Friday, March 6, 2015

NJ Weekend Historical Happenings: 3/7/15 - 3/8/15

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Saturday, March 7 - Princeton, Mercer County
Community Days at Updike Farmstead
Children Friendly

Updike Farmstead is open to the public on Saturday! Visitors can explore the grounds and browse the farmhouse galleries; exhibitions offer a glimpse into the area’s farming history, a way of life that is largely gone. 

Special activities for March 7: Families are invited to visit between 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm to learn more about Boys and Girls Clubs, take a short guided tour of the Farmstead, and make a craft. Presentations will be at 12:30 and 1:30 pm. Tours at 12:00 noon, 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm. 

Updike Farmstead, a community resource offering education, timeless beauty and wonder, is open the first Saturday each month from 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm. Special themed activities are planned each month, including walking tours, workshops and crafts for children.

Admission is $4, and includes all exhibits and activities. Bring a camera to capture the incredible beauty of this historic site, surrounded by acres of preserved farmland.

The Updike Farmstead is situated in the Princeton Battlefield/Stony Brook Settlement Historic District at 354 Quaker Road, Princeton, NJ. For more information, call 609-921-6748 or visit

Saturday, March 7 - Freehold, Monmouth County
Open Hearth Cooking and Open House
Children Friendly

Monmouth County Historical Association invites the public to enjoy Open Hearth Open House at the Covenhoven House on Saturday from 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm. Come and observe eighteenth-century style cooking over the blazing open hearth. Visitors will see food being made from authentic "receipts" provided by our hearth cook. This Open Hearth program will feature asparagus soup, roasted and stewed ducks, apple fritters, and corn pancakes. As you take a guided tour of the house stories of families living the Colonial Life will be told. The tour will include a demonstration of how tea was served in the eighteenth century.

Guided tours of this preserved landmark house, built in 1752 for William and Elizabeth Covenhoven will be provided. The Covenhoven House later served as headquarters for British General Sir Henry Clinton before the Battle of Monmouth in June of 1778.

Admission is free - bring the family. The Covenhoven House is located at 150 West Main Street in Freehold near the Route 9 overpass. Parking is available at Grace Lutheran Church at the corner of West Main Street and Business Route 33. For more information, call 732-462-1466 or visit

Saturday, March 7 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Winter Kitchen
Children Friendly

On Saturday, Howell Living Farm's circa 1900 kitchen will be open to the public, offering visitors a chance to experience sights, smells, and tastes of a bygone era. Cooking activities, recipe sampling and hands-on experiences are planned for all.

During the morning, a restored Glenwood Stove will be used to prepare a meal that farmers would have had for their noontime dinner. In the afternoon, we’ll be baking “goodies” in the wood stove oven. The menu features recipes from the Pleasant Valley Historic District.

Visitors young and old will have opportunities to help in the kitchen - doing everything from collecting wood for the fire to churning butter. Those visitors who want to help outside the kitchen can contribute by gathering eggs from the henhouse for baking, splitting wood, and gathering kindling to keep the stove going. Inside help will be needed to prepare the vegetables, peel apples, wash dishes, and make biscuits. Helpers can also darn socks, help repair the horse blanket, and crochet or knit.

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, March 8 - Madison, Morris County
In High Spirits: Drinking Wine and Liquor in the 1830s

The Friends of Mead Hall welcome the public to Mead Hall at Drew University, 36 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ for a talk, "In High Spirits: Drinking Wine and Liquor in the 1830s," on Sunday at 3:00 pm.

Drinking a different wine with every course of your meal was considered the height of elegance during the time the Gibbons family lived in Mead Hall. Mr. Gibbons had a notoriously well-stocked cellar, and from his accounts, it is clear that he enjoyed many of the popular wines of the times: from Claret to Madeira to "Champaign." He also seems to have consumed beer-quite different from the kind we drink today-and alcoholic cider, which in those times people sometimes had for breakfast.

Jennifer Scanlan, a New York-based  wine independent curator focusing on historical and contemporary decorative arts and designs will discuss the many kinds of wine and spirits that might have appeared on the table in Mead Hall. The talk is followed by a wine-tasting reception, when some of the types of drinks known to Gibbons in the pre-Civil War period of the 19th century can be sampled. The event is free for all Friends of Mead Hall members or $10.00 for non-members.

Mead Hall is an outstanding example of the Greek revival style, built in 1833-36 by William Gibbons as a country home. In 1867, "the Forest" was purchased by Daniel Drew for the founding of the Methodist seminary and renamed Mead Hall after his wife. Today Mead Hall serves as an administrative center for Drew University. For more information, call 973-805-8855 or visit

Sunday, March 8 - Bridgewater, Somerset County
Alexander Hamilton: Washington’s Indispensable Partner

On Sunday, in this fascinating talk presented by Rand Scholet, you’ll learn the depth, breadth and significance of the many contributions of one of our Founding Fathers and chief aide to Washington. Rand Scholet is founder of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Association. In recent years, he has dedicated his life to reading, researching and analyzing what our Founding Fathers accomplished and how, with a particular expertise in all things Hamiltonian. This program is free, but space is limited and reservations are suggested. The program runs from 2:00 - 4:00 pm at the Van Horne House, 941 East Main Street, Bridgewater, NJ. For more information and to register, call 732-356-8856 or visit

Sunday, March 8 - Lambertville, Hunterdon County
Home Renovation Presentation

Get inspired to start the spring by working on those house projects. Three Lambertville home owners share their stories and advice on how to renovate an older home. The program will take place from 1:00 - 3:30 pm at the Lambertville House - 1812 Room, 32 Bridge Street, Lambertville, NJ. Admission: $5.00 for non-members and free to members of the society.

This will be a panel presentation with time for questions. Presenting will be local homeowners: Holly Havens, Lauren and Kyle Braun-Strumfels, and Laurie and Mark Weinstein. For more information, visit

Sunday, March 8 through July 2015 - Ridgewood, Bergen County
"Hemlines" Exhibit Opening

The Ridgewood Historical Society and the Schoolhouse Museum are pleased to be opening their new exhibit, Hemlines, opening on Sunday. This exhibit features women's hats, shoes, handbags, jewelry, furs, wedding attire, and fabulous dresses from 1900 to 1969. Hemlines will run through the end of July. The Schoolhouse Museum is open Thursdays and Saturdays from 1:00 - 3:00 pm and Sundays from 2:00 - 4:0 pm. Hemlines is a "must see" exhibit for anyone interested in fashion! The Schoolhouse Museum is located at 650 East Glen Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ. For more information, call 201-447-3242 or visit

Sunday, March 8 - Cape May Court House, Cape May County
Celebrate Women's History Month

Freeholder E. Marie Hayes and the Cape May County Culture & Heritage Commission invite you to participate in "Corresponding Women" to celebrate Women's History Month. The exhibit  features the paintings, drawings, and letter correspondence of two local artists. Cheryl Crews writes from her home studio in the Jersey Cape. Barbara Maxwell corresponds from her home studio in the Pines of Sweetwater, Atlantic County.

As dedicated artists and communicators, they share their agonies and ecstasies of Art Making as they aim to bring form to their personal experiences and expressions. The letter correspondence began in October 2011, and they have exchanged more than 3,000 letters, profusely illustrated. In addition to the art and letters of the artists, the exhibit will include letters from women in history.

The public is invited to the opening reception of "Corresponding Women: First Letter Stringing Bee and Pot Luck" on Sunday, from 1:00 - 4:00 pm at the Thomas Beesley House, 605 Route 9 North, Cape May Court House, NJ - just south of the Cape May County Park and Zoo. The letters will be strung with red ribbon and will become part of the exhibit installation. The public is invited to help string the letters for the exhibit. Men as well as women are encouraged to participate. The letters that are strung will help the artists create a major exhibit for Atlantic Cape Community College in the fall. Be part of women's history in the making. Bring along some food to share.

For more information, please contact the Division of Culture & Heritage at or call 609-463-6415.

Sunday, March 8 - Cranford, Union County
Cranford's Prominent Women

To celebrate Women's History Month, the Cranford Historical Society presents "Cranford's Prominent Women," a PowerPoint presentation by Women's Studies Historian Christine Glazer on Sunday at the Crane-Phillips House Museum, from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. The program will start promptly at 2:15 pm.

The program will depict Cranford residents who were active in the early progressive movements for women's rights, temperance, pure food and drugs, authors, civil leaders, and educators. These women include Alice Lakey, Elizabeth Bates, Dr. Deborah Wolfe and Honore Willsie-Morrow.

Admission is free but reservations are required. To reserve your seat, please call the Historical Society's office at 908-276-0082 or e-mail

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, March 8 - Trenton, Mercer County
"Yes, Aprons Are a Symbol. But of What?"

On Sunday, The Trenton City Museum, Ellarslie Mansion will host a textile lecture in conjunction with the exhibit "Ties That Bind: Aprons of Trenton." One of two talks on successive weekends, it constitute a symposium on the Meaning and Social Significance of Aprons. 

The first talk, on Sunday at 1:00 pm, entitled "Yes, Aprons Are a Symbol. But of What?" will be a Q&A by Exhibit Co-Curator David Bosted. The drama of costume depends in part on its symbolic value. Members of the Princeton Rug Society will attend to give their views on the aprons as textile art, and to place these textiles in an international context. Attendees are invited to wear an apron which they feel has special significance. 

The "Ties That Bind" exhibit at Ellarslie will continue until March 15, 2015. This nostalgic exhibit includes aprons loaned by Trenton residents present and past. Featured are 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

Sunday, March 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, March 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, March 8 - Montclair, Essex County
House Tours and Hearth Cooking Demonstration
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. This Sunday, there will also be a hearth cooking demonstration and tasting. The site is open from 1:00 - 4:00 pm.

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, March 8 - Greenwich, Cumberland County
Cumberland County, New Jersey: 265 Years of History

Charles H. Harrison is the third author in the Cumberland County Historical Society's "Meet the Author" Winter Series. He will discuss some of the highlights of Cumberland County's history included in his book, such as the founding of the glass industry and LIFE Magazine's calling Seabrook Farms the biggest of its kind in the world. The book also contains stories from the county's many municipalities. This program, sponsored by the Cumberland County Historical Society, is free and open to the public. It begins at 2:00 pm at the Warren and Reba Lummis Genealogical & Historical Library, 981 Ye Greate Street, Greenwich, NJ.

Mr. Harrison is the co-author or author of eleven non-fiction books. His most recent books are Growing a Global Village: Making History at Seabrook Farms; Tending the Garden State: Preserving Agriculture in New Jersey; A History of Salem County, NJ: Tomatoes and TNT; and Cumberland County, New Jersey: 265 Years of History. Mr. Harrison is also the author of four novels: No Longer Warriors which was produced as a play by a professional theatre company in 2007; Boardwalk Ambush; Dancing 'Round the Liberty Tree; and Blood in Alloways Creek.

Mr. Harrison, a retired daily newspaper reporter and editor, now is a freelance writer for magazines. Recent articles have appeared in GRIT, Planning, Inside Jersey and New Jersey Monthly. For more than 25 years, Mr. Harrison was an adjunct professor of journalism at Glassboro State, now Rowan University. He is the author of the textbook How to Write for Magazines.

Sunday, March 8 - Hammonton, Atlantic County
Lines on the Pines

On Sunday, attend the 10th Annual Lines on the Pines - a gathering of artists, authors and artisans whose passion is the Pine Barrens of New Jersey! Enjoy a wonderful day meeting Pine Barrens authors, artists and artisans! Over fifty talented Pine Barrens People will be on hand to sign their books, display their artwork or craft, play their music and in general, share their love of the Pine Barrens! The event runs from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm at Kerri Brooke Caterers, 755 South White Horse Pike / Route 30, Hammonton, NJ. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Through Sunday, March 8 Montclair, Essex County
"In the Spirit of Freedom" - Quilt Exhibit

The Montclair Historical Society is so excited for the continuation of "In the Spirit of Freedom," a temporary exhibition of contemporary quilts by the Nubian Heritage Quilters Guild on display at the Montclair Historical Society. The Guild is celebrating 20 years of wonderful quilt-making and community engagement and showcases its latest work every two years at the historical society. This show comes wonderfully following the launch of the YWCA exhibition and in the wake of the spectacular quilt exhibition at the Montclair Art Museum.

Quilters, art lovers, anyone interested in local crafts and folk art, as well as those of us who continue to love and support African American art and culture will be sure to love this exhibition. The Nubian Quilters Guild is a local treasure and the historical society always looks forward to this biennial showcase. The exhibition will be on display from Saturday, February 21 - March 1, 2015 and available for viewing on Sundays from 1:00 - 4:00 pm at the Crane House, 106 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ. For more information, call 973-744-1796, e-mail, or visit

Through March 15, 2015 - Trenton, Mercer County
Ties That Bind: The Aprons of Trenton - EXTENDED

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 March 15, 2015. 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 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 Friday, 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 April 18, 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 Saturday, April 18, 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 façade 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 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

Through September 1, 2015 - Morristown, Morris County
Treasures from the Collection

There's something for everyone to enjoy in the Morris County Historical Society's new exhibit, "Treasures from the Collection," now featured at Acorn Hall through September 1, 2015. See everything from clothing to documents, militaria to fine arts, and furniture to photography, and more in this treasure trove display from Morris County, and beyond. Highlights include heirlooms from notable local families such as the McEwans, the Condits, the Lindsleys, and the Bonsalls, and spectacular stickpins from the remarkable collection of MCHS Board Member Emeritus Learned T. Bulman.

Pieces from across the country include an 1876 ball gown worn to the Centennial Celebration in Washington, D.C., an assortment of 19th-century U.S. flags, a scarab stick pin from the reign of Ramesses II, and various 19th-century weaponry and artifacts related to the Civil War. Compare earlier fashion trends to the haute couture Pucci-inspired mini-dress, circa 1960s. For the furniture aficionados, marvel at a Victorian-era papier-mâché chair, a mahogany Chippendale chair, and a Hitchcock-style chair from Morristown furniture maker, H. Frazee. Travel with ease to faraway Japan, and experience Asian art in the form of wood block prints and porcelain vases.

Admission to tour Acorn Hall and to see the exhibit is $6 for adults; $5 for seniors; $3 for students, and free for children age 12 and under and MCHS members. To view the exhibit, only, is one half of the admission. Acorn Hall is open for tours on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm, and on Sundays from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm. For more information, call the Morris County Historical Society at 973-267-3465 or visit

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


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