Friday, November 22, 2013

Weekend Historical Happenings: 11/23/13 - 11/24/13

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Friday - Sunday, November 22 -24 - Cape May, Cape May County
Holiday Preview Weekend
Children Friendly

Christmas arrives early in Victorian Cape May, when the Emlen Physick Estate is beautifully decorated with thousands of lights for Cape May's Holiday Preview Weekend, Friday through Sunday. Start celebrating the holidays early with a long weekend of festive tours and activities that are sure to get you into the Christmas spirit!

Come to the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ for the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, sponsored by Sturdy Savings Bank, on Saturday at 7:00 pm. Join MAC representatives, public officials and carolers at the gazebo, led by the Cape Harmonaires and a joint choir from the Church of the Advent and the First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, for festive events from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. Old Saint Nick arrives 7:00 pm and flips the switch to light thousands of bulbs on their giant Christmas trees. Children can meet with Santa and bring their letters to the man in the red suit. Warm beverages and cookies will be available in the Carriage House. Visitors are invited to bring extra canned goods and non-perishable food items to donate to the Cape May Community Food Bank and to stop by the Toys for Tots table. Step back in time on a free, self-guided tour of the authentically decorated 1879 Physick Estate from 6:00 - 8:00 pm during the Physick Estate Christmas Tour. Enjoy a Dickensian-style Christmas on this self-guided tour of Cape May's only Victorian house museum. 

The wonders of the season are all on display in the exhibit "An Old-Fashioned Christmas: Holiday Traditions through the Years" at the Carriage House Gallery located on the grounds of the Physick Estate. This year's exhibit features holiday traditions through the years that bring to life every child's Christmas fantasy, complete with a Dickens Village, model trains, toys and much more, all beneath the boughs of a giant Christmas tree! Enjoy the images and traditions of the holidays and reminisce. During Holiday Preview weekend, hours are Friday from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm; Saturday from 10:00 am - 9:00 pm; and Sunday from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. Admission is free. 

Holiday Preview Weekend features a variety of holiday-themed tours in Cape May: 

Take a guided, daytime, living history tour of the magnificent 1879 Physick Estate, Cape May's only Victorian house museum, decorated in authentic Victorian style for Christmas, presented through the eyes of a member of the Physick family in the early 1900s during Physick Family Christmas House Tours. The tour also includes a visit to the Carriage House Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate where you can see "An Old-fashioned Christmas" exhibit. Admission for adults is $12; for children (3-12) $6. Offered during Holiday Preview Weekend on Friday at 2:15 pm; Saturday at 11:45 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:15 pm; Sunday at 1:15 pm.

A member of the East Lynne Theater Company regales you with a Victorian holiday ghost tale on the "Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Rides" on Saturday at 8:15 pm and 9:00 pm. Ride through Cape May's flickering gas-lit streets and admire the decorations in the Historic District as you listen to a Victorian-era ghost story. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children (ages 3-12). Trolleys depart from the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street. Advance reservations are strongly recommended.

The best way to see Cape May's Christmas lights is on board the heated "Holiday Lights Trolley Rides." Board a trolley and ride through Cape May's Historic District to see cheerfully decorated inns and homes as guides talk about Victorian Christmas traditions, lead sing-alongs, and play Christmas music. Rides last about 30 minutes and cost $10 per seat. Tours are offered on Saturday at 6:00 pm, 7:15 pm, and 8:00 pm. Trolleys depart from the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street.

Mrs. Claus has made a special trip to the Physick Estate to host "Santa's Trolley Rides" on Saturday at 5:30 pm, 6:15 pm and 7:30 pm. Bring the kids to the Physick Estate for a ride around Cape May with stories and songs led by Mrs. Claus. After the trolley ride, Santa will greet children with a sweet treat in the Carriage House located on the grounds of the Estate. All seats are $8. All trolleys depart from the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street. Advance reservations are strongly recommended.

If you love history, you'll enjoy the "Historic District Trolley Tour," offered on Friday at 1:30 pm, Saturday at 11:00 am, 12:15 pm, and 1:30 pm and Sunday at 12:30 pm. Get acquainted with Cape May on this popular trolley tour as knowledgeable guides present entertaining and educational stories about the nation's oldest seashore resort. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children (ages 3-12).

The Emlen Physick Estate is located at 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. These events are sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, visit

Saturday, November 23 - Somerville, Somerset County
"The Queen Rangers"

For its Annual Membership Meeting, the Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage Association will host speaker Joseph Wroblewski, Ed. D. on Saturday from 4:00 - 6:00 pm for a discussion on the Queen Rangers. During the American War of Independence 1775-83 the British Army authorized the raising of a number of regiments from the colonial population who remained loyal to the Crown. Colonel Robert Rogers, a celebrated officer in the earlier French-Indian War, formed the Queen's Rangers in New York in August 1776. It was named in honor of Queen Charlotte the wife of King George III. Rogers, due to personal problems, resigned and eventually the Regiment came under the command of an Englishman, Major John Simcoe. The Queen's Rangers fought in the pitched battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth and continued to be engaged in patrols, skirmishes and raids throughout the Delaware Valley from Philadelphia and Bucks County to across the river from Salem in Southern New Jersey; on to Perth Amboy and Springfield in North Jersey.

In 1780, the Rangers were transferred to the Southern Theater of Operations and were present at the British surrender at Yorktown. Following the surrender at Yorktown, the Regiment eventually took up land grants in New Brunswick (Canada) and were later reconstituted to help build what is now Toronto. The Regiment survives today as part of the Canadian military as the Queen's York Rangers, and is still practicing their original function as a reconnaissance unit. Dr. Wroblewski's remarks about this unique group of Americans, who remained loyal to the King during the War of Independence, should prove to be both thought-provoking and interesting.

A brief business meeting will precede Dr. Wroblewski's talk. New members welcomed at this time. The meeting will be held in the Old Dutch Parsonage in Somerville, NJ. Site parking will be available at 71 Somerset Street, Somerville, NJ.

Saturday, November 23 - Morristown, Morris County
Feeding the Army
Children Friendly

Though turkey and stuffing is the choice meal next week, Washington's army did without. Join a Park Ranger at the Wick House to observe the gourmet meal a soldier was issued during the Revolutionary War. Yum! Stop in the Wick House at Jockey Hollow between 1:00 and 4:00 pm, within Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, NJ. Cost: Free.

Saturday, November 23Pennsauken, Camden County
Thanksgiving Celebration
Children Friendly

Thanksgiving originated in the annual celebration of a good harvest. At the Griffith Morgan House in Pennsauken, the 2013 harvest has been historic! Visit them on Saturday between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm to see foods of the season prepared in the traditional manner - over a blazing hearth! View the wares of their annual sale of home-baked goods for the holiday table, and take home a delicious pie or cake! Tour the old home and share the lore of the colonial harvest season and the preparation for the bleak months ahead! Admission is free and parking is plentiful. The Griffith Morgan House is located on Griffith Morgan Lane, off River Road, near Delair in Pennsauken. For more information, call 856-486-9561.

Saturday, November 23 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Blacksmithing and Horseshoeing
Children Friendly

The ring of an anvil, the roar of the forge, and the sizzle of hot steel hitting cold water are familiar sounds to anyone who has watched a blacksmith at work.

Watching, listening and even helping are all part of the fun in store for visitors to Howell Farm when the blacksmiths fire up their forges on Saturday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

Throughout the day, visitors off all ages can help blacksmith Mike Erdie and Daniel Lapidow by turning the crank of the forge blower, adding coal to the fire, and carrying water needed for cooling hot steel. The smithies’ hooks, initialed horseshoes, and other items will be for sale.

In the barn, farm farriers will be shoeing the farm’s work horses and checking their feet.

Howell Living 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 or to register for the program, call 609-737-3299.

Saturday - Sunday, November 23 - 24 - River Edge, Bergen County
237th Anniversary of the American Retreat at New Bridge Landing
Children Friendly

On November 20th, 1776, five thousand British, Hessian, and Loyalist troops, under command of Lt. Gen. Lord Cornwallis, scaled the Palisades at Lower Closter Dock and marched against Fort Lee. Warned by an alert officer, the American garrison escaped entrapment by safely crossing the Hackensack River at New Bridge, now known as the "Bridge That Saved a Nation," and lived to fight another day. To mark the 237th Anniversary of the "times that try men's souls," the Bergen County Historical Society, along with the Third New Jersey Regiment and Fourth Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers, will co-sponsor a weekend of living history and scholarly presentations on Saturday and Sunday at Historic New Bridge Landing. Tickets cover both Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Suggested donation: $7 adult, $5 children, BCHS members free.

At 7:00 pm on Saturday, noted military historian Todd W. Braisted, a  Bergen County Historical Society Past President, will give an illustrated talk on "Defense of the Hudson," a look at the fortifications and activities of Bergen Neck, Paulus Hook, and Fort Lee up to the Retreat. Afterwards, visitors may enjoy light refreshments at the Campbell Christie House, along with living history members portraying the soldiers and followers who took part in the Revolutionary struggle from that time.

Between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm on Sunday, members of various living history groups representing both sides of the conflict will perform military demonstrations, showing the life and times of the common soldier of the American Revolution. Cooking and baking demonstrations will likewise take place in the Out-Kitchen behind the Campbell Christie House and visitors may tour the historic homes on the site. At 1:00 pm, Todd Braisted will speak in the Steuben House on "Aftermath: Bergen County, December 1776 to June 1777." Some of the society's treasure of Revolutionary War artifacts will be displayed.

Historic New Bridge Landing is located at 1201-1209 Main Street, River Edge, NJ. Suggested donation: $7 adult, $5 children, BCHS members free. Ticket covers both days. For more information, call 201-343-9492 or visit

Sunday, November 24 - Morristown, Morris County
Wick House Guest
Children Friendly

Did you know a friend of George Washington spent the winter at the Wick House? Meet a Park Ranger to discover who it was as well as the impacts he made during the revolution and beyond as you tour the Wick House. Programs at 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 pm at the Wick House at Jockey Hollow, within Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, NJ. Cost: Free.

Sunday, November 24 - Morristown, Morris County
Native Americans in the Revolution
Children Friendly

If you were Native American during the American Revolution, which side would you support? Find out what influenced their choice and discover the role of Native Americans during the war as you meet an officer during a tour of the Ford Mansion. Tours at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 pm at the Ford Mansion, within Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, NJ. Cost: $4 per adult.

Sunday, November 24 - Cranford, Union County
A History of Inventing in New Jersey

The Cranford Historical Society is proud to present Linda J. Barth, author of A History of Inventing in New Jersey: From Thomas Edison to the Ice Cream Cone will present a presentation entitled "The Garden State: Where Ideas Grow," on Sunday from 2:00 - 4:00 pm at the Crane-Phillips House Museum,124 North Union Avenue, Cranford, NJ. The program will begin at 2:15 pm.

Many Americans are familiar with Thomas Edison's "invention factory" in Menlo Park, where he patented the phonograph, the light bulb, and many more innovations.  Yet many other ideas  have grown in the Garden State, too. New Jerseyans brought sound and music to movies and built the very first drive-in theater. In addition to the first cultivated blueberry, tasty treats like ice cream cones and M&M's® are also Jersey natives. Iconic aspects of American life, like Bubble Wrap®, the boardwalk, the Band-Aid®, and even professional baseball itself started in New Jersey. Life would be a lot harder without the vacuum cleaner, plastic, and air-conditioning and many other important advances in medicine and surgery were developed here. 

Join author Linda Barth as she explores groundbreaking, useful, fun and even silly inventions and their New Jersey roots. Barth is the executive director of the League of Historical Societies of New Jersey and author of various books related to New Jersey and the Delaware and Raritan Canal.

Space is limited so reservations are required. To reserve your seat, please call the Historical Society's office at 908-276-0082 or e-mail Admission is free but donations are always welcomed. For more information, call 908-376-0082 or visit

Sunday, November 24 - Westampton, Burlington County
Open Hearth Cooking Demonstration

Food preservation and preparation will be explored in the theme, Seasonal Fruit Receipts at Peachfield on Sunday from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. Using the ten-foot fireplace in the Peachfield Great Room, Historic Interpreter Julee Merrill will use period receipts and cooking methods as she illustrates ways seasonal fruits were prepared. Sampling and light refreshments are included.

Admission: $10.00 per person. Reservations paid in advance are strongly recommended as seating is limited. Peachfield is located at 180 Burrs Road, Westampton, NJ 08060. For more information, call 609-267-6996, e-mail, or visit

Through January 1, 2014 - Cape May, Cape May County
Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit
Children Friendly

Through January 1, 2014, the Emlen Physick Estate will have an exhibit of holiday traditions through the years complete with a Dickens Village, a giant Christmas tree, model trains, toys, and much more! The exhibit is located in the Carriage House Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. The Gallery is open daily (except Christmas); hours vary. Free admission. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information or gallery hours, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit

Sundays Through November 30, 2013 - Lakehurst, Ocean County
Pittis - Doctor - Mayor - Postmaster

The Borough of Lakehurst Historical Society announces a special exhibit about an important resident - "PITTIS - Doctor - Mayor - Postmaster". Dr. Pittis was the local physician for Lakehurst and Manchester from the turn of the 19th century until World War II.  He  would make house calls all the way to Whiting in his horse-drawn buggy. Later in life, he became a physician at the Jersey City Medical Center. Dr. Harold Pittis was the son of Thomas Kearn Pittis and Susan  null Henrietta Collins.  Harold was the fourth of ten children; eight brothers and one sister, all from Plainfield, New Jersey.

Dr.  Harold received his MD in 1901 from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, where he met his wife Ruth. He and Ruth were married on January 8, 1900 at St. Mark's Church in Malone, New York. In the 1910 census, Dr. Pittis was living on Union Avenue, Lakehurst, with his wife and son Harold, who had received his MD from McGill University in 1937.

Dr. Harold Pittis was not only the town physician, but also Lakehurst's first postmaster, beginning in November 1918. He was reappointed twice and served until August 16, 1929. He financed the construction of the first post office. 

The museum is open Wednesdays and Sundays from 12:00 noon - 3:00 pm. The Lakehurst Historical Society Museum is located at 300 Center Street, Lakehurst, NJ. For more information, call 732-657-8864 or click here.

Through June 30, 2014 - Piscataway, Middlesex County
Got Work? Exhibit

View the exhibit "Got Work? New Deal/WPA in New Jersey" at the 1741 Cornelius Low House Museum in Piscataway. The museum is open Tuesday - Friday, 8:30 - 4:00 pm and Sunday afternoons from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. The exhibit will run through June 30, 2014.

The Cornelius Low House, built in 1741, was the home to its namesake and is only one of two remaining buildings from historic Raritan Landing. This high-style Georgian mansion is listed on the National Register and operated by the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission. Admission to the museum is FREE. The museum is located at 1225 River Road, Piscataway, NJ . For more information, visit

Through February 2014 - Madison, Morris County
Ghosts, Ghouls, & Gravestones Exhibit
Children Friendly Site

The Museum of Early Trades and Crafts presents "Ghosts, Ghouls, & Gravestones: The Trades of Burial," which will examine the progression of the burial trade. Passing away from this world was once a family affair, but over time, the process spread through the social and economic ties of the community. By 1900, a robust funeral industry had developed that saw to a family's every need. The exhibit will also explore the strict protocols that dictated mourning and the artistry in gravestones.

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 10:00 am - 4:00 pm and Sunday 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 information, please call 973-377-2982 x10 or visit

Through February 14, 2014 - Woodbury, Gloucester County
The Civil War: Echoes of New Jersey’s Finest 

As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is being observed across America, the Gloucester County Historical Society Museum is featuring an exhibit of artifacts that tell unique stories about local soldiers during this traumatic time in our nation’s history.  Along with military equipment, there are also photographs, Civil War letters, the first Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to a NJ soldier, a thirty-three foot long flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Civil War, personal items that belonged to local union soldiers, and much more.

Gloucester County Historical Society Museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 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 museum is located at 58 North Broad Street, Woodbury, NJ. For more information, call 856-848-8531 or visit

Through Sunday, February 23, 2014 - Trenton, Mercer County
Historic Maps of the Garden State Exhibit
Children Friendly Activities

Often overlooked as a decorative art form, maps are ideal artifacts for exploring New Jersey history. Stories of New Jersey’s social, economic, military, environmental and political history – as well as the state’s role in the history of American transportation – can be told through the visual splendor of the Garden State’s historic maps.

Opening on September 7 and running through February 23, 2014, “Where in the World is New Jersey? Historical Maps of the Garden State” is comprised of nearly 100 maps depicting the colony and state of New Jersey from 1635 through 1950 on display at the New Jersey State Museum.

This unprecedented exhibition provides the visitor with an introductory survey of historical maps depicting the colony and state of New Jersey from 1635 until 1950. The nearly 100 maps on display – most of which are original hand-colored copperplate engravings or chromolithographs – come from the collections of four public institutions – the New Jersey State Museum, State Archives, State Library, and Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. They were selected for their rarity, their ability to convey aspects of New Jersey history, and their artistic merit – underscoring the dual role of maps as both works of art and utilitarian tools essential to the human experience. 

The New Jersey State Museum, located at 205 West State Street in Trenton, NJ is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 am - 4:45 pm. The Museum is closed Mondays and all state holidays. The NJ State Museum has a “suggested” admission fee. For more information, visit or call the recorded information line at 609-292-6464. On weekends, free parking is available in lots adjacent to and behind the Museum. Please visit for a number of options for parking in downtown Trenton during the week.

Through December 14, 2013 - Harrison Township, Gloucester County
Under the Sea: Our Prehistoric Past
Children Friendly

The Harrison Township Historical Society's fall exhibition, Under the Sea: Our Prehistoric Past is on display through Saturday, December 14, 2013.

This new installation, which features rare fossil specimens on loan from the New Jersey State Museum, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and private collections, explores how fossil discoveries at 19th century marl mining operations around Mullica Hill attracted the interest of such notable early paleontologists as Yale's Othniel Marsh and Philadelphia's Charles Lyell, Timothy Conrad and William Gabb. As guest curator, Shirley S. Albright, retired Assistant Curator of Natural History, New Jersey State Museum has written, the historic significance of the classic Mullica Hill fossil locality cannot be underestimated. The exhibits show the diversity of  prehistoric faunal life inhabiting the ancient ocean that covered Harrison Township, as well as Pleistocene fossils transported southward by melting glaciers.

The exhibition also discusses the area's geology and native stone deposits with photos of buildings constructed of limonite, or Jersey sandstone, that survive in the area from the 18th and 19th centuries.

With over sixty specimens, an introductory video, and activities for children in the gallery and to take home, Under the Sea offers insights into the area's ancient past for the entire family, and admission is free.

The Harrison Township Historical Society's Old Town Hall Museum is located at 62-64 South Main Street, Mullica Hill, NJ. The Museum is open Saturdays and Sundays, 1:00 - 4:00 pm, through December 14, 2013.  For more information, call 856-478- 4949 or visit

Through June 2014 - Morristown, Morris County
"Controversies: The More Things Change..." Exhibit

Currently on display at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is an exhibition about topics that helped shape our world. "Controversies: The More Things Change..." opens new territory for the Museum, presenting challenging subject matter that may not be suitable for casual dinner conversation. This new exhibit explores topics that helped shape our world through local history events which had national significance: medical experimentation, immigration, and the right to die.

"Controversies: The More Things Change..." inspires people to consider, even reconsider, the ways in which they think about these important, frequently debated issues. The exhibit explores local history events which had national significance: the 1833 Antoine LeBlanc murder trial and public execution; the immigration issues of the late nineteenth century as depicted by political cartoonist Thomas Nast, a Morristown resident, and the 1976 Karen Ann Quinlan "right to die" case.

The museum is making a major departure in exhibit presentations with "Controversies."  Where most exhibits typically provide detailed information about the objects on view, "Controversies" offers limited information about the objects, essentially forcing personal thought, and inspiring discussion, about the areas represented.  Each object and concept in the exhibit represents a part of New Jersey's history - specifically Morris County's history. The ideas expressed through the historical objects in the exhibit, however, are not confined to New Jersey boundaries- the significant concerns raised by the important and controversial issues showcased in this exhibit continue to be debated throughout the United States and the world.

"We wanted to give our visitors a chance to participate in an exhibit in a new way - to have a reaction without being guided by the institution's interpretation of what the objects represent, which labels typically provide," said Executive Director Carrie Fellows. Instead, curator's books of supplementary information will be available within the exhibit, should the visitor want to learn more, drawn from primary sources like news articles, contemporary commentary, and images. Visitors are encouraged to leave comments about the themes presented.

The exhibition was inspired when Fellows and Ryan C. Hyman, the Museum's curator, heard Burt Logan, Executive Director of the Ohio Historical Society speak at a conference about the organization's groundbreaking "Controversy: Pieces You Don't Normally See" exhibit, and its sequel, "Controversy 2: Pieces We Don't Normally Talk About". During his talk, Mr. Logan strongly encouraged other museums to adapt the concept and develop similar exhibits. Inspired by the presentation, Hyman and Fellows began discussing how they might create an exhibit using themes from the Morris area's rich history.

"Controversies: The More Things Change..." will be on view during Museum touring hours through June 2014. Please note the subject matter may not be suitable for all audiences. Visitor discretion advised. Recommended for visitors 12 years of age and older.

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.  For more information, call 973-538-2404 ext. 10 or visit Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is located at 45 Macculloch Avenue, Morristown, NJ.

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


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