Category: Educational Museums

Atlantic County Historical Society                       907 Shore Road                                              Somers Point, NJ 08294

Atlantic County Historical Society 907 Shore Road Somers Point, NJ 08294

Atlantic County Historical Society

907 Shore Road

Somers Point, NJ 08294

(609) 927-5218

https://www.atlanticcountyhistoricalsocietynj.org/

https://www.facebook.com/AtlanticCountyHistoricalSociety/

Open: Sunday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-3:30pm

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46825-d24142996-Reviews-Atlantic_County_Historical_Society-Somers_Point_New_Jersey.html

The Atlantic County Historical Society at 907 Shore Avenue

The Atlantic County Historical Society

I recently visited the historical sites of Somers Point and took my time to tour the Atlantic County Historical Society, which tells the story of life in Atlantic County from the beginnings to today with a major concentration the early history of the County with the Native American Lenape Indians and into the late 1700’s and 1800’s with the founding of the town, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, shipbuilding, fishing and the start of the Victorian Age. Each floor has interesting displays that sometimes have been over-decorated with too many objects.

When you walk in the door, you enter the library where people study the history of the town and their geneology. There are stacks of books, periodicals and town records with people to help you research your work.

As you head downstairs, you will see the various displays that have been set up on life in Atlantic County through the ages. Most of the artifacts in the displays are from the late 1800’s to the early 1930’s. The displays represent the home life of middle to upper middle class Americans at the time. There are parlor sets with musical intruments for entertainment, family portraits, writing sets and living and dining room bric-a-brac. The museum portrays the life of properious residents of the area.

The Middle to Upper Middle Class parlor of Americans in the late 1800’s

The Dining Room set and dishes of a 1920’s Atlantic County family with all sorts of kitchen and play items for engagement for the family through the years.

The display really shows that entertaining since those times has not changed over the years except that today that things are less formal. China, crystal and silver were your way of showing your status in the community. Today’s generation is not so apt to do this.

Early phonographs, lightbulbs and inkwells for writing

Lifestyle was a big part of people’s lives during these time periods so the way you dressed and presented yourself was a big part of who you were. With the advent of ocean swimming, outdoor recreation and weekend activities that came with the push of the unions. You can see that leisure became a big part of the Victorian’s lifestyle.

One thing that emphisis was put on was children and their well-being. We see the start of children’s education, their health and livelihoods and their playthings. The Victorians especially worked hard to give children a better life than the workhouses and factories that children had been subjected to in the previous century. There was a push to make children well-behaved ‘little adults’.

Children’s playthings and clothes were a big part of Victorian children’s lives

Children’s Playthings

Children’s dolls and playthings represented the house and to prepare for household responsibilities

The Somers Family dollhouse that was built for the Somers family’s daughters
The Somers Dollhouse was a special gift to two young girls of the noted family who played with this their entire childhoods. Notice the detail to the this wonderful dollhouse.

People were expected to do their chores at home such as cooking, washing, dressmaking and taking care of the house. Before electricity this was not an easy task made even more difficult by the Victorian expectations of propriety and cleanliness.

The spinning wheels represented cloth and clothes making of the late 1700’s and the loom of rug making for home decoration before the advent of the department stores. Butter churning and ice cream making were all day chores.

Home decoration was a big part of home life. The house was where the family spent their time and Victorians especially liked to room for everything including the bedrooms. This is where privacy was king if you could afford it. In the era of ‘children were seen and not heard’, if family members could have their own rooms that was paramount.

The kitchen was king and entertainment was taken seriously. Things had to look and seem a certain way.

The Victorian Bedroom was a place of rest and leisure for the married couple
Victorians believed in grooming and good manners

There was also a large collection of vintage clothing, quilts and bedding, hats and gloves and walking sticks to show the dressing the middle and upper middle class citizens.

Manufacturing was also a big part of the community and shipbuilding was one of the businesses by any waterfront community that was important.

The shipbuilding and fishing displays on the third floor

The Third floor is dedicated to industry of the area with fishing and shipbuilding a very important part of any waterfront community. Tourism which was a new thing in the industrial age and people having weekends off to enjoy themselves discovered these new shore communities for swimming, sunning, staying at hotels and ocean dining.

Resort ware and a rolling chair from Atlantic City’s boardwalk

The last display on the third floor was the office set up of Senator Frank “Hap” Farley, whose innovations and protections of the shore and transportation to various parts of the state opened it up for development and tourism.

Senator Frank “Hap” Farley

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_S._Farley

The office of Frank S. “Hap” Farley was a testiment to a well spent time in government

The upstairs galleries is also a place where groups meet and discussions and lectures are held. There really is something for everyone at the Society.

There is more to see and do here and take your time to visit all the displays and take a tour of everything. It is also an enjoyable rainy or hot sunny day alternative to the beach. You will learn a lot about Atlantic County and the history of New Jersey here.

The History and Mission Statement of the Atlantic County Historical Society:

(From the Society website)

Mission:

The mission of the Atlantic County Historical Society is to encourage the study of local history and genealogy and to disseminate this information to our members and the general public.

To fulfill our mission, the Society publishers an annual journal of local history and genealogy as well as a quarterly newsletter. Other means include programs, lectures, field trips, partnerships with local libraries and school districts, library and museum interpretative exhibitis and guided tours of the circa 1790 oysterman’s farmhouse, the Risley Homestead, in Northfield, New Jersey.

History of the organization:

The Atlantic County Historical Society is an independent, non-profit, tax-exempt membership organization. Originally founded in 1913 to collect and preserve the history of Atlantic County and southern New Jersey, the organization was incorporated as the Atlantic County Historical Society in 1915. In 2006, the Society was briefly renamed the Atlantic Heritage Center, but the original name was restored in 2011.

The Society opened its library and museum at the current location in 1968. In 2017, an extensive renovation project added additional space for the museum and to provide handicapped accessibility. The Risley Homestead site was bequeathed to the Society in 1989 by Virginia Risley Stout. She and her husband were the last to live in this historic building, of which portions date back to 1790. The building is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Atlantic County Historical Society and Risley Homestead are registered trade names of Atlantic County Historical Society.

Somers Point Historical Society                           745 Shore Road                                               Somers Point, NJ 08244

Somers Point Historical Society 745 Shore Road Somers Point, NJ 08244

Somers Point Historical Society

745 Shore Road

Somers Point, NJ 08244

(609) 927-2900

http://www.somerspointhistory.org/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/239626702903267/

Open: Sunday-Wednesday Closed/Thursday 7:00pm-9:00pm/Friday Closed/Saturday 10:00am-1:00pm

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

The Somers Point Historical Society at 745 Shore Road

I visited Somers Point, NJ recently to see the historical shore town and explore their small museums. The Somers Point Historical Society differs from its neighbor down the road, the Atlantic County Historical Society in that its concentration is on the Town of Somers Point and not the entire county.

The Somers Point Historical Society sign welcomes you

The Somers Point Historical Society started in 1987 as part of the “Save City Hall” campaign to save the historic City Hall building. The plan was to highlight the history of Somers Point and its place in the community and to save some of the older buildings in the town.

The City Hall was saved and it was renovated for the new library. The organization was also helped with funding and applying for National Historic Recognition for the Bayfront Historic District that lies between Shore Drive and Bay Avenue on the waterfront district of the town (Somers Point Historical Society website).

The building that the society is housed in was originally a Baptist Church that was built in 1886 and later became the Somers Point Library. When the new library was built, the Society bought the building and the organization was formed. The museum started with about 600 artifacts and it has grown much largers since.

The Somers Point Historical Society main room

The museum is based around the one main room that tells the history of the Town of Somers Point. One display is on the USS Somers named after Commandant Richard Somers. Our tour guide told us that there is always a Somers named vessel in service with the Navy. There was a complete display on the navel vessels including a section on Master Commandant Richard Somers.

Master Commandant Richard Somers

http://www.richardsomers.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Somers

Richard Somers and the Intrepid video

Display on items from the USS Somers plus ships and boats

The number of items in the collection includes weapons, dishes, photographs, nautical items and pictures of all the Navy vessels named after Richard Somers. These historical items show the contribution that Richard Somers made to the armed forces of the United States. There were also family hierlooms among the artifacts. It was told to me there will always be a USS Somers in service dedicated to him.

More items from the USS Somers

There was a nice display on the trolley car system that used to line the shore traveling from Atlantic City down the coast to Somers Point. This was a picture taken during the holiday season when shopping at the shore was pleasant experience.

Christmas shopping at the shore must have been fun

When the Lindenwood Historical Society folded for business, the Society inherited their impressive collection of ship models. There are all sorts of styles and designs of ships that line the entire room. There is very interesting display of clamming and shellfish harvesting equipment that is on display along with period clothing. It really showed how much shellfish production has not changed much over the years. There was an extensive display of shipbuilding materials showing the town’s shipbuilding yards and production that used to be part of the town’s businesses.

Fishing equipment and shipbuilding tools along with period clothing

There is also a very extensive theater and arts program that is part of the town’s past and current social life. Being so close to Ocean City, NJ and its most famous summer resident, Grace Kelly there is a strong sense of theater and the arts around the community.

The theater playbills and items dealing with the local ‘arts’ scene.

The one thing that the historical society helps you remember that this is still a shore community and tourism plays a huge role in the history and make up of the town. You can see by the artifacts that things are geared towards the water and the extensive shipbuilding and fishing industries.

The Society also runs all sorts of fundraisers, movie nights and car shows to help raise money for the Society and does a lot of outreach to the community.

It is a fascinating look into the past of the shore community of Somers Point, NJ.

Alan E. Carman Museum of Prehistory                                        1461 Bridgeton Road                               Greenwich, NJ 08323

Alan E. Carman Museum of Prehistory 1461 Bridgeton Road Greenwich, NJ 08323

Alan E. Carman Museum of Prehistory

1461 Bridgeton Road

Greenwich, NJ 08323

(856) 455-8141

Click to access prehistorical.pdf

Admission: Free

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Friday Closed/Saturday 12:00pm-4:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

I stopped in at the Museum of Prehistory after a tour of several other historical sites in the area and this little museum is packed with interesting artifacts.

One section was dedicated to the Lenape Indians who lived in the area. There was a many artifacts such as arrow heads, spears, pottery and an assortment of fishing and cooking materials. The Native Americans had an interesting system of living that adapted to nature. They developed a sophisticated system of living that was mobile and came with them as they moved around during the seasons.

There is an extensive fossil collection that includes trilobites, shark teeth, crabs, lobsters and they even had a foot print of a dinosaur. What I thought was interesting was the dinosaur eggs (they were not found locally).

Each case is dedicated to subject matter and the whole museum can be seen in less than an hour.

History of the Alan E. Carman Museum of Prehistory:

The Museum was dedicated in 1997, the museum was established to house the Native American artifacts and prehistoric fossils collected by Alan Ewing Carman. Carman was an avocational archaeologist who spent 58 plus years collecting, excavating and researching Native American artifacts from southern New Jersey. Since Carmen’s original gift to the Society, the museum has acquired a variety of artifacts and specimens from different donors that have enhanced the collection’s research and educational potential. The museum has been and continues to be a valuable resource for archaeologists, paleontologists, students, tour groups and the general public. Come visit our collections to learn more about southern New Jersey’s storied past or to use our extensive research materials.

To enter the museum is to enter the world of the Native American ancestors that lived in the lower Delaware Valley. The Museum of Prehistory displays an incredible assortment of ancient aritifacts and even older fossils that speak to this region’s fascinating prehistory.

Our Mission:

The mission of the Cumberland County Historical Society is to preserve and promote the history and heritage of the county through acquisitions, collections, exhibits, research, educational programs and publications for the benefit of current and future generations.

The Alan Ewing Carman Museum of Prehistory supports this mission through the collection, preservation, interpretation and exhibition of pre-Contact period Native American artifacts from southern New Jersey. The museum serves as an institute for public education and a resourve for archaeological research.

Museum of the City of New York                      1220 Fifth Avenue                                               New York, NY 10029

Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10029

Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10029

(212) 534-1672

https://www.mcny.org/

https://www.facebook.com/MuseumofCityNY

Open: Sunday-Monday 10:00am-5:00pm/Tuesday-Wednesday Closed/Thursday 10:00am-9:00pm/Friday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm

Admission: Adults $20.00/Seniors over 65 $14.00 (with ID) and Children under 19 and Members are Free; please check website for updates.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48236-d15855802-Reviews-Museum_of_the_City_of_New_York-New_City_New_York.html?m=19905

The Museum of the City of New York in the Freelander designed building

I have been a member of the Museum of the City of New York for almost twenty years and what I love about the museum is that its concentration is to be everything about New York City and what makes the City so great. Its development from a Dutch Colony to the Modern Metropolis that it is today. It covers the history so well that they created a permanent display entitled “New York at its Core”, an extensive history of the City from its start as being colonized by the Lenape Indians as a fishing and hunting set of villages on the island.

The “New York at its Core” exhibition (MCNY)

Each display takes you through a different point in the history of the development of the City and how each era brought dramatic changes to the fabric of the City from immigration over the years to the fires that leveled the original City and the raise of Wall Street and the Arts to make New York City the Capital of the World. The almost bankruptcy of the City in 1975 to the attacks on 9/11 have really shaped the direction and change in the City to the COVID-19 pandemic reshaping it again. We see how New York City continues to survive.

The film “Timescapes” in the basement theater again tackles the issues of a changing City since its development and the City continues to morph over time. The movie narrated by Stanley Tucci tells the story of New York from the time of the Dutch settlement to the attacks of 9/11 and like “New York at its Core” the issues that come about after every event. The film is shown five times a day and do take the time to see it when visiting the museum.

A tiny clip of “Timescapes” from the Museum of the City of New York

Just recently I attended a special event at the Museum to honor the Founding Members of the “Talking Heads” Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth and their groundbreaking film “Stop Making Sense”. I was lucky to get tickets because the second I saw this on the museum listing I bought the tickets immediately. The event sold out quickly.

‘Talking Heads’ founders Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth

The event was discussion with the creators of the group and how the Talking Heads emerged as a popular group through the 1980’s and 90’s. I have to admit that the two of them have not changed much but looking a bit older. They enchanted the audience with their time with the group and some new things they have in the works. After a quick Q & A, we watched their popular concert film “Stop Making Sense”.

The film “Stop Making Sense” that we saw that evening.

We had such a good time at the event, the I wrote about it for my blog, “MywalkinManhattan.com”:

Day Two Hundred and Eight: Private Members nights at the New York Museums:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/20227

On another recent trip, I visited the exhibition “New York New Music 1980-1986” which was an exhibition on the development of the music scene after the Disco era was over and the rise of MTV. You had a combination of Club Music, Hip Hop, New Wave and the English Wave from Australia and New Zealand coming into the United States plus a resurgence of Rock and Roll after years of the “Disco Duck”. The exhibition highlighted the music of Debbie Harry and Blondie, Run DMC, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna and the rise of music videos. The exhibition brought me back to my last years of high school and my college years as I remembered all these groups.

The “New York-New Music 1980-1986” exhibition

Over the years I have seen exhibitions on everything from the Bankruptcy exhibition of New York City and the rise of crime, the Gilded Era with Alice Claypoole Vanderbilt’s “Electric Light” dress that she wore to Alva Vanderbilt’s famous ball and the wonderful toy exhibitions of early playthings. I have also been to many lectures at the museum with guests such as former Brooklyn President Marky Markowitz.

The museum is really all things New York.

The History of the Museum of the City of New York:

(From the Museum of the City of New York website/Wiki):

The Museum of the City of New York is a history and art museum that was founded in 1923 by Henry Collins Brown. The red brick building with marble trim was built between 1929-30 and was designed by architect Joseph H. Freedlander in the neo-Georgian style with statues of Alexander Hamilton and DeWitt Clinton by sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman, which face Central Park from niches in the facade (Wiki).

The museum was originally located in Gracie Mansion, where available space was limited. One of the first exhibitions was “Old New York” in 1926. This took place in the Fine Arts Building on West 57th Street. The success of the project led to a search for a new, permanent headquarters for the museum (Wiki).

A design competition was held between five invited architects and the Colonial Revival design by Joseph H. Freelander was chosen. The City donated the site on Fifth Avenue and the funds for the construction of the museum was raised by public subscription. The original plans for the museum’s building were scaled back as a result of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The building was finished and dedicated in 1932.

In 2000, there was talk by then Mayor Rudy Giuliani to move the museum to the historic Tweed Courthouse near City Hall but that was over-turned by the incoming Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. In protect the museum director, Robert R. McDonald resigned.

In coming new museum director, Susan Henshaw Jones, planned an extension to the museum and it was completed in 2008. The extension including renovating the existing gallery spaces and adding a new pavilion. New displays and a remounting of valuable artifacts were done to give the museum a refreshed look. In 2011, the Museum of the City of New York temporarily took over operation of the South Street Seaport Museum which itself reopened in 2012 (Wiki).

The museum has a collection of over 1.5 million objects including many items from the 19th and early 20th centuries including paintings, prints, costumes, decorative objects, furniture and an extensive collection of toys. There are also extensive collections of police and fire items as well as shop models, rare books and manuscripts (Wiki).