Friday, November 28, 2014

Weekend Historical Happenings: 11/29/14 - 11/30/14

NJ WEEKEND HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS
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Every Friday - Sunday through January 4, 2015 - West Orange, Essex County
Holidays at Glenmont
Children Friendly

The sights and sounds of the season will greet visitors when they come to Thomas Edison's home in Llewellyn Park during "Holidays at Glenmont." Glenmont will be decorated much as it was while the Edison family lived there. Greenery and red poinsettias will deck the mantles above the fireplaces. Staircases will be ringed with boughs and red ribbon bows and wreaths will hang in every window. In the den, the majestic ten foot tree will be set and the presents underneath will be waiting as if the Edison children Madeleine, Theodore, and Charles, will soon come running down the stairs from their rooms - after they've checked their stockings in the upstairs living room! Family china will be displayed on the dining room table and the scene will be completed with holiday cards that were received by the family.

The Edison home, Glenmont, is located on a fifteen-acre estate in Llewellyn Park, the country's first private residential community. Built in 1880, the twenty-nine room mansion contains the original furnishings and family items used by the Edisons. The estate grounds include gardens, a greenhouse, barn, and the poured concrete garage containing the family's automobiles. Thomas and Mina Edison are buried on the grounds of the estate.

Car passes and tour tickets must be purchased at the Laboratory Complex Visitor Center at 211 Main Street, West Orange, NJ. Admission is $7.00 and includes the Glenmont Estate and the Laboratory Complex. Children 15 and under are free. For more information, call 973-736-0550 x11 or visit www.nps.gov/edis.

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Friday - Saturday, November 28 - 29 - Union Township, Union County
Deck the Halls: Fifty Years of Christmas Decorations
Children Friendly

Liberty Hall Museum will be open for tours on Friday and Saturday! Opening on Friday will be the Christmas tour "Deck the Halls: Fifty Years of Christmas Decorations," when Liberty Hall will transform the first floor of the museum into a time machine where visitors will journey through five rooms to discover the decorative styles of bygone eras, the 1910’s through the 1950’s! Tours start at 10:00 am and leave every hour with the last tour of the day leaving at 3:00 pm. Adults: $10.00; Kean Alumni: $8.00; Seniors, College Students, Children: $6.00; Under Three: Free. Liberty Hall Museum is located at 1003 Morris Ave, Union, NJ 07083. For more information, call 908-527-0400 or visit www.kean.edu/libertyhall.

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Saturday, November 29 - West Orange, Essex County
Alternate Technologies and their Ties to Thomas Edison & the West Orange Labs
Children Friendly

Many folks consider Thomas Edison an early and staunch supporter of alternate technologies. Hear Harry Roman discuss the different aspects of alternate technologies and Edison's involvement in them. Lots of really cool and useful facts are to be had. And Harry always brings along toys and stuff from his basement workshop to see and touch! Join the fun.

Harry Roman, volunteer and Edison Innovation Foundation author and advisor, is a retired engineer from PSE&G where he created and managed that company's solar and alternate energy programs from 1975 through 2006 when he retired. This program will be held from 1:00 - 4:00 pm at the Laboratory Complex at Thomas Edison National Historical Park, 211 Main Street, West Orange, NJ. Admission is $7.00 and includes the Glenmont Estate and the Laboratory Complex. Children 15 and under are free. For more information, call 973-736-0550 x11 or visit www.nps.gov/edis.

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Saturday, November 29 - Mount Holly, Burlington County
Ghosts of Burlington County
Children Friendly

On Saturday at 1:00 pm, author Jan Lynn Bastien will discuss her new book about the legendary ethereal inhabitants of the South Jersey netherworld and the haunted history of sites such as the Barclay Haines Homestead, the Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences, and the Keystone Watch Case Tower at the haunted Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences. Bring your own story!

Jan Lynn Bastien is a freelance writer living in Mount Holly, New Jersey, the very haunted county seat of a very haunted county. Upon finding out about the lingering spirits in her hometown, Jan organized popular ghost tours, which led to her first book, The Ghosts of Mount Holly: A History of Haunted Happenings. She feels that the ghosts do a good job of telling people about this unique and history-rich area, but the real reason they hang around is because it is such a great place to be-they just hate to leave!

This program is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. The Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences is located at 307 High Street, Mount Holly, NJ. To register, call 609-267-7111.

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Saturday, November 29 - Morristown, Morris County
Neighbor’s Tour: Washington Slept Here (and so do I!)

This behind-the-scenes tour is especially for people from the greater Morristown area. Learn basics about the history of the site, how the park was established and is managed, and why people come from all over the world to see a corner of the world that you call home. Space is limited to 20 people, first-come, first served, and reservations are not accepted. Tour from 10:00 - 10:45 am at the Ford Mansion within Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, NJ. Cost: $4 per adult. For more information, call 973-539-2016 ext. 210 or visit www.nps.gov/morr.

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Saturday, November 29 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Thanksgiving Hayrides/Wreath & Sleighbell Sale
Children Friendly

On Saturday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, sleigh bells will ring when Howell Living History Farm holds its annual Thanksgiving program featuring free horse drawn hayrides, a wreath and sleigh bell sale, and a special children's craft program.

Horse drawn hayrides (or sleigh rides!) will be offered throughout the day. There is no charge for the rides, but everyone is encouraged to bring a non-perishable food stuff to donate to local area food banks as a thank you for the wagon ride. Monetary donations to the food bank are also welcome.

Sleighbells will be sold throughout the day by The Friends of Howell Farm to benefit the Farm's restoration projects. The bells are made by harness maker Mervin Martin, who makes the harnesses and sleigh bells worn by the Farm's workhorses. Brass and nickel plated bells will be sold in straps of six, twelve, and twenty bells. Reproduction cast bells, bell door ringers and bell ornaments will also be available.

Other holiday items featured at the annual fundraiser include fresh evergreen wreaths and door hangings; baskets of the Farm's flour, honey and maple syrup; and beautiful handmade items sewn by the Pleasant Valley Stitchers.

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, November 29 - 30 - Alpine, Bergen County
After-The-Holiday Open House
Children Friendly

Stop by for “Thanksgiving Time” at Mrs. Kearney’s tavern, the annual after-the-holiday open house, 19th-century-style, at the Kearney House in Alpine, New Jersey on Saturday and Sunday. Free and open to all, sip hot cider by the fireside, there will be games and fun for kids, and music with Mr. MacGregor, all beginning around 1:00 pm, followed by a special reading aloud with Mr. Nelsen around 3:00 pm. Each day's events will conclude at 4:00 pm. Suggested donation of $5. The Kearney House is located at Alpine Boat Basin in Palisades Interstate Park, Alpine, NJ. For more information, call 201 768-1360 ext. 108 or visit www.njpalisades.org/kearney.html.

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Saturday - Sunday, November 29 - 30 - Bedminster, Somerset County
12th Annual Colonial Christmas
Children Friendly

Step back in time (to the winter of 1778-79) and visit Bedminster’s historic Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum on Saturday and Sunday when it opens its wreath-clad doors for the twelfth annual Colonial Christmas show house and tour for two consecutive weekends.

The fundraiser features: house tours, more than 20 vendors and artisans selling handmade items, Colonial holiday decorations, Colonial musicians and reenactors, Santa visits, and permanent exhibits - The Kitchen Hearth, The Vanderveer Parlor, The Knox Bedroom, and the Lumber Room. This year, a rare, authentic Revolutionary War drum, from a private New Jersey collector, is on loan to the Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum during Colonial Christmas.

Schedule of Events
Saturday, November 29               
10:00 am - 4:00 pm              
* House Tours
* Lambs Artillery Encampment featuring drilling, cannon firing, open fire cooking
* Holiday Shopping
* Colonial Re-Enactors
11:00 am - 1:00 pm   
* The Enslows perform Colonial American Christmas Music
1:00 - 3:00 pm                            
* Santa Visit

Sunday, November 30                 
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
* House Tours
* Holiday Shopping
· Colonial Re-enactors
1:00 - 3:00 pm
* Santa Visit
3:00 - 4:00 pm
* Harmonium Choral Group Performance

Admission is $10 (children 12 and under, free). Advance tickets may be purchased online: http://bit.ly/ZcKxQBThe house is open from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The Jacobus Vanderveer House is located at 3055 River Road (in Bedminster’s River Road Park), Bedminster, NJ. The entrance to the house is via River Road Park. For more information, call 908-396-6053 or visit www.jvanderveerhouse.org.

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Saturday - Sunday, November 29 - 30 - Montague, Sussex County
Old Fashioned Holiday Tours
Children Friendly

M.A.R.C.H. will kick off its free 2014 Old Fashioned Holiday Tours this year at the Foster-Armstrong House on Saturday from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Six specially decorated rooms will also be open on Saturday and Sunday, December 6-7, and Saturday and Sunday, December 13-14 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm.

See a wonderful display of dolls, toys, marbles, running model trains and decorated trees. Enjoy the warmth of the 220 year old Dutch Colonial House. Shop in their store for handcrafted gifts. The Foster-Armstrong House is located at 320 River Road / C.R. 521 in Montague, NJ, about 1 mile north of the Milford-Montague Bridge. For more information, visit www.montaguehistory.org.

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Saturdays and Sundays through January 4, 2015 - Princeton, Mercer County
Festival of Trees

Morven Museum and Garden's annual Festival of Trees has become a must-see Princeton holiday tradition. Enjoy the museum’s elegant galleries decorated for the holidays and adorned with trees artfully decorated by local businesses, garden clubs, and non-profit organizations.

This year’s Festival of Trees exhibitors include: Arts Council of Princeton, Barbara L. Mulea, Contemporary Garden Club, D & R Greenway Land Trust, Dogwood Garden Club of Princeton, Farmhouse Store, Garden Club of Princeton, Keris Tree Farm & Christmas Shop, LMG Design, McCarter Theatre Center, Stony Brook Garden Club, and Vicki Trainer.

No reservations necessary. Morven is open to the public on Wednesdays through Fridays from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm and Saturdays through Sundays from 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm.

Admission $6, $5 for Seniors, and special pricing for families during Festival of Trees, $15 per group. Friends of Morven, free. Please note that during the Festival of Trees in December and early January, no formal tours are given, but docents are available to answer any questions. Morven Museum and Garden is located at 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ. For more information, call 609-924-8144 or visit www.morven.org.

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Sunday, November 30, December 6 - 7 and 13 - 14 - Whippany, Morris County
23rd Annual Santa Claus Special
Children Friendly

New Jersey's Original Santa Claus Special celebrates its 23rd continuous year of operation in 2014. Celebrate the wonderful Christmastime spirit and joy with a ride on the Whippany Railway Museum's Santa Claus Special! Tickets for this annual Christmas tradition make great gifts for the kids and the entire family. The 10-mile, 45-minute round trip excursion from Whippany to Roseland and return allows passengers time to enjoy the festivities of the season and the merriment on the train. All of our past trips over the last 22 years have been complete sell-outs, and seeing the excited faces of the children as they climb aboard the Christmas holiday-decorated trains, ensures an afternoon for family fun. During each excursion, Santa makes his way through the train and visits with the children on-board. Santa's helpers follow along, giving the kids a special gift from Santa. Be sure to bring your camera and take pictures of the kids with Santa, so they can always remember their day on-board the train!

In addition to the regular coaches that make up the train, make your day extra special by purchasing limited tickets for a nostalgic Christmas ride aboard the museum's elegant 1927-era Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) Club Car, Jersey Coast. Specially decorated for the Christmas holidays in a pre-World War II style, the car has the warm look and feel of a private club with individual leather chairs, mahogany interior accented with stained glass, built-in tables and period ceiling fans. The Jersey Coast, recalls the 1930s when the CNJ operated its deluxe coach train, The Blue Comet, between Jersey City and Atlantic City, NJ. The striking, authentic exterior paint scheme of cream and blue reminds one of a comet streaking through space. It is the only car of its type operating in New Jersey.

So round up your family and friends and climb aboard for some great Christmastime fun and laughter! Ordering tickets is fast and easy! Trains depart at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 pm each day, rain, sleet, or shine. The Whippany Railroad is located at 1 Railroad Plaza, at the Intersection of Route 10 West & Whippany Road in Whippany, NJ. Train fare: Adults: $14.00, Children (under 12): $9.00, Infants (1 year and under): Free.

To order tickets and for more information, visit www.whippanyrailwaymuseum.net or call 973-887-8177. 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 further enhance the Museum's mission and its historic preservation efforts.

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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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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 1930s 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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Sundays through January 25, 2015 - Trenton, Mercer County
Form, Function and Fine: Two Hundred Years of American Ceramics

From teacups to chamber sets, New Jersey to California, the Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society presents a new exhibit, providing a sample of American ceramics from the 19th and 20th century. Redware, yellowware, spongeware, and salt glazed crocks will be displayed along with early Lenox and Trenton pottery. Roseville, Stangl, Pfaltzgraff and Homer Laughlin pieces are some of the other American ceramics featured. The exhibit will continue through January 25, 2015. Come to the table and join us on a Sunday afternoon from 1:00 - 4:00 pm to view this exhibit! The Cranbury Museum is located at 4 Park Place East, Cranbury, NJ. For more information, call 609-409-1289 or visit www.cranburyhistory.org.

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Saturdays through December 31, 2014 - Freehold, Monmouth County
Farm: Agriculture in Monmouth County 1600 - 2013 

Monmouth County Historical Association's newest exhibition, "Farm: Agriculture in Monmouth County 1600-2013," is open to the public at the museum in Freehold and will be on display through December 31, 2014. The history of agriculture and farming in Monmouth County has long roots deep in the past, as does New Jersey itself, from earliest days of pre-European settlement, when Lenape Indians harvested corn, squash, and beans to the modern reintroduction  of organic agricultural practices.

Monmouth County Historical Association's exhibition, "Farm: Agriculture in Monmouth County 1660 - 2013," explores and celebrates Monmouth County's vibrant agricultural past, present, and future. The exhibit examines the means by which Monmouth men and women worked with their surroundings to feed themselves, their families, the community, and the rest of America as well. Through artifacts, diaries, letters, maps, paintings, prints, and photographs, Farm will bring Monmouth's rich agricultural history alive. Visitors will appreciate the innovation and diversity of Monmouth farmers, horticulturalists, gardeners, and livestock breeders who overcame challenges and secured the county's reputation as a source of high-quality produce and livestock for more than two hundred years.

The Monmouth County Historical Association's museum is located at 70 Court Street, Freehold NJ. Regular admission to the museum is $5 and $2.50 for students and seniors. Admission is free for members. Museum hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. For more information, call 732-462-1466 or visit www.monmouthhistory.org.

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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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Through March 1, 2015 - Trenton, Mercer County
Ties That Bind: The Aprons of Trenton

The Trenton City Museum transports you to a time when apron strings tied the lives of the people of Trenton. "Ties that Bind: The Aprons of Trenton" runs from November 1, 2014 through March 1, 2014. The exhibit features aprons associated with church picnics, classroom art projects, the industrial workers who kept the city in business, and the homemakers who made holiday meals and memories for generations. The Trenton City Museum, Ellarslie, is located in Cadwalader Park, Trenton, NJ. For more information, call 609-989-3632 or visit www.ellarslie.org.

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Through March 1, 2015 - Trenton, Mercer County
Trenton Central High School: A Remembrance

On October 14, 2014, the Trenton Public Schools Board of Education voted to demolish Trenton Central High School. The New Jersey Schools Development Authority will fund the construction of a new $130 million high school for Trenton.

The Trenton Museum Society celebrates the soon-to-be-demolished building in an exhibit at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie through Sunday, March 1, 2015. The former high school building, opened in 1932, was an iconic structure that inspired and nurtured thousands of Trenton students over the past 82 years.

Designed by architect Ernest K. Sibley, construction of the school began in 1929 with the first classes occupying the building in January 1932.  It was built as a larger version of Trenton High School West, formerly Junior No. 3, out of red brick and composition stone trim in the colonial revival style, inspired by the historic background of the city. 

Many of the features that contributed to the unique beauty of the school were made in Trenton. The porcelain shades in the light fixtures in the auditorium were made by Lenox in Trenton. The brown faience tile lining the hallways was made by the Mueller Mosaic Tile Company of Trenton. Even the sanitary ware, such as sinks and toilets, were made by the Trenton-based Maddock pottery company.

The exhibit shows iconic artifacts from the school - a Maddock toilet, pedestal sink and water fountain, an original student desk that seats two students, one of the caged clocks from the gymnasium, wooden chairs used by students and teachers, and hallway light fixtures. The school board is loaning two large portraits of the first two principals of the school - William A. Wetzel and Paul R. Spencer, and a large aerial picture of the school.

Early yearbooks from the 1930s and 1940s show the school façade and interior. Artifacts used in the school are on display, such as scientific instruments, silverware, china, kitchen utensils, and a display cabinet with partial skeleton used in science classes.

The two cornerstones of the building from 1929 and 1956 were opened at Trenton High School's Homecoming football game on October 25. No one knew what was inside. The contents of the cornerstones will be lent to the museum and displayed in the exhibit.

In the lobby were four spectacular murals created and installed in the high school in 1941 by an artist who worked for the WPA Federal Arts Project, Monty Lewis, entitled Youth Carrying the Heritage of Arts from the Past into the Future. The Trenton School Board has pledged to save these priceless pieces of art. Photographs of them are included in the exhibit.

The Trenton Museum Society invites graduates, teachers and administrators from the school, historic preservationists, and those interested in Trenton's history to attend the exhibit. The Trenton City Museum, Ellarslie, is located in Cadwalader Park, Trenton, NJ. For more information, call 609-989-3632 or visit www.ellarslie.org.

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Through March 29, 2015 - Princeton, Mercer County
Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860

This landmark exhibition will be the first to focus on the important contribution of New Jersey in the creation of schoolgirl needlework in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. With over 150 works on view, this exhibition will undertake the first survey of schoolgirl needlework completed in the state or by New Jersey girls prior to 1860. This exhibition and accompanying catalogue will create a lasting record of the best known examples. As part of the museum’s mission to showcase the cultural heritage of the Garden State, the curators will bring new light to the needlework done in New Jersey during this important period of American history.

Organized geographically, the exhibition will feature works from every region of the state. Although many elaborate and important examples of New Jersey needlework will be featured in the exhibition, the curators have also included more modest examples that highlight other aspects of the educational environment, social class and familial situation experienced by young girls in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In some cases, the exhibit will reunite, for the first time, needlework created by the same girl; sisters; cousins; schoolmates and other close relations.

The exhibition will feature loans from across the country including needlework completed in every New Jersey County (accounting for the numerous re-organizations of New Jersey counties in the nineteenth century). In presenting examples from every part of the state, the exhibition will distill the educational environment that existed in New Jersey from Cape May to Sussex. The exhibition will also compile an accurate picture of girls academies and the instructresses who taught at them.

The exhibition will occupy 1,709 square feet in five galleries within the second floor of the Morven mansion. This exhibition also coincides with the 350th anniversary of New Jersey and extensive state-wide celebration and programming.

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from a needlework stitched by Trenton-born Anne Rickey (1783-1846) “Hail Specimen of Female Art” was stitched onto her sampler in 1798. Anne Rickey was the daughter of Quaker merchant, John Rickey (1751-1829) and his wife Amey Olden (1757-1849).

Morven Museum and Garden is located at 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ. For more information, call 609-924-8144 or visit www.morven.org.

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Through May 1, 2015 - Toms River, Ocean County
Fishing in the Good Old Days

The Ocean County Historical Society, invites you to view their new exhibit entitled, "Hook, Line and Sinker: History of Fishing in Ocean County up to 1950", which features the collections of members Richard Updike and Ferd Klebold. The exhibit takes visitors back to the days of pound fishing, frost fishing, clamming, eeling, and whaling with photos and artifacts used in the fishing industry along the Jersey Coast. A hand-forged clam rake, the white oak eel pot that used horseshoe crabs for bait, a whale vertebra found in the surf in Ocean County, early reels, and photos galore of fishermen and their catches are just some of the treasures you will find in this exhibit. Winter or summer, Ocean County fishermen braved the elements to harvest nature's bounty from the Atlantic Ocean, Barnegat Bay, and numerous rivers. Visit OCHS Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 am - 3:30 pm and the first Saturday of each month from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. The Ocean County Historical Society is located at 26 Hadley Avenue, Toms River, NJ. For more information, visit www.oceancountyhistory.org or call 732-341-1880.

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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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Through July 2015 - Morristown, Morris County
The Civil War through the Eyes of Thomas Nast

Before radio, TV, or the Internet, there was political cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast illustrated battles, Union and Confederate troop movements, and their activities throughout the Civil War. He also captured the poignancy of those back home, who worried about their family members in combat. Nast covered both the home and battle fronts; his work was the main source of information about the war for many people. His illustrations in publications like "Harper's Weekly" brought the information about what was happening into the homes of the American public, the way mass media does today. Like all media agents, he not only depicted what was happening by reporting on the events taking place, but also created propaganda by trying to stir emotions and support for the Union side. Mounted to commemorate the final year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial (2011-2015), this second floor exhibit will include a number of these stirring images. "The Civil War through the Eyes of Thomas Nast" opens September 7, 2014­ and will be on exhibit through 2015.

Thomas Nast (1840-1902) is one of the most recognized names in the world of political cartoons.  Often called the father of American political cartooning, Nast's images remain popular today.  His well-known depictions of the Democratic donkey and Republican elephant, conceived more than 100 years ago, continue to represent both parties.  Uncle Sam and Columbia, two of his favorite figures to draw, are still recognized as symbols for the United States of America.  His spirit lives on through his iconic representations of Santa Claus. The classic images which Nast popularized of the jolly old elf still appear on a variety of surfaces each year during the holiday season, and Nast's Civil War images of battlefront and home front were powerful tools for bringing the war into people's homes.

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum preserves the history of the Macculloch-Miller families, the Morris area community, and the legacy of its founder W. Parsons Todd through its historic site, collections, exhibits, and educational and cultural programs. The Museum is open for house and exhibit tours on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. The last tour leaves at 3:00 pm. Adults $8; Seniors & Students $6; Children 6 - 12 $4. Members and children under 5 are free. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, 45 Macculloch Avenue, Morristown, NJ. For more information, call 973-538-2404 ext. 10 or visit www.maccullochhall.org.

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

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