Friday, February 8, 2013

Weekend Historical Happenings: 2/9/13 - 2/10/13

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Saturday, Feburary 9 - South Bound Brook, Somerset County
Tory Jack Day

Tory Jack Day, held in conjunction with Black History month, will be presented at the historic Abraham Staats House in South Bound Brook on Saturday from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm. This annual event is named in honor of Jack, a slave in the Abraham Staats household during the American Revolution who was reputed to have gathered information in support of the patriot cause. A special presentation focused on African American officers in the Civil War will be given at 11:00 am by eminent historian Joseph Becton, a retired Supervisory Park Ranger at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia and co-founder of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment Revolutionary War Reenactors and the 6th Regiment United States Colored Troops. A collection of African-American artifacts on loan from local historian Joyce Smith will be on display and tours of the house will be given following Mr. Becton's presentation until 4:00 pm.  

The Abraham Staats House, c. 1740, was owned by the Staats family for nearly two centuries and served as the headquarters of General von Steuben during the second Middlebrook Cantonment of 1778-79. Tory Jack Day is hosted by the Friends of Abraham Staats House. The Abraham Staats House is located at 17 Von Steuben Lane, South Bound Brook. Suggested donation for Mr. Becton's presentation is $3.  For more information, call 732-469-3198 or visit

Saturday, Feburary 9 - Secaucus, Hudson County
Jersey City Politician John Madden

Join the Hudson County Genealogical and Historical Society on Saturday at 11:30 am for a program presented by member Dallas Grove. Ms. Grove will be speaking about her great grandfather, John F. Madden, a New Jersey State Assemblyman and a politician from the Horseshoe section of Jersey City in the late 1800s through the early 1900s. This is a perfect follow up to the January meeting about Denny McLaughlin who was a friend of John Madden. This should be an informative and interesting presentation!

The event will be held at the Secaucus Public Library, 1379 Paterson Plank Road in Secaucus.

Saturday, Feburary 9 - Trenton, Mercer County
Trenton's Education Legacy

The Trenton Museum Society and the Trenton City Museum present a new exhibit entitled "Trenton's Educational Legacy: The New Lincoln School." The exhibit, curated by Elizabeth Carter Lacy, examines the relationship between the New Lincoln School under segregation and after and Trenton's black community between the years 1924 and 1946. It will be on display on the second floor of the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park from February 9 through May 25, 2013.

The exhibit's opening reception will be held on Saturday from 2:00 until 4:00 pm and is open to the public. New Lincoln School alumni and friends from the 1930s and 1940s as well as area history buffs will attend the opening. Located on North Montgomery Street, the New Lincoln School opened in 1924 as a segregated school for Trenton's "Negro" students. Containing both elementary and junior high schools, it consolidated students from several other schools in the city where African-American children were educated. Many graduates of New Lincoln School went on to distinguished careers in fields such as education, law, public service, medicine, sports and the fine and performing arts. Many more became the firsts to hold Municipal, County, and State jobs that were once not open to African-Americans. In later years, a few held significant positions in Trenton's private businesses.

In 1946, as a result of the Hedgepeth-Williams lawsuit, Trenton's schools were desegregated. Mr. Patton J. Hill, the African-American principal of New Lincoln School from 1933-1958, continued as principal in the newly desegregated school until his retirement. After desegregation, the junior high school was renamed Junior High School No. 5 and is now known as the Rivera School. The exhibit will cover the period from the opening of the New Lincoln School in 1924 until the end of segregation in 1946. The exhibit will address why there was a need for a state-of-the-art school to replace substandard schools serving African-Americans. It will also highlight the teachers, principals, curriculum, sports, and health services of the new school, photos of graduation classes, leaders of various professions who visited the school, and achievements of alumni.

The exhibit will also focus on the important relationship among the school, the black family, the black church, and the black community. It will highlight the role of the Reverend John A. White of Shiloh Baptist Church, 1904-1946, a quiet strength working through various organizations to link the races in Trenton for the good of all.

The exhibit has been guest curated by Elizabeth Carter Lacy, founder of the Bettwansuela Museum Collection. Mrs. Lacy is an alumnus of New Lincoln School and long-time teacher in the Trenton Public School system. She graduated from Cheyney State Teacher's College (now Cheyney University) with a Bachelor's degree in education, and received the Reading Teacher's certification from Trenton State Teachers College (now The College of New Jersey). She has received many honors from Cheyney University and from civic and educational organizations including the NAACP. She is also founder and curator of the Geraldine Carter-Bethel Library Museum at Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton.

Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the Trenton Museum Society at 609-989-1191 or Ellarslie Mansion is located in Cadwalader Park in Trenton.

Saturday, Feburary 9 - Maple Shade, Camden County
Open House

On Saturday, the Maple Shade Historical Society invites you to an open house from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at the Chesterford School (Little Red Schoolhouse) at 415 West Main Street, Maple Shade.

Saturdays, Feburary 9 - February 23 - Port Norris, Cumberland County
Winter Enrichment Series

A winter learning experience for ages 6 - 12 held each Saturday from 9:00 am - 12:00 noon at the Bivalve Shipping Sheds at 2800 High Street, Port Norris, NJ. Explore winter on the Delaware Bay: discover the bay's winter inhabitants and environment with hands on activities, wetland walks, critter observations, art and crafts. This program runs every Saturday until February 23. For more information or to register, contact Laura S. Johnson,; 856-785-2060 ext. 102.

Saturday & Sunday, Feburary 9-10 & 16-17 - Montclair, Essex County
This Thing Called Freedom: Heritage, History, and Quilts

Join the Montclair Histirocal Society and the Nubian Quilters Guild this weekend for "This Thing Called Freedom: Heritage, History, and Quilts" from 1:00 - 5:00 pm. Handcrafted quilts from the Nubian Quilters Guild once again grace the Israel Crane House this month. See art quilts, journal quilts, traditional quilt patterns, and modern day interpretations. Come and watch demonstrations in hand-piecing, machine piecing, hand-quilting, rotary cutting and appliqué throughout the day. Plus, there will be a Children's Corner for the younger guests. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under; babes in arms are free. For more information contact The Montclair Historical Society's gift shop will be open. The Israel Crane House is located at 108 Orange Road, Montclair.

Saturday & Sunday, February 9 & 10  - North Plainfield, Somerset County
Photography Exhibition

The Fleetwood Museum of Art and Photographica is pleased to present an exhibition, "Dependent on Chance: The Magic of Smoke Trails" by Vivian S. Bedoya. The exhibition features abstract photographs created by photographing smoke. The images, ethereal formations rendered in both color and black and white, are stunning examples of this arduous photographic process. This unique exhibition is on view through the end of January.

Ms. Bedoya is a writer and photographer residing in Somerset County. She currently has four works of art in the Gallery 27/7 Art on Traffic Control Boxes throughout  Somerset  County.

The Fleetwood Museum of Art and Photographica is located inside the Vermeule Mansion located at 614 Greenbrook Road, North Plainfield, New Jersey  07060. The Museum is open Saturdays from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm and the second Sunday of every month, 1:30 - 4:00 pm.

Sunday, February 10 - Ridgewood, Bergen County
Children's Day at the Schoolhouse

If you owned your own museum, what artifacts would you have on display? That is the question children will answer when they visit the Schoolhouse Museum on Sunday for an afternoon of stories and show and tell from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. Children in kindergarten through 5th grade are invited to the museum to hear Mrs. Diorio, Willard School Librarian, and guest readers share stories about the importance of historic preservation. Children are encouraged to bring an item that they think should be on display at a museum and share with other visitors how that item would help others understand life in 21st century Ridgewood. Children will have the opportunity to tour the museum's exhibit, "The Collection," featuring treasured 18th and 19th century artifacts and textiles donated by local residents who believed that these artifacts were worth preserving to tell the stories of people who lived in our village. Stories will be read at 2:15 pm and 3:15 pm and opportunities for show and tell will follow the story times. Children must be accompanied by an adult. A donation to support the museum's operating budget of $3 per child, $5 for an adult, or $10 for a family is suggested. For more information about Children's Day e-mail

Sunday, February 10 - Camden, Camden County
Recollections of an American Family

On Sunday from 2:00 - 4:00 pm, meet children's book author Valerie Still as she presents the history and legacy of the Still family; a proud, historic African American family tracing its heritage back almost 400 years. Cost: Free. For more information, call 856-964-3333. Sponsored by the Camden County Historical Society and will be held at 1900 Park Boulevard, Camden.
Sunday, February 10 - Metuchen, Middlesex County
24th Annual Local History Day

The Metuchen-Edison Historical Society presents its 24th annual Local History Day on Sunday from 1:30 - 4:00 pm in the Community Room of the Metuchen Library, 480 Middlesex Avenue in Metuchen. The theme of this year's event is "Local Disasters," and features wonderful and interesting items from local disasters over the years including train wrecks, explosions, and floods. In addition, an exciting array of old maps, photographs, gravestone rubbings, and publications will be on display. Local History Day is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the library parking lot on Library Place and on the streets around the library. For more information contact: Steve at 732-452-1381 or or Walter at 732-906-0529 or

Sunday, February 10 - Plainfield, Union County
African-American Images from the Plainfield Historical Society Collection

The Historical Society of Plainfield announces their Black History Month celebration entitled, "African-American Images from the Historical Society of Plainfield Collection," which will run through the month of February in the second floor ballroom at the Drake House Museum. "African-American Images from the Historical Society of Plainfield Collection" will focus on images of African-Americans which are held within the Society's collection and includes a recent acquisition from a former Plainfield family about Olympian Milt Campbell.

A gallery talk by HSP Trustee Nancy Piwowar will be held on Sunday at 2:30 pm about "How Dinah, the Cook, led to the identity of many Plainfield area residents in the famous Laing Hotel photograph." It took a combined effort by Trustees Jo-Ann Bandomer, Anrea Kee, and Nancy Piwowar to interpret the faded, nearly illegible writing on the matte border of the photograph to finally identify Dinah, the Cook's name, and then Nancy Piwowar was able to do further research and identify many of the others' names in the Laing Hotel photograph that has been used in history books about Plainfield. All are welcome during regular tour hours (2:00 - 4:00 pm on Sundays) or by appointment. The Drake House Museum is located at 602 West Front Street in Plainfield.

Sunday, February 10 - Morristown, Morris County
African-Americans in the American Revolution

During the Revolutionary War African-Americans acted as soldiers, servants and spies. On Sunday, meet one of Washington’s aides during a Ford Mansion tour and learn about the role of African-Americans in the various armies of the Revolution. Tours at 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm at the Ford Mansion located within Morristown National Historical Park. Cost: $4 per Adult.

Sunday, February 10 - Westfield, Union County
Vintage Valentines

Love is in the air......Visit the museum on Sunday from 2:00 to 4:00 pm to see a display of truly unique vintage Valentines. These cards have pop-up, pull-down, cut-out and 3D elements - fascinating! The program also includes a segment called "message in a bottle." Over the centuries, statesmen, spies, and ordinary people have put messages in bottles as a way to communicate. Children can make their own "message in a bottle" as a Valentine's day gift for a special someone. Admission: Adults/Children age 13 and older: $3.00; Children age 3 to 12: $2.00; Under age 3: free. The Miller-Cory House Museum is located at 614 Mountain Avenue in Westfield. For more information, call 908-232-1776 or visit

Sundays through April 14, 2013 - Cranbury, Middlesex County
Bunting Doll House on Display

The Bunting Doll House is on display at the Cranbury Museum on Sundays from 1:00 - 4:00 pm  through April 14, 2013. The house is a hand-made replica of an 1890's house and veterinarian's office in Burlington, N.J. When Lavada Bunting needed to relax after her long days as a private duty nurse in the 1950s, she turned to an all-consuming hobby, creating a dollhouse and the miniature furniture for it. The endeavor was nine years in the making. Thanks to Lavada Bunting's efforts, her descendants have a family heirloom: an elaborately furnished, nine-room, two-story replica of a Colonial house. The creator's nephew Bill Bunting, a Cranbury resident and Princeton lawyer, said, "It's an idealized version of the house in Burlington, NJ where my aunt grew up. No one has ever played with it.  It's not that kind of house." He has loaned the Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society this family treasure. The Cranbury Museum is located at 4 Park Place East, Cranbury.

Through April 28, 2013 - Paterson, Passaic County
New Exhibit at Lambert Castle

Lambert Castle, the Victorian-era mansion located on the Garrett Mountain Reservation on the border between Paterson and Clifton, will be home to an exciting new art exhibit now through April 28, 2013. The exhibit, entitled "Message in a Bottle: The Bottleworks of Dr. Etta Ehrlich," will feature Dr. Ehrlich's unique and thought-provoking take on society and culture, using carefully-arranged antique bottles and other found objects. The exhibit will be open until April 28 during regular museum hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Lambert Castle is located at 3 Valley Road, Paterson. For more information, call 973-247-0085 or visit

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


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