Category: Exploring Wildwood NJ

Dennis Township Old School House Museum                   681 Petersburg Road                                Woodbine, NJ 08270

Dennis Township Old School House Museum 681 Petersburg Road Woodbine, NJ 08270

Dennis Township Old School House Museum

681 Petersburg Road

Woodbine, NJ 08270

(609) 861-1899

http://www.dennismuseumfriends.org/

https://www.facebook.com/people/Friends-of-dennis-township-old-school-house-museum/100066513017935/

Open: Every First and Third Saturday of the Month (Please check with the website on weather conditions)

Admission: Free but donations accepted

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g35374-d25030718-r862673797-Dennis_Township_Old_School_House_Museum-Woodbine_Georgia.html?m=19905

I have been wanting this charming little museum for several months. This is one of the featured historical museums in Southern New Jersey. The museum is representing the local farming and manufacturing industries as well as life in a farming community at the turn of the last century.

The museum was started in 1994 in a partnership with the town of Woodbine, NJ and houses the history of Dennis Township. It is an all-volunteer museum, and the docents were really helpful describing all the displays that surround this small former schoolhouse. Their Friends of the Dennis Township Museum group does a nice job walking you around the museum and describing the displays.

The Friends of the Dennis Township Old School House Museum

The museum tells the story of a small-town farming community with a history of different local businesses, the Dennisville School district from 1874-1948 and the Methodist colony that was a big part of the community in the early 1800’s. The shipping industry was very important to any small town that used to supply its fruits, vegetables and fish to Philadelphia.

Some of the displays were dedicated to the local family businesses with the small cranberry industry that used to be in the area with equipment and packaging. The Mason Basket Company used to make the small and large wooden baskets for fruits and vegetables used to ship these items to both New York City and Philadelphia. These baskets are a staple at any farmers marker today. The other big business in town was the shingle making business that prided itself on supplying the shingles for Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Farming equipment and small-town life display

The building had been the local one room schoolhouse for the surrounding community from 1874-1948 until the new schools were built in the 1950’s. There was a display on the school’s history as well as lots of pictures of the students at the turn of the last century with their period clothing and proper manners taking pictures with their schoolteachers. There were displays of desks, clothing and items that would have been in the school room.

The town had once been a Methodist community with a large meeting house and surrounding homes for parishioners to stay. They showed the meetings and how the group would spend their summers in the area.

The Summer Community in Dennis Township at the turn of the last century

The museum showcased live in a small-town farming community with all sorts of farm and farmhouse equipment. There were all sorts of home making items like cooking utensils to make meals from scratch, baking and serving in homes where being a housewife took a lot of strength. The farm equipment included hoes, racks and seeders that kept the farms going.

There were pictures of the renovations of the Ludlam family cemetery that had gone through a renovation by the Boy Scouts and showcased it beauty. The members did a nice job renovating the tombstones and landscaping.

In the corners of the museum, there is period clothing from the Civil War to the 1930’s with hats, gloves and dressing plus accessories. There is a small display to the local veterans of war. Near the entrance there is a working pipe organ and more information about the town from the early 1900’s.

The docents told me that they have the old town records and that people come to the museum to research their families that used to live in the area. They have had people come from all over the country to find their family roots.

For a small museum, it is chock full of small displays offering a glimpse into a community of time past and how it has grown over the future and changed.

Take time also to drive around this small town loaded with historical homes that have been beautifully maintained and labeled with the year that they were built. Some looked like they had the family names on them.

The beautiful homes of downtown Woodbine, NJ are beautifully maintained and give the town its Victorian appeal.
Doo Wop Preservation League Museum          4500 Ocean Avenue                                 Wildwood, NJ 08260

Doo Wop Preservation League Museum 4500 Ocean Avenue Wildwood, NJ 08260

Doo Wop Preservation League Museum

4500 Ocean Avenue

Wildwood, NJ  08260

(609) 523-1975

https://www.facebook.com/Doo-Wop-Preservation-League-The-Wildwoods-NJ-128130849267/

Open: Friday-Saturday 10:00am-2:00pm/ Closed Sunday-Thursday

Fee: Free but they ask for a donation

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46931-d283304-Reviews-The_Doo_Wop_Preservation_League_Museum-Wildwood_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the Doo Wop Preservation League Museum when I was visiting Wildwood, NJ for the Firemen’s Convention. They were sponsoring the DJ on the stage behind the museum. It was easy to miss the museum with all the fire equipment around it and hundreds of firemen milling around.

Once inside, this small museum is a treasure trove of history of the resort motels that once lined the beaches of Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood. As time rolls on, many of these old motels, hotels and restaurants are giving way to condos, newer homes and new chain hotels changing the landscape of Wildwood. It is bringing it into modern times with newer looks.

Doo Wop Museum IV.jpg

The restaurant section of the Doo Wop Museum

When many of these motels are torn down, the establishments donate old furnishes, decorative objects and signs from the outside to the museum. The outside of the museum is decorated with signs of businesses that are now closed, there neon lights still shining but for a different purpose. These somewhat gaudy and over-grandised signs and looks were of a time of great optimism and travel. Since the middle and working class families did not have the money to travel to these exotic places, something similar was created for them in the Wildwoods bringing that look to the Jersey shore.

Doo Wop Museum II

The restaurant section of the Doo Wop Museum

When talking to the curators , a couple that ran the museum said that the museum represents the change in d├ęcor used after WWII when they used the neon lights and steel from the war into the signs and lighting of the new resorts. It was a unique style of the late 1950’s and 60’s, when these materials were plentiful and motel owners were getting creative to bring in the rising middle class tourists that could not afford the trips to Hawaii and Miami Beach. These owners brought these themes to Wildwood with a creative twist. Check out the signing and furniture that lines the walls and dining set ups of the museum.

The museum is small and takes only about an hour to walk through. Each of the vignettes are designed as its own room with furnishings from old hotels and motels like tables, chairs, lamps and ashtrays in one corner, in another are stools, a jukebox and menus from a 50’s or 60’s style restaurant or items used at the time like bicycles or scooters.

Doo Wop Museum III

The interesting preservation by the museum shows all over

The History of the Doo Wop Museum:

The Doo Wop Preservation League was founded in 1997 as a 501C3 to preserve  the 1950’s and 60’s architectural styles of the Wildwood’s. Doo Wop style is a combination of Space Age dreams of the late 60’s and the exotic seaside tropics of recently opened South Seas Islands  like Hawaii which became out 50th State in 1959.  The Polynesian look was very ‘in’ at this time as most people could not afford to go but wanted to replicated for them.

The museum is housed in the 1960’s ‘Space Age’ restaurant “The Surfside” that was saved from the wrecking ball and moved to this spot right across the Convention Center and the Boardwalk. On Tuesdays and Thursdays when in season (i.e. Warmer Months), there are bus tours offered by the museum. The museum’s goal is catalogue the remaining businesses in town that still keep their look of the era (Museum website and The Wildwooder Newspaper).

Don’t miss the museum tours:

The best part is that the museum is free (donation suggested) and you can take your time for a self-guided tour of the museum.

The Wildwood Historical Society George F. Boyer Museum                                                                      3907 Pacific Avenue                                  Wildwood, NJ 08260

The Wildwood Historical Society George F. Boyer Museum 3907 Pacific Avenue Wildwood, NJ 08260

The Wildwood Historical Society George F. Boyer Museum

3907 Pacific Avenue

Wildwood, NJ  08260

(609) 523-0277

http://www.z.com

Open: Sunday-Saturday-9:00am-2:00pm/Check with the museum in the off season

Fee: Free but they do ask for a donation

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46931-d1862508-Reviews-George_F_Boyer_Historical_Museum-Wildwood_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the Wildwood Historical Society George F. Boyer Museum (See review on TripAdvisor) when I was visiting Wildwood, NJ for a convention. It was a gloomy morning and the museum is open from 9:00am-2:00pm. It is the perfect place to visit on a rainy day at the beach.

The museum is a treasure trove of artifacts of the history of the three towns, North Wildwood, Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. The history covers the original inhabitants when the Native Americans lived and fished in the area, the rise as a resort community especially its heyday in the 1950’s and 60’s as a solid middle class resort town and a extensive history of the police, fire department and schools as well as the town and its council people.

Wildwood Historical Museum

The Wildwood Historical Society at 3907 Pacific Avenue

Each room of the museum is stacked with information, artifacts in case lines and the walls are lined with books, manuscripts and albums. The school history shows how integration worked even as far back as the turn of the last century and the development of the school system. There were books of graduation pictures, sporting events and band involvement.

Wildwood Museum III

The town has contributed so much to society

There is a very interesting display of fire fighting pictures especially of the amusement fires of the past and the rebuilding of the parks and piers. Take time to look at the artifacts in the hallways and pictures of the development of the parks. There are interesting pieces saved from the old parks.

There is even a section of restaurant menus and dishware from the well known establishments of the past and many pictures of the hotels and motels of the ages. It showed how it went from a Victorian resort to the modern times of the sixties theme motels with art deco architecture. There was a real change after the war to a more middle class customer who was depending on the automobile instead of the train system.

Wildwood Museum II

Popular businesses of the past

There is also a large section on the old amusement piers with pictures and artifacts from the old “Dracula’s Castle” park that burned down in the early 2000’s. There are signs, old tickets, small ride cars and prizes from the games from the piers. There is extensive detail to the display and you have to look at all the pictures of the amusements at various points of history.

Wildwood Museum

The Amusement section

Plan about two hours as you will loose track of time when looking at all the pictures and displays. It is a little packed in here but there is so much to see and take time to watch their videos which are fascinating and informative on the history of the town of Wildwood.

Who was George F. Boyer:

George F. Boyer was born in Philadelphia in 1904. He came to Wildwood around 1932 and earned his living as a butcher, a merchant and a fireman. His real local fame, however, came from his role as the City of Wildwood’s first and only official historian. While serving with Wildwood fire department in 1959, he came across the stump of a tree (now known as the “W” tree) in the old city hall.

Running down the origin of the tree, sparked a tsunami of information as he talked to local residents and researched and collected old records. One thing led to another and in January of 1962, Boyer was appointed in the city’s newly established historical commission and became the first president of the Wildwood Historical Society.

Tireless in his efforts to collect and preserve local artifacts, Boyer spoke to school and church groups as well as civic organizations, urging them to “act now..to gather those irreplaceable links with the past and preserve them for generations to come.”

Founded by Boyer, Wildwood’s first historical museum opened in 1963, on the second floor of the Municipal Building in October 1976, the City of Wildwood honored Boyer for his “long and devoted service” by renaming the museum, the George F. Boyer Historical Museum.

He passed away a month later but his legacy lives on. The museum, now located at 3907 Pacific Avenue, continues to welcome visitors and locals alike, just as it did a half century ago under Boyer’s care.

The non-profit museum is made possible thanks to volunteers who dedicate time to our cause. We always need volunteers. To learn about volunteering, drop in during our open hours, call us or fill the contact form on the website.

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the History of the Wildwood Historical Museum website and I give them full credit for the information. Remember that the museum has limited hours and the resort is seasonal so please call the above number for the times and dates when the museum is open.