Thursday, September 6, 2018

NJ Weekend Historical Happenings: 9/8/18 - 9/9/18

 New Jersey Weekend Historical Happenings
A Weekly Feature on www.thehistorygirl.com
Want to submit an event? Use our event submission form.


Saturday, September 8 - Chester, Morris County
National Milling Day
Children Friendly Site

On Saturday from 1:00 - 3:00 pm, celebrate the 263rd birthday of Oliver Evans, a 1780s inventor, who created the first automatic flour mill. See some of his inventions at work at the Gristmill. View a collection of antique printed flour bags. Cost: FREE but donations appreciated. The Cooper Gristmill is located at 66 Route 513, Chester, NJ. For more information, call 908-879-5463 or visit www.morrisparks.net.

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Saturday, September 8 - Rutherford, Bergen County
“The Other River” - Local Hiking Enthusiast to Connect the Dots between the Lower Passaic River and its Industrial Past

“The Other River,” to be presented by urban hiking enthusiast and guide Craig Nunn, will explore the relationship of today’s post-industrial lower Passaic River Valley to its remarkable industrial past. The Meadowlands Museum will sponsor the program at the museum on Saturday, at 1:00 pm. The museum is located at 91 Crane Avenue in Rutherford, NJ, close to the intersection of routes 3 and 17. For more information, call 201-935-1175 or visit www.meadowlandsmuseum.com.

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Saturday, September 8 - Mount Laurel, Burlington County
Tour Paulsdale

Paulsdale is open to the public for Second Saturday Tours at 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm. Paulsdale is the birthplace of Quaker suffragist Alice Paul. Tours include a 15-minute presentation about Alice Paul's life and work and a guided tour of the first floor of the property where visitors learn about the Paul family's daily life in the house and its present day use as a girl's leadership center. Tours are $5.00 per person.

Paulsdale is located at 128 Hooton Road, Mount Laurel, NJ. For information about group tours or future tour dates, contact the Alice Paul Institute at 856-231-1885, e-mail info@alicepaul.org, or visit www.alicepaul.org.

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Saturday, September 8 - Holmdel, Monmouth County
Cookstove Demonstration
Children Friendly Event & Site

On Saturday, visit Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel to see what is cooking on the woodstove in the out kitchen. Discover how food, receipts, cooking techniques and the kitchen itself has changed since the 1890s. This free event runs from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm. 

Historic Longstreet Farm is located at 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel, NJ. For more information, call 732-946-3758 or visit www.monmouthcountyparks.com.

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Saturday, September 8 - Tuckerton, Ocean County
Ye Old Clamtown Antique Flea Market

On Saturday from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, the Tuckerton Historical Society hosts its annual Ye Old Clamtown Antique Flea Market at Tip Seaman Park in Tuckerton, NJ. The flea market will feature about 70 vendors. Support the Tuckerton Historical Society as they celebrate 42 years of hosting this event. Rain dates are Sunday, September 9 or Saturday, September 15. For more information, call 609-685-1528 or visit www.tuckertonhistoricalsociety.org.

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Saturday, September 8 -  Morris Township, Morris County
Farm Know-How on the Go: Granary and Ensilage Pits
Children Friendly Event and Site

On Saturday at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm from 2:00 - 2:45 pm, take a guided walk to the Granary and Ensilage Pits to discover how they were used. Help prepare ensilage, a livestock feed made by chopping green corn. 

Admission: $6 for adults; $5 for seniors (65+); $4 for children ages 4 – 16; and $2for children ages 2 and 3. FREE for children under age 2 and Friends members with a current membership card. Fosterfields Living Historical Farm is located at 73 Kahdena Road, Morristown, NJ. For more information, visit www.morrisparks.net.

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Saturday, September 8 - South Bound Brook, Somerset County
Songs of the Revolution


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Saturday, September 8 - Ewing, Mercer County
Ewing Historical Society Annual Flea Market

The Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society's Annual Flea Market will be held on Saturday from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm at the Benjamin Temple House, 27 Federal City Road, Ewing, NJ. Shop for bargains and support the society!

The Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society was founded in the early 1970s, and seeks to preserve, promote, and interpret the history of the township. For more information, call 609-883-2455 or visit www.ethps.org.

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Saturday, September 8 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Back to School
Children Friendly Site

School bells ring once again in Pleasant Valley when Howell Farm invites the public to participate in a unique "back to school" day. The program features the educational, social and cultural activities centered on the "one-room school" in rural life of 1900.

The Howell Farm school mistress has McGuffey readers, slates, and slate pencils ready for students of all ages to begin their lessons in the three R's. Visitors can take a seat in an antique school desk and try their hand at orthography using pen and ink, or attempt to solve farm related arithmetic problems on the chalkboard. As in yesteryear, children can help with farm chores before attending the "one-room school.

The school bell will ring to begin lessons, for recess, and a quick tour of the privy. During recess, children will be introduced to hoops and sticks, tug of war and other old-fashioned games and toys. School lunches served in baskets or pails will be sold.

Participants in the school program may also attend the "box social". Well-wrapped boxes of homemade pies or goodies will be auctioned off to benefit the school. The lucky gentleman who wins the bid on the teacher's pie will also share her company.

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 www.howellfarm.org.

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Saturday, September 8 - Cape May, Cape May County
Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour
Family Friendly

Take this spine-tingling, 30-minute evening trolley ride through the streets of Cape May with a guide who relates the paranormal findings of medium Craig McManus on Saturday at 9:00 pm. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for children (ages 3-12). Tours leave from the Washington Street Mall Information Booth at Ocean Street. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit www.capemaymac.org.

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Saturday, September 8 - Cape May, Cape May County
Underground Railroad Trolley Tour

On Saturday at 10:15 am, climb aboard our newest trolley tour to hear true tales of Cape May’s connection to the Underground Railroad. Hear how enslaved people in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia braved strong currents and stormy seas to free themselves, guided by the beacon of the Cape May Lighthouse. Hear why the legendary Harriet Tubman walked these streets before her freedom runs to the Eastern Shore. See the summer refuge of the formerly enslaved Stephen Smith, one of America’s wealthiest businessmen whose railroad cars ferried hundreds to freedom. Includes a tour of the Owen Coachman house, a meticulously restored antebellum home of a free Black family whose relative was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Board the trolley at the Washington Street Mall information booth at Ocean Street for this 2-hour tour. Admission is $20. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit www.capemaymac.org.

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Saturday - Sunday, September 8 - 9 - Cape May, Cape May County
Emlen Physick Estate Tour
Family Friendly Tour

Take a guided tour of Cape May's Emlen Physick Estate, the magnificent Stick Style mansion attributed to renowned Victorian architect Frank Furness. A tour of the 15 beautifully restored rooms gives you a glimpse into the lifestyle of this Victorian-era Cape May family. Physick Estate Tours take approximately 45 minutes and end with a visit to the 1876 Carriage House where you can see the current exhibit in the Carroll Gallery. On Saturday, the tours start at 10:30 am, 11:45 am, and 1:00 pm. On Sunday, the tours start at 12:30 pm, 1:45 pm, and 3:00 pm. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for children (ages 3-12). Tickets can be purchased at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information and to reserve tickets, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit www.capemaymac.org.

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Saturday - Sunday, September 8 - 9 - Lower Township, Cape May County
World War II Tower Lookout Museum and Memorial Open
Family Friendly

Fire Control Tower No. 23 on Sunset Boulevard is New Jersey's last freestanding World War II tower, part of the immense Harbor Defense of the Delaware system known as Fort Miles. After an award-winning restoration in 2009, visitors can climb to the 6th floor spotting gallery while learning about the homeland defense efforts during World War II. The ground floor of the tower, the All Veterans Memorial, and boardwalk interpretive panels are fully accessible. Open Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children (ages 3-12) (One child free with paying adult). The World War II Lookout Tower is located on Sunset Boulevard in Lower Township, near Cape May Point. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit www.capemaymac.org.

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Saturday - Sunday, September 8 - 9 - Cape May, Cape May County
Revolutionary War Encampment at Historic Cold Spring Village
Children Friendly Event & Site

Authentically clad and equipped Continental, Loyalist and Hessian reenactors bring the American Revolution to life on the grounds of Historic Cold Spring Village on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am - 4:30 pm.

The event will feature encampments, weaponry and demonstrations from living history groups, including Continentals, Loyalists and Hessians

Children can participate in a militia muster and search the Village for clues in the Cold Spring Patriot Spy game on both Saturday and Sunday. HCSV Deputy Director for Education and Interpretation, Jim Stephens, will also give a special presentation, "The Story of Old Glory," a fascinating look at the origins and history of our nation’s flag, at 2:00 pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Visitors can also experience an artillery demonstration both days at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.

The Village is located on Route 9, three miles north of Victorian Cape May and a mile and a half west of the southern terminus of the Garden State Parkway. Admission during the season is $14 for adults and $12 for children ages 3 to 12. Children under 3 are admitted free. Unlimited free admission is available with Village membership. The Village Nature Trail at Bradner's Run is open to the public for free self-guided tours. For more information, call 609-898-2300, ext. 10, or visit www.hcsv.org.

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Sunday, September 9 - Princeton, Mercer County
Historic Princeton Walking Tour
Children Friendly Tour

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. Tours begin in front of the Bainbridge House, 158 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ. Tour begins at 2:00 pm and ends at 4:00 pm. Walk up ticket sales are cash only; guides cannot provide change. Space is limited. For more information and to reserve tickets, call 609-921-6748 or visit www.princetonhistory.org.

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Sunday, September 9 - Morris Township, Morris County
Who Cut the Wood?
Children Friendly Event & Site


Wood was crucial to Fosterfields long ago. Watch, or participate, in the cutting of wood for use around the farm on Sunday at 1:00 and 2:00 pm.

Admission: $6 for adults; $5 for seniors (65+); $4 for children ages 4 – 16; and $2for children ages 2 and 3. FREE for children under age 2 and Friends members with a current membership card. Fosterfields Living Historical Farm is located at 73 Kahdena Road, Morristown, NJ. For more information, visit www.morrisparks.net.

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Sunday, September 9 - Morris Township, Morris County
Lincoln and Lee’s Ladies: Fashions of the Civil War Historic Fashion Show

Fashions from the Civil War era are some of the most recognizable in history. During the 10th annual historic fashion show at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, models wear clothing from before, during, and after the war to demonstrate how The War Between the States also influenced women’s attire. Tours run every hour between 1:00 and 4:00 pm.

Admission: $7/adult, $6/senior (65+), $5/child (ages 4 -16), and FREE for children under age 4 and Friends members, with a current membership card. The Frelinghuysen Arboretum is located at 353 Hanover Avenue, Morris Township, NJ. For more information, visit www.morrisparks.net.

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Sunday, September 9 - Manalapan, Monmouth County
New Jersey Troops in the Battle of Monmouth

On Sunday at 2:00 pm, attend a program on the role of New Jersey Troops in the Battle of Monmouth. Meet in the Monmouth Battlefield visitor center auditorium. Monmouth Battlefield State Park is located at 16 New Jersey Business 33, Manalapan, NJ. For more information, visit www.friendsofmonmouth.org.

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Sunday, September 9 - Holmdel, Monmouth County
Blacksmith Demonstration
Children Friendly Event & Site

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 11:00 am - 3:00 pm. 

Historic Longstreet Farm is located at 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel, NJ. For more information, call 732-946-3758 or visit www.monmouthcountyparks.com.

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Sunday, September 9 - Eatontown, Monmouth County
“Irish Surnames and Place Names”

The Monmouth County Genealogy Society invites you to enjoy “Irish Surnames and Place Names in Irish Genealogy” presented by Micheal O’Maille, Irish scholar and seanachai (a traditional Irish story teller) on Sunday at 1:30 pm at the Community Center, 72 Broad Street, Eatontown.

A native of Connemara, County Galway, Eire, O’Maille is also known as Michael O’Malley, but prefers the Irish spelling. A long-time Jersey Shore resident, he is a frequent speaker at local Irish groups as well as at venues in neighboring states. O’Maille was born and educated in Ireland where he became fluent in the Irish language at a time when it was in danger of disappearing. He continued to immerse himself in the history and literature of Ireland during his successful business career which led to a second career as a lecturer in Irish Studies and a teacher of the Irish language. He is a member of the John Walsh Chapter of the Irish American Cultural Institute (IACI) where he has given presentations on many different aspects of Irish life and culture.

The meeting is free and the public is welcome.

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Sunday, September 9 - West Orange, Essex County
Geothermal Tour at the Glenmont Estate

Go "behind the scenes" at the Edison home. Join a guide for a walk through the basement of the famous house and learn about its new geothermal heating and cooling system. This program will last about 30 minutes at take place at 1:30 and again at 2:30 pm. It focuses on the technical aspects of the environmentally friendly geothermal system. The basement is not wheelchair accessible.

The tour is included with regular admission. Tickets must be purchased at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park Laboratory Complex Visitor Center at 211 Main Street, West Orange, NJ. Admission is $10.00 for adults, and includes the Glenmont Estate and the Laboratory Complex. Children under age 16 are free. For more information, call 973-736-0550 x33 or visit www.nps.gov/edis.

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Sunday, September 9 - Lambertville, Hunterdon County
Walking tour of Mount Hope Cemetery

On Sunday from 2:00 - 3:15 pm, take a walking tour of Mt. Hope Cemetery in Lambertville, NJ. John Holly, the cemetery’s president since 2001, will discuss the history of Mount Hope, where more than 4,000 people are buried, back to its incorporation in 1848 and even before. John will show us Strangers Ground, where the poor were buried for decades in unmarked graves. We will also see grand monuments such as the Boozer Bench, the Moore family obelisk, the Larison memorial, and the Taylor mausoleum, as well as headstones of other notable residents, such as John Hart Ott, grandson of John Hart, who signed the Declaration of Independence.

John will explain the layout and logistics of the cemetery and point out unusual features, such as the grave site for a reputed witch who may have been exhumed. Join us for a memorable walk on “Mt. Hope’s green hill side.”

Mt. Hope Cemetery is located at 72 S. Franklin St, Lambertville, NJ. Admission for non-members is $5.00 and Lambertville Historical Society members are free. For parking and meet up information click here. For more information, visit the LHS Facebook events page.

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Sunday, September 9 - Piscataway, Middlesex County
Historical Music Series


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Sunday, September 9 - Readington, Hunterdon County
Open Hearth Cooking
Family Friendly Event

Ketchup without tomatoes? Apple pie prepared in a bake kettle? Come to our open hearth cooking program on Sunday from 1:00 - 4:00 pm as Deborah Peterson, culinary historian, demonstrates how to use a bake kettle, otherwise known as a Dutch oven, to make apple pie. Also, learn how to make English ketchup which is a cooking sauce that does not include tomatoes as modern ketchup does.

Deborah Peterson comes to us from the Historic Rittenhouse Town in Fairmont Park, Philadelphia and the Morgan Log House in Towamencin, PA. She has also interpreted in a multitude of museums along the Mid-Atlantic region, including Colonial Williamsburg, Washington Crossing State Park, and the Pennsbury Manor.

This program is held at the Bouman-Stickney Farmstead in the Stanton section of Readington, GPS address: 114 Dreahook Road Lebanon NJ 08833. For more information, call 908-236-2327 or visit www.readingtontwp.org/ReadingtonMuseums.html

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Sunday, September 9 - Whippany, Morris County
Excursion Train Rides & Touch-A-Truck Day
Children Friendly Event & Site

Spend Sunday at the Whippany Railway Museum on a 10-mile, 45-minute round trip excursion from Whippany to Roseland on a mid-1900s Excursion Train. The combined age of the equipment used on the vintage train is an astounding 635 years! Be on the lookout for deer, turtles, wild turkeys, hawks, and rabbits, as the route takes you past a natural swamp with abundant wildlife. Trains depart at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 pm from 1 Railroad Plaza at the Intersection of Route 10 West & Whippany Road in Whippany, NJ. Train fare is: Adult: $16; child (under 12): $11; infants (1 year and under): Free. Train Fare includes admission to Whippany Railway Museum Building.

It's also our very first "Touch-A-Truck", a fun family outing offering children of all ages a hands-on opportunity to explore working trucks of all types, and meet the people who build, protect and serve the local community. Vehicles on display will include fire trucks, transport vehicles, and  construction vehicles all staged on the museum grounds and free of charge! Climb into the cabs, honk the horns, examine the equipment, flash the lights, and creatively explore the trucks with guidance from the respective professionals who will explain the equipment and discuss the work each vehicle performs. Each train ticket holder will receive a special commemorative keepsake of the day.

The "Excursion Train Ride" is a fundraising effort to benefit the Whippany Railway Museum, a 501 (c)3 non-profit Operating Heritage Railroad that is staffed by Volunteers. Donations from the public help to keep the Museum operational, but funds are still required to support this unique New Jersey treasure. Proceeds from the train rides will further enhance the Museum's mission and its Historic Preservation efforts. For more information, call 973-887-8177 or visit www.whippanyrailwaymuseum.net.

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Sunday, September 9 - Somers Point, Atlantic County
Richard Somers Day

The City of Somers Point and the Somers Point Historical Society will sponsor the annual Richard Somers Day on Sunday at 2:00 pm. The ceremony features information about Barbary War hero Richard Somers who was born in Somers Point, an honor guard, and more. The program will be held at the Richard Somers Memorial Park, 801 Shore Road, Somers Point, NJ. For additional information, call 609-927-2900.


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Through September 2018 - Freehold, Monmouth County
Summer at the Jersey Shore Exhibition

The months of June through August mean a time of sun, fun, and outdoor activities at the Jersey Shore. Monmouth County Historical Association now features an exhibition that captures some of the various pastimes that were offered to visitors years ago during the summer season. Summer at the Jersey Shore will remain on view through September 2018. Museum hours are Tuesdays - Saturdays 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. 

Paintings, prints, and drawings dating from 1850 to 1940 illustrate such things as horse racing, sun and sea bathing, sport fishing, casino gambling, preaching on the beach, steamboats that served the shore, and shore landscapes. Artists represented include Alfred T. Bricher, George C. Lambdin, Winslow Homer, August Kollner, John W. Alexander, Theodore R. Davis of Asbury Park, and Michel Jacobs of Rumson. Scenes depict activities at Sea Bright, Long Branch, Monmouth Park, Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Manasquan, and Cape May. Souvenirs displayed from Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, and Red Bank displays the types of mementos that shore visitors could purchase as a token of their summertime experience, either as a day-tripper or as an extended stay guest at one of the many hotels and boarding houses available in New Jersey's coastal communities.

In many respects, shore visitors of the twenty-first century can take advantage of the same range of activities as those who enjoyed the area's attractions in the nineteenth century, with a large gap in between. In 1894, New Jersey outlawed horse racing and gambling. In the intervening years, they have been restored. Horse racing returned to a new Monmouth Park in 1946, casino gambling to Atlantic City in 1976, and Governor Murphy placed the first bet under the new sports betting law at Monmouth Park on June 13. The sun, sandy beaches, saltwater fishing, social life, and easy access from Philadelphia or New York continue to draw thousands of visitors to the Jersey Shore each year.

For more information, visit www.monmouthhistory.org.

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Through Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - Cape May, Cape May County
Capturing Cape May's Architecture: The Making of a National Historic Landmark

In the early 1970s, a team from the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) produced pen and ink drawings of Cape May, NJ's most significant historic structures that were instrumental in saving this seaside town - "the best-preserved late 19th century resort in America." The drawings enabled Cape May to become a National Historic Landmark and a national tourist destination. Now, for the first time, these intricate drawings and the stories of the architects whose hands created them are on exhibit at the Carroll Gallery. Curator Karen Fox, author of The Chalfonte, provides visitors with a unique look at how a small band of preservationists saved not only the buildings, but a culture of the past creating a future. The exhibit "Capturing Cape May's Architecture: The Making of a National Historic Landmark" is on display at the Carroll Gallery in the Carriage House of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. The exhibit is presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) and is open daily through Wednesday, October 31, 2018; times vary. Admission is free. MAC is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the preservation, interpretation, and cultural enrichment of the Cape May region for its residents and visitors. MAC membership is open to all. For information about MAC's year-round schedule of tours, festivals, and special events call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, or visit MAC's www.capemaymac.org.

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Through December 28, 2018 -  Morristown, Morris County
George Washington’s Headquarters: Photographs by Xiomáro

Morristown National Historical Park (NHP) invites the public to view the exhibition George Washington’s Headquarters: Photographs by Xiomáro. The 22 large images of the Ford Mansion – Washington’s base of operations during the Revolutionary War winter of 1779-1780 – are on view in the museum until December 28, 2018. The exhibition of Xio’s photographs of Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters highlights the house’s dual role as a residence. 

Xiomáro (pronounced “SEE-oh-MAH-ro”) is an internationally-recognized artist and speaker whose photography has been covered by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and CBS Eyewitness News. His work has been widely exhibited at venues such as Harvard University and New York City’s Fraunces Tavern Museum. Next year, Arcadia Publishing is releasing Xio’s photo book, Weir Farm National Historic Site, about Julian Alden Weir, the father of American Impressionist painting.

A free eBook of the photographs is available at www.xiomaro.comThe exhibit is at the Morristown National Historical Park’s Washington Headquarters Museum, 30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ. Admission is free. For more information. visit www.nps.gov/morr.

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Through 2018 - Woodbury, Gloucester County
Out of the Box: Rare & Unusual Objects

Intrigued about what might lie behind closed doors in a museum? Out of the Box: Rare & Unusual Objects, our new exhibit at the Gloucester County Historical Society Museum, will give visitors a peek into some of our most exceptional artifacts. Objects that have not been on view to the public for years will be out on display for all to see. We have chosen an array of unique items from every category imaginable in the museum’s collection. Most of these artifacts are between 100 – 200 years old, and haven’t seen the light of day in decades. Come to experience the rare, odd, quirky, beautiful, and even creepy treasures just waiting to be revealed. The exhibit opens on Sunday, April 29 when admission will be free that day! The exhibit will be closed on Mondays, and summer Sundays, but open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1:00 - 4:00 pm from May 2 through the summer months. Monday hours will resume on September 5, 2018, along with last Sunday of the month hours. Please visit www.gchsnj.org for further details. The Gloucester County Historical Society Museum is located at 58 N. Broad Street, Woodbury, NJ. For more information, call 856-848-8531 or visit www.gchsnj.org.

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Through December 30, 2018 - Piscataway, Middlesex County
Over There, Over Here: New Jersey During orld War I 


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Through June 2019 - Ocean Township, Monmouth County
"Wet as the Atlantic Ocean: Prohibition in New Jersey”

The 18th Amendment—the measure that made the manufacture, sale, or transport of alcoholic beverages a federal offense for the 13 years, 10 months, 19 days, and 17 hours of Prohibition—was repealed in 1933. It is the only Constitution Amendment ever to be undone. And its doing and undoing were the results of a tug-of-war between the “Wets” and the “Drys” that played out across the country.

A new exhibit opening to the public Sunday, in the Richmond Gallery of the Eden Woolley House reveals where New Jersey stood in that tug-of-war. “Wet as the Atlantic Ocean: Prohibition in NJ” brings the debates, glamour, and violence of the Roaring Twenties home.

How did it happen?
The prohibition debate had been argued across the country for nearly a century before the 18th Amendment outlawed alcohol nationwide. Maine passed the first state prohibition law in 1846 and by the Civil War, several other states had followed suit.

So what happened in the first decades of the next century to elevate debate into a campaign for a Constitutional Amendment—that took the fight national?

• Drunkenness was a real problem. The proliferation of saloons fueled a drinking culture, and between 1900 and 1913, beer and alcohol consumption soared. Women and families suffered.
• Women had been campaigning for abstinence since the early 1800s, By the turn of the century they were finding their voice, stridently advocating for the vote-— and increasingly for prohibition. Organizations like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union were gaining ground.
• Many Americans felt threatened by the influx of immigrants whose cultural norms around alcohol threatened prevailing white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant values.
• On the global scene, the unthinkable carnage of the First World War and the alarming success of the Russian Revolution fueled a nostalgic longing for control and order.

Under these conditions, pro-prohibition sentiment grew. By 1919 more than half the country lived in dry states, counties, or towns. If the 18th Amendment were to be passed, it needed to happen before the 1920 census, the results of which would give greater power to the anti-prohibition cities.

The last state to Ratify
Ours was the last state to ratify the 18th amendment and it did so in 1922, two years after the measure was in effect. (Rhode Island and Connecticut never ratified.) We fought Prohibition in court. New Jersey joined Rhode Island in a losing challenge before the Supreme Court (1920). And we were back in 1931, when the Supreme Court overruled a New Jersey federal judge’s decision invalidating the 18th Amendment.

New Jersey’s Resistance
It’s no surprise, then, that Prohibition enforcement in New Jersey was lax. Local fishermen and boaters shuttled bootlegged liquor to shore from rum-running ships lined up just outside the legal limit. Speakeasies thrived with little risk of raid. The state underfunded enforcement. Corruption was rampant. Local police turned a blind eye. Even the teetotaling and incorruptible Ira Reeves, the man put in charge of federal enforcement in New Jersey, resigned after eight months and took up the anti-Prohibition cause!

This exhibit runs through June 2019. The Township of Ocean Historical Museum offers exhibits on the history of coastal Monmouth County and a full calendar of events. The Museum also houses a library and archive of local history. It is open, free of charge, 1:00 - 4:00 pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday, 7:00 - 9:00 pm Thursday evenings, and 1:00 - 4:00 pm the first and second Sundays of each month. The Township of Ocean Historical Museum is located at 703 Deal Road, Ocean, NJ. For more information, visit www.oceanmuseum.org.

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

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