Friday, February 6, 2015

NJ Weekend Historical Happenings: 2/7/15 - 2/8/15

Know about a historical event happening in your area? 
Send me an e-mail to let us know!
Be the first to find out about these events on Facebook!

Saturday, February 7 - South Bound Brook, Somerset County
Tory Jack Day 2015

Tory Jack Day, a celebration of Black History Month, will be held at the Abraham Staats House  in South Bound Brook on Saturday from 10:30 am - 3:00 pm. This annual event is named in honor of Jack, a slave in the Abraham Staats household during the American Revolution. Reportedly, Jack supported the patriots by spying on the British.

The focus of this year's event is African-Americans in the Civil War. At 11:00 am, Civil War reenactors Joe Becton and Alfonso McCray will make a special presentation. The program is entitled "150th Commemoration of the Anniversary of the End of the Civil War ~ The Story of Africans Fighting for Freedom in the War."

In addition, Mrs. Joyce Smith, local historian, will display an exhibit entitled "Significant Documents in Afro-American History" written after the Civil War, during the Reconstruction Era. The featured document is the 15th Constitutional Amendment granting all citizens the right to vote. Following the presentation, tours of the historic Abraham Staats House will be given until 3:00 pm.

Joseph Becton is a retired Supervisory Park Ranger at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia and is the co-founder of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment Revolutionary War Reenactors and the 6th Regiment United States Colored Troops. In 2003, Mr. Becton appeared in the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary, "Ben Franklin: An Extraordinary Life, An Electric Mind." Mr. Becton now is Director of Becton Tours and Historical Services.

Tory Jack Day is hosted by: the South Bound Brook Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, the Friends of Abraham Staats House and the Women's Guild of South Bound Brook. The Abraham Staats House is located at 17 Von Steuben Lane, South Bound Brook, NJ. For more information, call 732-469-5836 or visit

Saturday, February 7 - Old Bridge, Middlesex County
The History of Diners in New Jersey

New Jersey author and historian Michael Gabriele will be presenting a presentation based on his book, The History of Diners in New Jersey at Old Bridge Public Library on Saturday at 2:00 pm. Gabriele's book traces the 100-year history of the New Jersey diner business and features in-depth information on diner manufacturers, diner historians and the people who operated classic diners. Copies of his book will be available for purchase. This program is free and open to the public. The Old Bridge Public Library is located at One Old Bridge Plaza, Municipal Center, Old Bridge, NJ at the intersection of Route 516 and Cottrell Road. For more information, call 732-721-5600 ext 5033 or visit

Saturday, February 7 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Visit from the Horse Doctor
Children Friendly

When is a 3/4 ton workhorse a chicken? When the doctor, farrier and dentist come...maybe. Keeping the horses in tip top shape is very important to our farmers. This annual well-visit at Howell Living Farm allows a head to tail examination and is just one of the many ways we can be sure our horses are healthy and happy. 

Besides seeing some of the tools, techniques and products that relate to horse care as it was practiced during the farm's circa 1900 time period, visitors will be able to meet a veterinarian, horse dentist, and farrier and even try their own hand at a bit of horse doctoring.

With the veterinarian's help, visitors will be able to listen to a horse’s heart through an antique stethoscope and watch the doctor give spring vaccines and worming medicine. The veterinarian will be on-site from 10:30 am - 12:00 noon. The dentist will need assistance counting teeth to determining the age of the horse and leveling any teeth with a dental rasp. The special hoof care that is needed, will be demonstrated by the farrier, this will include trimming and balancing of hooves and re-set shoes if needed. The farrier and dentist will be visiting in the afternoon.

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, February 8 - Pennington, Mercer County
Who Lived Here? A Chronicle of Hopewell Township's Changing Population

On Sunday at 3:00 pm, on behalf of the Hopewell Valley Historical Society, David Blackwell will discuss the milestones of regional, Hopewell Township, Hopewell and Pennington history that uncover the presence of Native Americans, Dutch commercial activities, English conquest and settlement, and continue with African arrival and progress through slavery to citizenship, Irish arrival, and the advent of Eastern Europeans after 1890. This program will take place at the Pennington Public Library, 30 North Main Street, Pennington, NJ.

Sunday, February 8 - Montclair, Essex County
House Tours and Victorian Valentines
Family Friendly

Step back through over 200 years of American history at Montclair's historic properties at 108 Orange Road. Visit the newly reinterpreted Crane House to reflect the YWCA period from 1920 - 1965, check out the farm, and meet the chickens. The site is open from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. 

Children will have the opportunity to make a Victorian Valentine and other activities designed to introduce children to history in a fun and interactive way. Docents will take kids on a scavenger hunt for the hidden heart designs on our artifacts in each room of the house.

Free-will donation. Free admission for members! The Shultz House (Evergreens) will be closed for the season, reopening Spring 2015. For more information, call 973-744-1796, e-mail, or visit

Sunday, February 8 - Westampton, Burlington County
The Marriage of Dido and William Boen

In 1763, Dido, a Burr family servant and William Boen, a black man who purchased his freedom, wished to be married in a Quaker ceremony. They had heard John Woolman speak and began following the Quaker religion. The Quakers at this time did not permit persons of color to join the Quaker faith. John and Sara Woolman persuaded Sara's Aunt Jane and Uncle Joseph Burr, to allow the marriage to take place at Peachfield. On July 3, 1763, Dido and William were married at Peachfield, with Joseph and Jane Burr in attendance. John Woolman, a well-respected preacher from Mount Holly was present at the union.

On Sunday at 2:00 pm, the reenactment of the marriage of Dido and William Boen will take place at Peachfield. Jeff Macechak will present his re-enactment of John Woolman. Please join us as we celebrate this beautiful union. All participants will sign the Marriage Certificate. The ceremony will be followed by a question and answer session and light refreshments. Quaker marriage certificates and wedding dresses will be on display. 

Peachfield is located at 180 Burrs Road, Westampton, NJ. Admission is $5 per person; Friends of Peachfield admitted free of charge. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. For more information and to register, call 609-267-6996, or e-mail

Sunday, February 8 - Dayton, Middlesex County
The History of Diners in New Jersey

New Jersey author and historian Michael Gabriele will be presenting a presentation to the Jersey Late Great Car Club based on his book, The History of Diners in New Jersey at the Jersey Diner in Dayton (South Brunswick) on Sunday at 1:00 pm. Gabriele's book traces the 100-year history of the New Jersey diner business and features in-depth information on diner manufacturers, diner historians and the people who operated classic diners. This program is free and open to the public. The Jersey Diner is located at 2316 U.S. 130, Dayton, NJ. For more information, visit

Sunday, February 8 - Union Township, Union County
Open House at the Caldwell Parsonage

On Sunday from 2:00 - 5:00 pm, the Caldwell Parsonage in Union Township, NJ will be open for guided tours. The museum, once the residence of Rev. James and Mrs. Hannah Caldwell, is listed on both the National and State Registers of Historic Places. Lore Ullrich and Anita Centeno will serve as docents. Admission is free. The Caldwell Parsonage is located at 909 Caldwell Avenue, Union Township, NJ. For more information, call Barbara at 908-687-0048 or visit

Sunday, February 8 - Westfield, Union County
Children Friendly

On Sunday, love is in the air! The Miller-Cory House Museum will present "Vintage Valentines" on Sunday. The program features a display of vintage valentines, but these are not standard cards! These valentines are pop-up, pull-down, fold-out, cut-out and three dimensional, and are sure to delight all ages. The program also includes another way to send romantic or sweet greetings - via a message in a bottle. Visitors may hear stories, historical and fictional, about this unusual way of communicating. Children will have the opportunity to create their own "message in a bottle" for a unique Valentine's Day gift. Light refreshments will be served.

Admission is $3.00 for adults and children 13 and older, $2.00 for children ages 3 to 12 and free under age 3. The program is from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. For more information, call 908-232-1776, e-mail, or visit

Sunday, February 8 - Trenton, Mercer County
Theatrical Clothing: The Process

On Sunday, the Trenton Museum Society presents, in conjunction with the current exhibit, "Ties That Bind: The Aprons of Trenton," a lecture on textiles entitled "Theatrical Clothing: The Process" at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, Cadwalader Park, Trenton, NJ.

The lecture and PowerPoint presentation will be given by Linda Carcaci Solorzano, a designer of theatrical clothing for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the late Joan Rivers, and world-renowned films, magazine covers and celebrities, along with her business partner Susan Handler Wakefield. They are the owners of Creative Costume Company in New York City.

With Mardi Gras looming, Linda and Susan will provide deep insights into the drama of costume. They will discuss designing for the industry and for individuals from idea to finished product, and will bring costumes and sketches to support the presentation.

Linda and Susan received their Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design from Drexel University. These former college roommates combined their design talents in 1982 to open Creative Costume Company in New York City and introduced a personalized concept of costume design to the theatrical world.

Light refreshments will be available following the presentation. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and talk with the designers. Admission is $5, or free for members of the Trenton Museum Society. The "Ties That Bind: The Aprons of Trenton" exhibit at Ellarslie will continue until March 15, 2015. This nostalgic exhibit includes aprons loaned by Trenton residents present and past. The Trenton City Museum, located in Ellarslie Mansion, is in the heart of Cadwalader Park in Trenton, NJ. For more information, call  609-989-3632 or visit

Sunday, February 8 - 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

Sunday, February 8 - Princeton, Mercer County
Historic Princeton Walking Tour
Children Friendly

Enjoy a 1.9 mile, two-hour walk around downtown Princeton and the University campus as you learn about historic sites in the area, including Bainbridge House, Nassau Hall, the University Chapel, and Palmer Square. The early history of Princeton, the founding of the University, and the American Revolution are just some of the stories from Princeton’s history that you will learn on your tour.

Admission: $7 per adult; $4 children ages 6 to 12; free for children age 5 and under. Tickets are sold at Bainbridge House, 158 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ justifying at 12:00 noon. Tour begins at 2:00 pm and ends at 4:00 pm. Space is limited. For more information, call 609-921-6748 or visit

Sunday, February 8 - Cranford, Union County
Open House at Crane-Phillips House

The Cranford Historical Society will be hosting tours of the Crane-Phillips House Museum, located at 124 North Union Avenue, Cranford, NJ on Sunday from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. Admission is free. 

The Cranford Historical Society was founded in 1927 with a mission to preserve the unique history of Cranford, New Jersey. The Society maintains the Crane-Phillips House Living Museum, an important costume collection, and archives. For more information, call 908-376-0082 or visit

Sunday, February 8 - Bridgewater, Somerset County
Georgia of the North: Slavery in New Jersey

From its very beginning, slavery was part of New Jersey's history. In their first concession agreement, the Lord Proprietors of the Province of New Caesarea, Lord Berkeley and George Carteret, offered an incentive of 75 acres of land for every slave, male or female, that settlers brought with them to the province. While white indentured servants were entitled to 75 free acres when they had completed their obligation, freed black slaves were entitled to nothing.

When Queen Anne ascended the throne in 1702, she set out instructions to the royal governor of New Jersey to work with the Royal African Company of England "so that the Province may have a constant and sufficient supply of merchantable negroes at moderate rates." The colonial assembly passed an act "Regulating Negro, Indian, and Mulatto Slaves within the Province of New Jersey," which was designed to terrorize slaves and keep them in check. The law prohibited freed slaves owning land and that law would not be repealed until 1798.

In his historical research, author and land title expert Joseph Grabas has combed through many, all-but-forgotten stories of property ownership and the pursuit of happiness by former slaves in early New Jersey. He has focused much of his research on historic land titles, the history of the New Jersey Land Recording System, and the free African American communities in Monmouth County.

Having examined over 100,000 land titles in five states and all 21 counties in New Jersey since 1978, Joseph Grabas has been recognized by the NJLTA as a Certified Title Professional and by the ALTA as a National Title Professional. Joe is a professional educator and lecturer. Joe is the author of Owning New Jersey: Historic Tales of War, Property Disputes & the Pursuit of Happiness, published by History Press.

This free event will be held from 2:00 - 3:30 pm at historic Van Horne House, 941 East Main Street, Bridgewater, NJ, just across from the Patriots Ballpark. Free parking is available behind Target and at the ballpark. Space is limited and reservations are required. For more information and to register, call 732-356-8856 or sign up at

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

Saturdays through February 28, 2015 - Freehold, Monmouth County
Farm: Agriculture in Monmouth County 1600 - 2013 - EXTENDED

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 February 28, 2015. 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 $5.00 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

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


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 fa├žade 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

Through March 29, 2015 - Paterson, Passaic County
A Closer Look at our Community: The Fine Art of Mark Oberndorf

A new exhibit entitled A Closer Look at our Community: The Fine Art of Mark Oberndorf is open through March 29, 2015 in Lambert Castle (home of the Passaic County Historical Society) at 3 Valley Road, Paterson, NJ. This exhibit focuses on the sights of our local community, as shown in the paintings of Bergen County resident and artist Mark Oberndorf.

Oberndorf’s work focuses on the views of local buildings and features within our neighborhoods. Many pieces included in A Closer Look at our Community feature Passaic County, while others portray subjects from a wider geographic area. Some subjects include restaurant signs, barber shops, private homes, and fire stations. Through his work, Oberndorf demonstrates what is beautiful, interesting and quirky in our communities. Through this exhibition visitors will be able to see their environment in a different perspective. Visitors can access the exhibition during regular museum hours (Wednesday - Sunday). General museum admissions apply. Meet the artist at the exhibit reception held at Lambert Castle on Wednesday January 14, 2015 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. The reception is free for members; for all others regular admission applies. For more information, call 973-247-0085 or visit

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

Through April 17, 2015 - Haledon, Passaic County
New Haven's Garment Workers: An Elm City Story Exhibit
Children Friendly Site

On Saturday, the American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark located in Haledon, NJ proudly opens the exhibit entitled, "New Haven's Garment Workers: An Elm City Story" on loan from the Greater New Haven Labor History Association.

Through historic photographs and artifacts, "New Haven's Garment Workers: An Elm City Story" presents a vivid portrait of the lives, victories, struggles and sacrifices of a courageous group of working people in the clothing industry in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1932 and 1933, to combat sweatshop conditions in the clothing industry, workers undertook a large-scale unionization of the industry that resulted in improvements in wages, working conditions, and hours. "Their history offers important lessons for all of us in these times," notes Joan Cavanaugh, Ph.D., the exhibit's creator. The exhibit will be on view through April 17, 2015.

The American Labor Museum is headquartered in the historic Botto House National Landmark, located at 83 Norwood Street, Haledon, NJ. It was the meeting place for over 20,000 silk mill workers during the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike. The Museum offers a free lending library, restored period rooms, changing exhibits, Museum Store, Old World Gardens, educational programs and special events. The museum's hours of operation are Monday through Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Tours are offered Wednesday through Saturday from 1:00 - 4:00 pm or by appointment. For more information, call 973-595-7953, visit, or e-mail

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 or call 732-341-1880.

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


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


Through August 2015 - Lyndhurst, Bergen County
Lyndhurst Business: Building a Community

From a ship's horn manufactured by Leslie Company to photos of steel and heat-treating plant Benedict-Miller, Inc., the Lyndhurst Historical Society is showcasing just a sampling of the many businesses that contributed to the community and beyond in its latest exhibit, "Lyndhurst Business: Building a Community," which runs from now until August 2015.

"It's New Jersey's 350th birthday and, in addition to celebrating the state as a whole, we wanted to give a nod to our local community," said Doris Bergquist, who, along with members Dale Jankowski and Doris Ludwig, curated the exhibit. "There have been and continue to be many highly regarded businesses in Lyndhurst. The Leslie Company, for example, was once in Lyndhurst and built one of the horns used on the Queen Mary."

The exhibit is free and open to the public, though a small donation to the society would be appreciated. The Little Red Schoolhouse Museum, located at 400 RIverside Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ is open on the second and fourth Sundays of every month from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. For more information, call 201-804-2513 or visit

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


Post a Comment

Thanks for the comments!