the hobby in general. Author Greg Caggiano will be on-hand to sign copies, which sell for $10 each in paperback. Longtime board member Lou Fligor contributed a foreword on the history of the house, built in 1893. 100% of the proceeds go to Atlantic Highlands Historical Society. If time allows, Greg and his team can show visitors some of the paranormal hot-spots located around the house. The Strauss Mansion is located at 27 Prospect Circle, Atlantic Highlands, NJ. For more information, call 732-291-1861 or visit www.ahhistory.org.

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Sunday, September 7 - Lambertville, Hunterdon County
Lambertville Historical Society Monthly Walking Tours

The Lambertville Historical Society will offer a guided walking tour (approximately 60 - 75 minutes) on the first Sunday of each month through October. The tour begins at the James Marshall House, 60 Bridge Street, Lambertville at 2:00 PM.  The tour is free but donations are welcomed. For more information, call 609-397-0770 or e-mail info@lambertvillehistoricalsociety.org.

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Sunday, September 7 - South River, Middlesex County
Open House

Stop by the South River Historical & Preservation Society on Sunday from 1:30 - 3:30 pm and view exhibits on all aspects of Borough history including: schools; churches and houses of worship; local businesses and organizations; daily life; events and celebrations; and more. While you are there, see the cemetery located behind the building, ask questions, drop off donations, or exchange hometown stories with the docents. The museum is located at 64-66 Main Street, South River. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~njsrhps/museum.html

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Sunday, September 7 - Matawan, Monmouth County
Open House

The Matawan Historical Society will holding an open house on Sunday from 2:00 - 4:00 pm at the Burrowes Mansion located at 94 Main Street, Matawan, NJ. Learn how this circa 1723 home and its owners played a role in the Revolutionary War. There is a suggested donation of $5.00 per person. For more information call 732-492-6069 or visit www.burrowesmansion.org.

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Saturdays and Sundays Through October 2014 - Ringwood, Passaic County
Grounds and Garden Tour

Did you ever wonder what all that “stuff” is placed around the grounds at Ringwood Manor? What about all those other buildings on the property? What were they used for? If you have ever been curious about the estate at Ringwood Manor, this tour is for you! The 2 hour guided walking tour will take visitors around the main property at Ringwood Manor, discussing the historic objects, the planned gardens & landscape features, the out-buildings, and the cemetery. Historic photographs of the property will also be shown. These free tours meet at 2:00 pm in front of Ringwood Manor every Saturday and Sunday from June - October. It is advised that participants wear walking or hiking shoes, dress appropriately for the weather, and bring bug spray and sun block. Steady Rain cancels. No reservations necessary. For more information and to call ahead to confirm a tour, call 973-962-2240. Ringwood Manor is located at 1304 Sloatsburg Road, Ringwood, NJ, within Ringwood State Park. For more information, visit www.ringwoodmanor.org.

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Through Sunday, September 14, 2014 - Princeton, Mercer County
Micah Williams: Portrait Artist Exhibition

Traveling portrait artist and New Jersey resident Micah Williams (1782 - 1837) was a prolific artist who has 272 known existing works. His works are represented in many major museums and are highly sought after by folk art collectors. Yet, there has never been an exhibition dedicated solely to the work of Micah Williams. "Micah Williams: Portrait Artist," on loan to Morven from the Monmouth County Historical Association, tells a story about the new America of the 19th century. With over 40 portraits on view, visitors can come face-to-face with the state's nineteenth century farmers, orchard growers, militia officers, politicians, silversmiths, potters, carpenters, and their families.

The exhibition will also debut Morven's newest acquisition: a pastel portrait of Commodore Robert Field Stockton (1795-1866) completed by Micah Williams around 1821. Stockton was a third-generation resident of Morven, head the Pacific Fleet and a U.S. Senator. With this exhibition, the portrait makes its return to the walls at Morven. "Micah Williams: Portrait Artist" exhibition will be on display at Morven through September 14, 2014.

Morven Museum & Garden is a museum and public garden located at 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ. A National Historic Landmark, Morven was the home to Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the former Governor's mansion of New Jersey. Public Hours: Wednesday - Friday 11:00 am - 3:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm. For more information, call 609-924-8144 or visit www.morven.org.

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Through September 20, 2014 - Orange, Essex County
Looking at the Age of Edison Through the Witness Trees of Glenmont
Children Friendly

A joint program of the Rhode Island School of Design (RSID), the National Park Service (Witness Tree Project), and ValleyArts, this exhibition entitled "Transformed: Looking at the Age of Edison Through the Witness Trees of Glenmont" will be on display at the ValleyArts Firehouse Gallery, 580 Forest Street, Orange NJ from Thursday, August 28 through Sunday, September 21, 2014. Historic Trees, felled by Hurricane Sandy at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, have been transformed by RISD students into objects of art that entice viewers to think more deeply about history. The Gallery is open Thursdays 5:00 - 7:30 pm; Saturdays 10:00 am - 4:00 pm; Sundays 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm and by appointment.  Admission is free. For more information, call 973-736-0550 ext. 50.

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Through Sunday, October 5, 2014 - Paterson, Passaic County
The History of the Silk City Diner Company of Paterson Exhibit

On exhibit through Sunday October 5, 2014 in Lambert Castle, home of the Passaic County Historical Society, view "Pancakes, Patties, and Pies...the History of the Silk City Diner Company of Paterson." The humble origin of American diners can be traced back to 1872. Since then, diners have evolved to become an iconic representation of the American lifestyle. This type of dining, with its comfort foods, distinct architecture, and unique aesthetics has captivated the appetites and imaginations of generations. In this exhibit, learn how the Paterson Vehicle Company contributed to this phenomenon with their  Silk City Diners. Exhibit co-curated by Clifton native and author Michael Gabriele. Visitors can access the exhibition during regular museum hours (Wednesday-Sunday). General museum admissions apply.

Admission: Adults $5.00, Senior Citizens (65+) $4.00, Children ages 5-17 $3.00, and children under age 5 and members of the Historical Society are free. Lambert Castle is located at 3 Valley Road, Paterson, NJ. For more information, call 973-247-0085 or visit www.lambertcastle.org.

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Through Sunday, October 12, 2014 - Trenton, Mercer County
"Before There Was Trenton" Exhibit

This year New Jersey observes the 350th Anniversary of its political establishment in 1664. To commemorate the event, the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park is hosting a display of items related to the mid-1600s - before there was a place called Trent's-town. "Before There Was Trenton," on view through October 12, 2014 is curated by Trenton Museum Society Trustee David Bosted and son Nicholas Bosted. A formal lecture, "Before There Was Trenton" will be given by the curators on Sunday October 12, at 2:00 pm, on the last day of the display. 

Prior to 1664, New Netherland was a colony founded by the Dutch on the east coast of North America. The Dutch colony extended from Hartford, CT in the east to Albany, New York, in the north to Delaware in the south, encompassing parts of what are now the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and Delaware. The New Netherland colony included three major Rivers: Nord (North River, now the Hudson River), Sud (South River, now the Delaware River) and the Versche (Fresh) River (now the Connecticut River). The English wrested control of the colony from the Dutch in 1664, turning its capital, New Amsterdam, into New York City.

The Dutch colonial efforts were mostly directed toward trade with Native Americans. However, their permanent settlements in some cases caused conflict with native peoples as well as with several other European powers, especially England, Sweden and France. 

Beaver pelts were especially sought after for the fur trade. Marten, fox, otter and mink were also bartered.  In 1624 (the year New Amsterdam was first settled), Dutch settlers shipped 1,500 beaver and 500 otter skins to Europe. Thereafter, the fur trade grew enormously under the Dutch. Fort Orange (now Albany) and New Amsterdam (now New York City) were the centers of the fur trade, reaching deep into the Lenni Lenape and Mohawk tribal territory, and promoting contact between the Dutch and the Native peoples.

"Before There Was Trenton" recalls that early period of exploration, contact and settlement. Among the items on display are items highly valued in the fur trade: hand-forged trade axes, knives and other metal tools; easily transportable and popular trading commodities like the red "white heart" glass trade beads made in Venice; objects reflecting Dutch nautical exploration and the fur trade; and Lenni Lenape stone tools from the Delaware Valley as well as early agricultural items. Tobacco, another highly desirable trade commodity, is represented in the display by early tobacco pipes. Because tobacco was so expensive, the 17th century pipe bowls were small, holding only a pinch of tobacco.

The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie is located in Cadwalader Park in Trenton, NJ. For more information about the exhibit or the talk, call 609-989-1191, e-mail tms@ellarslie.org, or visit www.ellarslie.org.

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Through October 31, 2014 - Plainfield, Union County
The Charles H. Detwiller, Jr. Architectural Drawings Collection, 1887-2002

The Plainfield Public Library announces a new exhibition in honor of New Jersey's 350th anniversary celebration. The library is displaying never-before seen examples from its collection of historical blueprints that date back to 1887. The 70-piece exhibit consists of wall exhibits and display cases on both levels of the library. The featured blueprints represent thirty-five different sets of drawings by 24 architects. The oldest drawing on exhibit is of the Plainfield Golf Club dating from 1896.

The Charles H. Detwiller, Jr. Architectural Drawings Collection contains over 16,000 sets of drawings, documenting over a century of residential and commercial architecture in the greater Plainfield area. This collection of blueprints that document the growth of a suburban community is unique in the United States.

Over 500 architects are represented, including African-American architect George Ernest Robinson, who was a nationally known architect in firehouse design. Plainfield's Fire Headquarters building, designed by him in 1925, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Preservation of the aging documents began by the library in 1998. The processing of the collection is still ongoing. The cost of microfilming, digitization, and cataloging is entirely supported through grant funding and volunteer assistance. Major funders include The Institute for Museum and Library Services; The New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State; the Plainfield Foundation; and the Friends of the Plainfield Public Library.

The exhibition will run through October 2014 and is free to the public. The Plainfield Public Library is located at 800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ. For more information, call 908-757-1111 or visit www.plainfieldlibrary.info.

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Through October 31, 2014 - Trenton, Mercer County
Trenton's Old Barracks Museum Shows Iron Art

The Old Barracks Museum will feature the sculpture of AbOminOg Intl. Arts Collective in an exhibit entitled "Founding the Future: A Continuum of Iron Casting in Trenton with AbOminOg Intl. Arts Collective." The exhibit will run from April 26 to October 31, 2014.

The Old Barracks Museum is pleased to feature the metal sculpture of members of one of Trenton's illustrious artist collectives in an exhibit entitled, "Founding the Future: A Continuum of Iron Casting in Trenton with AbOminOg Intl. Arts Collective." Exhibiting artists include Kate Graves, Aylin Green, Bruce Lindsay, Rory Mahon, Steve Morse, Joanna Platt, Matt Reiley, David  Robinson and Scot Thompson.

This outdoor exhibit is part of the statewide celebrations of the 350th anniversary of the founding of New Jersey by representing the connection between the history that the Old Barracks Museum interprets and AbOminOg Intl.'s focus on the revolutionary industrial material of iron. As the first art installation at the Old Barracks, it will allow the visiting public a new perspective on the relationship between the past and the present in the formation of the future.

The Old Barracks Museum is adjacent to Petty's Run, site of the only excavated Colonial steel furnace in America. Trenton's history of industry, manufacturing and self-reliance is reflected in the AbOminOg Intl. model of collaboration through sweat equity, upcycling crushed iron scrap into sculpture. The essence of the artist collective's cause- to teach and facilitate artists of diverse backgrounds, age groups and skill levels in the creation of cast-metal sculptural artworks within an inspiring, supportive and sustainable setting while positively affecting the community and the art world at large- has remained the same since their inaugural iron pour in a Trenton backyard on December 31, 1999. The Old Barracks Museum is located at 101 Barracks Street, Trenton, NJ. For more information, call 609-396-1776 or visit www.barracks.org.

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Through December 29, 2014 - Woodbury, Gloucester County
Be Prepared:  Scouts of Yesteryear
Children Friendly

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have been a tradition in America for over a century. The Gloucester County Historical Society Museum is presenting a remarkable exhibit with scouting artifacts from over the decades. Numerous uniforms, merit badges, equipment, manuals, and accessories from the 1930’s on are on display.  

The Gloucester County Historical Society Museum hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays from 1:00 - 4:00 pm and the last Sunday of the month from 2:00 - 5:00 pm. Adult admission $5; children 6-18 years $1; children under 6 free. The Gloucester County Historical Society Museum is located at 58 North Broad Street, Woodbury, NJ. For more information, call 856-848-8531 or visit www.rootsweb.com/~njgchs.

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Through February 13, 2015 - Madison, Morris County
The American Revolution in New Jersey
Children Friendly

New Jersey spent much of the American Revolution as a theater of war. A new exhibit at the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, "The American Revolution in New Jersey: Where the Battlefront Meets the Homefront," explores the rarely told story of New Jersey's farmers, women, and tradesmen and their actions during the war. Topics discussed include the local civil wars that erupted between revolutionaries and loyalists, the multiple roles that women took on as their men went off to war, and how civilian life was affected by the regular presence of troops. The exhibit will be open until February 13, 2015. 

Regular Museum admission is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors, students & children (ages 6 and older), and free for members and children under 6. Family maximum admission $13.00. The Museum is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm and Sunday from 12:00 noon - 5:00 pm. The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts is located at 9 Main Street in Madison, NJ just two blocks from the Madison train station. For more information, please call 973-377-2982 x10 or visit www.metc.org.

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1st and 2nd Sundays through June 2015 - Ocean Township, Monmouth County
The History of Houses and the Things That Make Them Home

Since prehistoric times, where we live has been about much more than shelter (think of those cave paintings). A new exhibit explores just how our human instinct to nest has played out in the structures we inhabit and the stuff we put in them. "The History of Houses and the Things that Make Them Home" is on display in the Richmond Gallery of the Eden Woolley House / Township of Ocean Historical Museum.

The exhibit examines the influences on the design and content of the American home - from the traditions early settlers brought with them, to the availability of materials, to the transforming power of technology. It takes guests on a virtual house tour, revealing room by room how things have changed and how those changes have shaped our lives.

What is home? It's where the heart is and there's no place like it. Beyond shelter, our homes express our tastes, values, and social status. Our neighborhoods abound with homes that illustrate the point, and the new exhibit asks us to see our familiar surroundings in a new light. It reveals the lineage of familiar house styles--colonial, neoclassical, Victorian, and modern, for example. It explains that the colonists of the new world built houses in the style of the old. That the founding fathers, all men of the Enlightenment, adapted the designs of Greeks and Romans whose rationality they admired. That the clutter and ornamentation of the Victorians expressed their fascination with goods made possible by the Industrial Revolution and made available by the railroads. And that twentieth century architects rejected Victorian fussiness in favor of designs that challenged old assumptions and took advantage of new technologies and building techniques.

House design is just the beginning. The exhibit takes us inside, room by room. For all but the rich, our earliest homes were one-room dwellings. The very concept of a single-purpose room (living, dining, bathing, etc.) is relatively new. And even in early multiple-room houses, people moved from room to room more in pursuit of sunlight and warmth than specific activity. In effect, all rooms were "living rooms."

Revolutionary new technologies - indoor plumbing, central heating, and electric light, in particular - made room specialization practical. The bathroom, bedchamber, dining room, library, and parlor emerged as distinct spaces in ways that both reflect and influence life style.

Take the living room (aka parlor, drawing room, sitting room, and salon). It has come full circle. As parlor, it was a room often reserved to receive visitors. In time, it became the place where the family "withdrew" to gather around the piano - later the radio and then television. Today, the "great room" has assumed that role and in many homes, the living room is again a more formal space reserved for entertaining guests.

The exhibit makes that case that every house has a story, every room has a history. "The History of Houses and the Things that Make Them Home" will be up through June 2015. The Township of Ocean Historical Museum is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (1:00 - 4:00 pm), Thursday evenings (7:00 - 9:00 pm) and the first and second Sundays of each month (1:00 - 4:00 pm). The Township of Ocean Historical Museum is located at 703 Deal Road, Ocean, NJ. For more information, please call 732-531-2136 or visit www.oceanmuseum.org.

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Some event listings courtesy of the League of Historical Societies of New Jersey

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