Friday, January 24, 2014

Weekend Historical Happenings: 1/25/14 - 1/26/14

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Saturday, January 25 - Washington Township, Morris County
"Ransford Rogers, The Morristown Ghost of 1788-1789"

The true story of a clever magician who led groups of superstitious men of Morristown, New Jersey in futile attempts to retrieve gold and silver believed left behind by Tories after the American  Revolution - left buried on the remote heights of Schooley's Mountain with hobgoblins guarding the treasure. It was believed by Morristown's own in 1788. This is one of Morris County's funniest history stories of the 18th century. 

Retrieved again to rid Morris County of greed and superstition once and for all by Don Kiddoo, a modestly qualified, but at least honest historian. 

The program will be presented by the Washington Township Historical Society and held at the Washington Township Public Library, 37 East Springtown Road, Long Valley, NJ, on Saturday at 2:00 pm. To register call the library at 908-876-3596 or visit

Saturday, January 25 - Roebling, Burlington County
Kids Create: Curators
Children Friendly

For one day only, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm, the Roebling Museum will display never before seen historical objects in the museum's galleries. Kids can explore the science and tools used to protect and preserve objects. Kid curators can even try their hand at exhibition design and make their own scrapbooks!

Pre-registration not required. Admission: $5 per person, children under 2 free. The Roebling Museum is located at 100 Second Avenue, Roebling, NJ. For more information, call 609-499-7200 or visit

Saturday, January 25 - Lambertville, Hunterdon County
Steamboat Memories

On Saturday at 4:00 pm, take a nostalgic tour with Steamboat Historian Frank J. Vopasek IV. The Steamboat Era left an indelible impression upon the history of our nation with the boats that plied both the Mississippi and Hudson Rivers each developing their own unique style and personality. Presented from a historic and nostalgic perspective with images drawn from a collection of thousands, this program pays homage to a way of life which has virtually disappeared today. From the pilot house to the engine room we'll visit many historic vessels which have since left the scene. Come celebrate this grand era with us and support the importance of "SPLASH" as she continues the tradition today.

This program will be held at American Legion Hall, 322 N. Union Street, Lambertville, NJ. Admission: $5 donation. Program runs from 4:00 - 5:30 pm. For more information, e-mail

Saturday, January 25 - Franklin Township, Somerset County
Six Mile Run Reservoir Nature Hike

Six Mile Run Reservoir Site, located in Franklin Township, Somerset County, is a wild oasis of  over 3,000 acres of forests and fields open to the public for exploration. Join Stephanie Fox, the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park naturalist, for a guided tour of trail system on Saturday at 1:00 pm. The hike will begin at the trail parking lot located on Jacques Lane and will traverse through cedar forests, open fields and upland forests. Along the way, the naturalist will pause along the trail to discuss the history and ecology of the area. The hike is approximately two miles long and does require sturdy footwear. Please call the D&R Canal State Park office at 609-924-5705 for more information and to register.

Saturday, January 25 - Haddonfield, Camden County
Coin and Paper Currency of the Colonial Period

On Saturday at 2:00 pm, visit the Indian King Tavern for a lecture about “Coin and Paper Currency of the Colonial Period” entitled “Not worth a Continental.” A representative from Village Coins and Stamps in Westmont will present the lecture, which is sponsored by Susquehanna Bank. Guests are invited to bring one or two personal coins for assessments after the event, if time permits.

This event is free and the tavern will be open from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. The Indian King Tavern Museum is located at 233 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, NJ. For more information, call 856-429-6792 or visit

Saturday, January 25 - Morristown, Morris County
Dining with Washington
Children Friendly

What was Washington's favorite breakfast? What food did Martha Washington enjoy? Discover dining habits of George Washington, his family and associates, as well as eating customs and preservation methods from the 18th century. Program at 1:15, 2:15, and 3:15 pm at the Washington’s Headquarters Museum, within Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, NJ. Cost: $4 per adult.

Saturday, January 25 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Annual Ice Harvest
Children Friendly

Each year at Howell Farm the program season opens with the annual ice harvesting event. This event recreates a slice of Pleasant Valley life that was an important winter job each year. The ice cut in January or February would typically supply the farmers throughout the year when stored in an efficient ice house such as ours.

During the program, visitors help farmers cut, chop and shave ice, fill an ice house, and make ice cream. Conditions permitting, visitors can also join the harvest crew on the frozen pond and take a turn using an "ice saw." Ice ponds were important to the farmers of New Jersey in the 1890s and a state law prohibited ice skating on ponds from which ice was gathered.

At 1:00 and 3:00 pm, visitors can make and sample ice treats such as old fashioned snow cones and ice cream.

What if, against the prediction of "The Old Farmer's Almanac," there is no ice on the pond? The work still goes on, as it probably would have a century ago when farmers faced with warmer winters filled their ice houses with commercial ice. This may have happened in the winter of 1899 when the Hopewell Herald noted in late February that in the Titusville area, which includes Pleasant Valley, not a pound of ice had been gathered so far that winter, even though the Delaware River had been lightly frozen for more than a week.

Often in the 1890s ice harvesting began in late December or early January. On January 4, 1893 the Hopewell Herald reported that Pleasant Valley resident Hart Lewis had nearly filled his ice house the previous week with ice about six inches thick. He had cut the ice on "Parkhill's creek", really on Moore's Creek on the Parkhill farm, only a hundred yards or so from today's Howell Farm. A warming trend could ruin the ice harvest, though, and Mr. Lewis lost several loads of ice due to rains on Sunday when he failed to haul away the ice he cut on Saturday. Apparently Mr. Parkhill was letting him cut ice where the creek flowed through his property. Farmers without a creek or pond on their property often made this kind of arrangement. Two years later it was noted that Pleasant Valley resident Hart Larue began his New Year by beginning to fill his ice house on January 2. Like Mr. Lewis, though, he cut more ice than he could haul to the ice house and left it on the creek. The next day saw a thaw and rain and he had to work quickly to save his blocks of ice before the creek rose and washed them away.

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. call 609-737-3299 or visit

Sunday, January 26 - West Orange, Essex County
Harry's Magical Invention Bag
Children Friendly

Park volunteer, Harry Roman is a retired engineer as well as inventor and patent holder. He will offer a presentation about contemporary inventors from New Jersey and the patent process.

The program runs from 1:00 - 2:00 pm and 3:00 - 4:00 pm and is included with regular admission. 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 under age 16 are free. For more information, call 973-736-0550 x11 or visit

Sunday, January 26 - Bordentown, Burlington County
Meet Thomas Paine
On Sunday, meet Thomas Paine at the Friends Meeting House in Bordentown, NJ. Bob Gleason of the American Historical Theatre in Philadelphia introduces us to Thomas Paine, the mouthpiece of the Revolution. A firebrand who traveled the world to speak out against injustice, Paine wrote in "Common Sense," that, "these are the times that try men's souls." His words inspired a tired and disheartened Colonial army of 4,500 to continue fighting against a British army that numbered 30,000. This radical's writings include "The Rights of Man," a work urging political rights for all men because of their innate equality, and "The Age of Reason," a deist manifesto. The impassioned author championed the causes of the individual and of the mind, but his works made their author little money.

The program begins at 2:00 pm at the Friends Meeting House, 302 Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown, NJ. Light refreshments will follow the program. Sponsored by the Bordentown Historical Society and the Thomas Paine Society. For more information, call 609 298-3779 or visit

Sunday, January 26 - Allamuchy, Warren County
Tea & Talk: The History of Route 80

On Sunday, attend "Tea & Talk: The History of Route 80", at Rutherford Hall from 3:00 - 5:00 pm, presented by Centenary College Professor of History Dr. Raymond Frey. If you are interested in learning more about the design and building of the highway that changed the Rutherfurd Estate and Warren County drastically between 1950 and 1970, you will find this lecture fascinating. Co-sponsored by the Allamuchy Historical Society and the Friends of Rutherfurd Hall. Tea, cake, and touring following the lecture. Rutherfurd Hall is located at 1686 Route 517, Allamuchy, NJ. For more information, call 908-852-1894 ext. 334 or visit

Sunday, January 26 - River Edge, Bergen County
Brigit’s Day and Candlemas

Find out more about the Irish in the American Revolution as the Bergen County Historical Society celebrates Brigit’s Day and Candlemas at Historic New Bridge Landing. Welcome the lengthening days and learn more about the back-to-back midwinter feasts.

1:30 pm: Amongst the unique features of the American Revolution was the number of nationalities involved, both in terms of colonists and nation-states. While the conflict proved a civil war of Americans versus Americans, the same can be said of the Irish. Irish colonists in America served both Congress and the Crown, native Irish made up a substantial portion of the British Army, Irish regiments served in both the armies of France and Spain, and even led Hessian troops from Germany.  Found out more about this fascinating subject as Todd Braisted leads a presentation on the role of the Irish in the American Revolution.

3:30 pm: Harpist Ardis Cavin will give 45-minute performance of Irish ballads in the Steuben House.

See a special exhibit of antique lighting devices. Watch candle making in the Outkitchen. Brigid’s Crosses made in County Cork, Ireland, will be available in the gift shop. Taste Candlemas crepes in our restored 18th century tavern.

Some of the Society’s treasure of Revolutionary War artifacts will be on display. All three Jersey-Dutch Houses will be open. Admission: $7 adult, $5 children, BCHS members free. Historic New Bridge Landing is located at 1201-1209 Main Street, River Edge, NJ. For more information, call 201-343-9492 or visit

Sunday, January 26 - Plainfield, Union County
Indira Bailey Art Exhibit

On Sunday from 2:00 - 4:00 pm, the Historical Society of Plainfield will host an opening reception for the "Indira Bailey Art Exhibit" in celebration of Black History Month.

Indira Bailey is a second-generation Plainfielder and is an extraordinary artist, illustrator, and educator. Indira received a B.F.A. in illustration from Pratt Institute and M.A. in Educational Leadership & Supervision from Kean University. Ms. Bailey's work demonstrates her pride, talent, and her interest in showing her experience as an African American woman and her travels in a positive light. Ms. Bailey has exhibited artwork throughout the tri-state area.

"Indira Bailey Art Exhibit" will be on display in the second floor ballroom of the Drake House Museum, and the exhibit will be on display until March 9, 2014. On Sunday, come and meet the artist. Refreshments will be served. Donations are always appreciated. Snow date for reception is Sunday, February 2, 2014. 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, Plainfield, NJ. For more information call 908-755-5831 or visit

Sunday, January 26 - Madison, Morris County
Looking at American Art in NJ Burial Grounds

On Sunday at 2:00 pm, visit the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts for a program called “Carved in Stone: Looking at American Art in New Jersey Burial Grounds” presented by Kate Nearpass Ogden of Richard Stockton College. Learn about the varied and important gravestone carvings at Hillside Cemetery in Madison, New Jersey. Exciting examples include examples by Uzal Ward of Newark, Henry Osborn of Woodbridge, and Noah Norris of Elizabeth. Their carvings vary from “winged soul” effigies to neo-classical motifs including willows and urns. Other types and individual stones to be discussed include lambs (for children), a single flower or bud (for young women and girls), Masonic emblems, zinc gravestones, a stone marked “Woodsmen of the World,” and the monument to Naylor and Louisa Harrison, King and Queen of the Romany Gypsies.

Admission to the program, which includes museum addmission is $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors and students with ID, and $3 for members. The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts is located at 9 Main Street in Madison, NJ. For information, please call 973-377-2982 x10 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 Sunday, 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 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

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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