Friday, January 17, 2014

Weekend Historical Happenings: 1/18/14 - 1/19/14

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Saturday, January 18 - Atlantic City, Atlantic County
Absecon Lighthouse Turns 157!
Children Friendly

Absecon Lighthouse, New Jersey's tallest, will host a Birthday Celebration to honor the 157th  birthday of the lighthouse on Saturday with free climbs from 11:00 am - 3:30 pm and  birthday cake from The Bake Works in Northfield at 1:00 pm. To honor "Abby's" birthday, Atlantic City students have submitted poems, paintings, photographs, and drawings in the annual "Abby & the Arts" contest. Cash prize winners will be announced at 1:00 p.m. The celebration continues on Sunday with "Buy One Get One" admissions from 11:00 am - 3:30 pm.  If you truly want to "DO AC," then don't miss this opportunity to experience a 360-degree view of Atlantic City's sparkling skyline, and wish a Happy Birthday to Atlantic City's oldest historic structure, as well as the country's third tallest lighthouse.

Absecon Lighthouse is a state-owned historic property administered by the non-profit Inlet Public/Private Association. Located at 31 South Rhode Island Avenue in Atlantic City, it is open to visitors Thursdays through Mondays, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. For more information, call 609-449-1360 or visit

Saturday, January 18 - April 13 - Cape May, Cape May County
African American Heritage Exhibit

This 15th annual Center for Community Arts (CCA) exhibit - "The Way We Were...Cape May County's Once Thriving Black Business Communities" will highlight African Americans' contributions to the local community. The exhibit will be on display at the Carriage House Gallery on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. Admission is free. Exhibit will be on display Saturday, January 18 through Sunday, April 13. Open Saturdays in January, 11:30 am - 2:00 pm. Sponsored by the Center for Community Arts (CCA) in association with the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For information, call 609-884-7525 or visit For gallery hours call 609-884-5404 or visit

Saturday, January 18 - Newark, Essex County
Celebrate NJ's 350th Anniversary at the Newark Public Library
Children Friendly

Come join us for New Jersey Center for the Book’s inaugural Literary Event for 2014 at the Newark Public Library on Saturday to launch the 350th celebration year of New Jersey’s literary heritage. Free and open to the public, the day’s events begin at 11:00 am with “350 Years of New Jersey History in Music and Story” presented by musician/storytellers The Mythmakers. This folkloric journey spanning New Jersey's history from the original Lenape people, through the Dutch, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and into the 21st century will be presented through stories and music. Children will delight in tales such as "Lenape Rainbow Crow" and "The Battle of Trenton" and in songs such as "Yankee Doodle," "Free at Last," and Thomas Edison's first recording, "My Name is Mr. Phonograph," accompanied by the banjo, lyre, bodhran, and musical washboard.

Award–winning children's author, Trinka Hakes Noble, will be on hand to talk about her books. Her most recent, The Legend of the Jersey Devil, is a spellbinding tale about the origins of this mythic creature thought to live in the mysterious Pine Barrens. In Ms. Noble's book, The People of Twelve Thousand Winters (2012), ten–year–old Walking Turtle of the Lenni Lenape tribe lives with his family in a small village alongside the Passaic River in the early 1600s before Europeans settled on America's shores.

The Navesink Maritime Heritage Association will provide a summary of their program presented in 2013, "Searching for Land and Religious Freedom in Monmouth County: A Symposium on Land and Sea."

At 2:00 pm, the program will continue with a welcome from State luminaries and guest speaker Elizabeth Del Tufo, President of Newark’s Preservation and Landmarks Committee, and a compilation showcasing the twelve award-winning public library programs selected by New Jersey Center for the Book for 2014, whose individual programs will be celebrated at public libraries across the state throughout the year.

Refreshments will be served and tours will be available of a Special Exhibition at the Newark Public Library commemorating the 350th Anniversary Celebration of the Garden State. The Newark Public Library is located at 5 Washington Street, Newark, NJ. For more information, call 973-733-7784 or visit

Sunday, January 19 - Clinton, Hunterdon County
Hunterdon Art Museum Tour
Children Friendly

Take a tour of the historic stone building that houses the Hunterdon Art Museum (HAM) and explore its current exhibitions on Sunday at 1:00 pm. HAM board member Ellen Sigel will lead this tour which will discuss how the building went from a grist mill to a contemporary art museum. The tour will also highlight the current exhibiting artists and emphasize significant pieces that are important to their collections.

RSVP is suggested. To register, please call 908-735-8415 or e-mail  Snow date will be Sunday, January 26. This tour is open for all ages and is complimentary with your regular admission to the museum.

The stone mill which now houses the Hunterdon Art Museum was built in 1836 and operated as a grist mill until the building went up for sale in 1952. Pittstown resident James Marsh led a group that helped create an art center and national school for craftsmen at the site. For more information, call 908-735-8415 or visit

Sunday, January 19 - Montclair, Essex County
Historic House Tours
Children Friendly

Step back through 200 years of American history at the Montclair Historical Society's historic properties on Sunday. Visit the 1796 Israel Crane House and Nathaniel Crane Houses as guided tours reveal the history of the house in relationship to its inhabitants and the history of Montclair. Food historian Carolina Capehart will be demonstrating hearth cooking in the exterior kitchen. The sites are open from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Admission is $8 per adult and $5 per child for both properties with same day admission. Or come as a family (1 or 2 adults with up to 3 children) for $25. Free admission for members! 

Also this month's Sunday Spotlight sheds light on the Nolen Plan - Montclair's first master plan. Developed in 1909, it set forth a vision of what the development of Montclair should look like in order to maintain an environment that would "nourish a better town spirit." Come hear Kathleen Bennett discuss the Nolen Plan, particularly in light of the new Master Plan under discussion beginning at 3:00 pm. Suggested voluntary donation: $5.

The sites are located at 108 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ. For more information, call 973-744-1796, e-mail or visit

Sunday, January 19 - Tewksbury, Hunterdon County
A History of Inventing in New Jersey: From Thomas Edison to the Ice Cream Cone

The Tewksbury Historical Society will host a talk by New Jersey author Linda J. Barth on her new book, A History of Inventing in New Jersey: From Thomas Edison to the Ice Cream Cone, on Sunday at 1:00 pm. The talk will be preceded by the Tewksbury Historical Society's Annual Meeting. 

Many people are familiar with 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.

The program and meeting will be held at the Society's Headquarters at 60 Water Street, Mountainville, NJ. This is the first of many lectures and events the society will hold in conjunction with the 300th anniversary of Hunterdon County. The meeting and talk are free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served. 

Membership in the society is open to anyone interested in the history of Tewksbury Township. The cost is $15 annually for an individual membership or $25 for a family membership. For more information, call 908-832-6734 and leave your name and phone number, e-mail, or visit

Sunday, January 19 - Paterson, Passaic County
An Afternoon of Italian Opera

On Sunday at 5:00 pm in Lambert Castle, performers Annamaria Stefanelli and Rory Angelicola will be holding an opera concert entitled "An Afternoon of Italian Opera." Enjoy operatic arias, duets, and songs performed in Lambert Castle's beautiful setting. Admission to the concert is $15. Seating is limited, but reservations  will be accepted. In the event of snow, the concert will be held on January 26. Please call ahead to confirm.

Lambert Castle, home of the Passaic County Historical Society, is located at 3 Valley Road, Paterson NJ. For more information, call 973-247-0085 or visit

Sunday, January 19 - Lambertville, Hunterdon County
"The Road Along the Rocks"

On Sunday, attend "The Road Along the Rocks: A Road, a War, an Old Amwell Journey," a presentation at the Lambertville Historical Society's Annual Meeting (free and open to the public) by member antiquarians John and Barbara Hencheck. This presentation will cover a little recalled part of our past. During the years of 1777 and 1778, Coryell's Ferry in the truest sense of the words was "The Crossroads of the American Revolution." An important part of south Hunterdon County's inclusion in the Battle of Monmouth was a march across an unknown, untouched section of colonial road located hidden in plain sight. For those who cherish their local history....this presentation promises to rock your world. The program will be held from 1:00 - 3:00 pm at the Phillip L. Pittore Justice Center, 25 South Union Street, Lambertville, NJ.

The Lambertville Historical Society promotes, inspires and encourages the preservation and appreciation of Lambertville's architecture and history through education, community involvement, and preserving and maintaining the James Marshall Museum. For more information, call 609-397-0770 or visit

Sunday, January 19 - Holmdel, Monmouth County
Blacksmithing Demonstration
Children Friendly

On Sunday, visit Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel to take a step back in time to watch blacksmiths perform their craft. They will be shaping iron into everyday products. Blacksmiths were as common as an auto mechanic in towns and on farms of the 1890s. This free event runs from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. Historic Longstreet Farm is located at 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel, NJ. For more information, call 732-946-3758 or visit

Through Thursday, January 30, 2014 - Morristown, Morris County
"Not a Creature Was Stirring"

This year's Christmas exhibit at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is entitled "Not a Creature Was Stirring" - 'Christmas Animals, Toys and Thomas Nast'" and is available to view on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday afternoons during touring hours, 1:00 - 4:00 pm. The museum will reopen after the holiday break on January 2 and the exhibit will remain on display until Thursday, January 30. This second floor gallery exhibit features several of the museum's holiday-themed Thomas Nast images, as well as toys and ornaments from a century ago. This is the sixth year antique dealers and local collectors have assembled their unique treasures to create a universally charming Christmas holiday exhibit. This year's display features an animal theme, displayed in the form of toys, animals and more. This exhibit was once again created through generous object loans from Joe and Sharon Happle of Sign of the Tymes Antiques, Lafayette NJ, Lauren V. Rethwisch of Wooly Sheep Antiques, Robbinsville NJ, and objects from Barbara Silverstein's collection.

Guided tours leave throughout touring hours, with the last tour leaving around 3:00 pm. The galleries and gift shop, which stocks a range of Thomas Nast Christmas items including cards, prints and ornaments as well as other gift items, are open until 4:00 pm. 

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

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 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.

Through August, 2014 - Lyndhurst, Bergen County
Let's Play! An Exhibit of Beloved Toys
Children Friendly

From a china-head doll to a Lionel train, several toys are on display at the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum as the Lyndhurst Historical Society recalls fun times with favorite toys. The new exhibit, "Let's Play! An Exhibit of Beloved Toys," is open now through August 2014.

The exhibit is free and open to the public, though a small donation to the Society would be appreciated. The Little Red Schoolhouse Museum is open on the second and fourth Sundays of  every month from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. The Lyndhurst Historical Society was established in 1984 in an effort to preserve the 1893 schoolhouse, located at 400 Riverside Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ. For more information, call 201-804-2513 (leave a message) or visit

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


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