Category: Small Museums and Galleries in New Jersey

Old Town Hall Museum/Harrison Township Historical Society Inc.                                                                                      P.O. Box 4                                                                              Mullica Hill, NJ 08062

Old Town Hall Museum/Harrison Township Historical Society Inc. P.O. Box 4 Mullica Hill, NJ 08062

Old Town Hall Museum/Harrison Township Historical Society Inc.

P.O. Box

Mullica Hill, NJ. 08062

(856) 478-4949

https://www.harrisonhistorical.com/

https://m.facebook.com/Harrison-Township-Historical-Society-310499278053/

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Friday Closed/Saturday 1:00pm-4:00pm

Admission: Free but a donation would be appreciated.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46655-d25105321-r866773005-Harrison_Township_Historical_Society-Mullica_Hill_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Old Town Hall Museum/Harrison County Historical Society

The Harrison Township Historical Society/Old Town Hall Museum

Current Exhibition:

TORNADO 

This new exhibition commemorates the 2021 Hurricane Ida Tornado through first-person narratives, artifacts, video and photography. 

The Mission of the Old Town Hall Museum/Harrison Township Historical Society Inc.:

(from the Museum pamphlet)

Since its founding in 1971, the Harrison Township Historical Society has presented exhibitions, events, programs and publications focusing on the heritage of South Jersey in Mullica Hill’s Old Town Hall that was built in 1871.

The Stone Age in Harrison Township and Living Off the Land: Food, Farms and Families, explore the region’s Paleo-Indian heritage and our local foodway and farming traditions. The Raccoon Valley General Store and the Harrison Academy Schoolroom recreate two rural institutions.

We also present seasonally changing special exhibitions, student programs and unique special events like the annual Groundhog Dinner (featuring local sausage-“ground” hog!) and the popular Mullica Hill Ghost Walk in October. Visit https://www.harrisonhistorical.com/ for news and information.

Come and experience our Heritage!

Our History:

(from the Museum website)

In 1971 the Township Committee of Harrison Township under the leadership of Mayor Philip J. Reuter, appointed a committee whose purpose was to form a historical society that would lead a community effort to preserve and provide a new purpose for Mullica Hill’s historic Old Town Hall.

Since that time the Harrison Township Historical Society has successfully met this initial charge, not only preserving the building (a key contributing structure in the Mullica Hill National Register Historic District), but also establishing a museum that has won state and national awards for its exhibitions, programs and publications.

The “Living off the Land” exhibition shows life on the farm in Southern New Jersey. This exhibition shows life on a South Jersey farm from the late 1600’s to today with some of the equipment, commercial items and furniture showing the lifestyle on the farm. This first floor exhibition gives us a peek at what life is like in the day of a farming family.

The main room on the first floor of the museum is broken down into sections. In the special gallery space is the exhibition “Tornado” about the tornado that hit the surrounding area during Hurricane Ida in 2021. The exhibition gives first hand accounts of what happened and people’s experiences and the clean up.

In the Main Room when you enter is the Raccoon General Store and the Harrison Academy schoolroom showing what life was like in rural Southern New Jersey.

Raccoon General Store:

All sorts of everyday items were sold in the General Store which was also a gathering place for the town’s citizens. This is where you would catch up with your neighbors at a time before telephones.

Everyday items would be found in the General Store

Everything could be bought at the General Store for the house with special trips into the City during the holidays or for special occasions

Household items at the General Store

In the back of the General Store is the exhibition of the Harrison Academy Schoolhouse showing teaching in rural New Jersey up until about 60 years ago. These rural communities had the one room school in some cases up until WWII. As the areas developed, the regionalized school system came into play and these small schools became of thing of the past.

The schoolroom set up has not changed much over the last 100 years

The room was still heated by the potbelly stove

The Teacher’s Desk, the globe and picture of the President still exists in the classroom today

In the center room is the old Post Office, another fixture of the town’s social life. This was located in Mullica Hill up until fifty years ago.

The Mullica Hill Post Office

The entrance to the hall with the Post Office and Farm Equipment

The facade of the old Post Office

The back part of the exhibition is the farm equipment that would be used in commercial farming. The processing and packaging of fruits and vegetables would have been done when the harvest was being picked and getting ready for markets in New York, Philadelphia and Newark. Fruits and vegetables were packaged on the farm and readied for market.

Life on the farm was not always easy

All sorts of equipment for processing fruits and vegetables is on display

All the bailing and shifting equipment needed on a farm

Business advertising

Packaging fruits and vegetables for the market

Life on the Farm

The second floor also provides not just a look into the life of the farming family but at the Native American’s life in the area before the colonist settlement.

The artifacts of the Native American Lenape Indians

The local Native Americans the Lenapehoking

Day to day equipment and home products of the Native Americans

Arrowheads from New Jersey and beyond

Family life on the farm included the family dinner

Meals would have included churning butter, gathering eggs, milking cows, processing apples for cider, baking and pickling.

Preparing for a meal would have meant the best linens and china would come out of storage and placed on the table.

Families sat down together on Sundays to eat and enjoy each others company.

More processing of household items

The museum shows that not much has changed over the years but with the advent of modern technology with cars, the telephone and electricity, life on the farm changed but not by much. Traditions and processing crops still had to be done just differently. Life in America was going to change by the beginning of the Twentieth Century and this way of life would be part of the ‘myth’ of small town living. This still does exist in some parts of the rural country.

It is a great little museum with a lot to see on two floors.

History of the Museum:

Fun Facts:

*People have been living in present day Harrison Township for over 10,000 years.

*Harrison Township originally included South Harrison and the western edge of Elk.

*The Township was named after President William Henry Harrison.

*There is a village called Mullica Hill in Finland.

*The first air shipment of fresh produce in the US took off from here.

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Pilesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society                                 42 North Main Street                                                 Woodstown, NJ 08098

Pilesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society 42 North Main Street Woodstown, NJ 08098

Pilesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society

42 North Main Street

Woodstown, NJ. 08098

(856) 769-1886

https://www.facebook.com/people/Pilesgrove-Woodstown-Historical-Society-Museum/100057781264630/?ref=py_c

Open: Sunday-Friday Closed/Saturday 10:00am-1:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46943-d25105287-r881790546-Pilesgrove_woodstown_Historical_Society-Woodstown_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Samuel Dickeson House

The Mission of the Pilesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society:

To preserve and advance interest in and awareness of the history and heritage of the Borough of Woodstown and Pilesgrove Township by properly procuring, preserving and maintaining the art, artifacts and documents that relate to the cultural, archaeological, civil, literary, genealogical and ecclesiastical history of the local community. We welcome researchers and provide them with any available material.

On the site is the 1840’s one room schoolhouse that was moved from Eldridge’s Hill in the 1970’s and is open for touring during museum hours. The organization hosts quarterly presentations and participates with the Candlelight Tour on the first Friday of December.

Touring the house is a wonderful experience and I got an excellent tour from a member of the Board of Directors who took me on a full tour of the house and grounds. She explained that the volunteers take a lot of pride in the home, the displays and the artifacts and antiques that make up the d├ęcor of the house. The tour starts in the Library which is to the right of the entrance. This is where people can research their families and the towns’ histories. The house was originally owned by the Dickerson family and had changed hands many times over the years.

The Library:

This display has the portrait of John Fenwick and the family tree

The Library:

The Library:

The collection of books and manuscripts is held in the library of the home. Patrons can do their research on their family trees and on the local towns here.

The Living Room:

The Living Room:

The Living Room:

The Living Room:

The Living Room:

The Kitchen:

The kitchen had been modernized over the years but still retains its historic look to it.

The Kitchen:

The Kitchen:

The Kitchen:

The kitchen:

The Military Room:

Memorabilia from the Veterans of Foreign Wars

The Upstairs Bedrooms:

The Upstairs bedroom:

The Upstairs bedroom:

The Upstairs bedroom:

The upstairs bedroom has lots of children’s toys, clothes and musical instruments.

The Upstairs bedroom:

The Upstairs bedroom:

The hats and toy collections in the home.

The Bathroom:

The Commercial section of the home:

The outside grounds have a wonderful lawn area where the foliage was in full hilt when I was visiting and in the back of the home is the schoolhouse from the 1840’s. This was locked for the day, but I could see the classroom set up of an old-fashioned school room that has not changed all that much since that period.

The Schoolhouse on the society’s property

The Schoolhouse

The property behind the house was beautiful and well-kept with colorful foliage.

The house is well maintained, beautifully displayed with artifacts and there is a lot to see and do here. I just wish this wonderful site was open more often so that people could enjoy these wonderful artifacts and displays.

Some of the special programs that the society has run:

David Crockett, Scout and Adventurer” on March 26th, 2023:

The Pilesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society is presenting a free program for the community titled ” David Crockett, Scout and Adventurer.” There are many stories about “Davy” Crockett. Our speaker, Mr. Douglas Jones, in period clothing, will be sharing many and will have time for questions.  The date is Sunday, March 26th, 2023 at 2:00 pm in the Woodstown Friends Meeting House, 105 North Main Street, Woodstown, N.J. 08098 (this is down the road from the Historical Society).  The meeting house is handicap accessible with a sound system and onsite parking.  All are welcome. For more information or questions, call 609-313-7534.

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.
Bergenfield Museum Society                                                    100 Cooper Street                                                       Bergenfield, NJ 07621

Bergenfield Museum Society 100 Cooper Street Bergenfield, NJ 07621

Bergenfield Museum Society

100 Cooper Street

Bergenfield, NJ 07621

(201)

https://www.facebook.com/bergenfieldmuseum/

https://bergenfield.com/boards/museum-society

https://sites.google.com/site/bergenfieldmuseumsocietypage/

Open: Sunday (Last day of the month)/Monday Closed/Tuesday 1:00pm-3:00pm/Wednesday-Friday Closed/Saturday 1:00pm-3:00pm

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46301-d24838399-Reviews-Bergenfield_Museum-Bergenfield_New_Jersey.html

I visited the Bergenfield Museum recently, a museum that I have to admit I never knew existed and I know almost all the museum in Bergen County and was surprised what an informative museum it was not just showcasing the history of Bergenfield but of Bergen County. Room by room the museum is filled with displays on the history of the town, and it has progressed through the last two hundred years.

The Bergenfield Museum at 100 Cooper Street

The museum is located in the back of Cooper Park towards the back of the pond. The museum is part of a complex of barns that were once small manufacturing companies owned by the families that owned the house. The grounds have the three barns that are not in use now and the home that overlooks the pond. This beautiful park was created during the Great Depression and is a wonderful place to just walk around in and relax from everyday life.

The view of Coopers Park and Pond from the museum front porch

The history of the house and grounds of the Bergenfield Museum

Please note getting to the museum can be confusing as Google Maps and the museum diagram to get there are wrong. You will need to go down Ralph Road and then park before entering the complex. It is hard with the turnaround in the site to drive out with your car.

The entrance to the Bergenfield Museum at 100 Cooper Street

The entrance to the museum off Ralph Street. Please follow the signs.

I was met with a very enthusiastic group of volunteers who are so proud of the house and the way it is presented to the public. When you enter the house, you are met in the foyer of the home which is filled with pictures and small displays and then led to what was the parlor room where the family would have all their entertainment and socializing. Inside the room there is a very interesting portrait of a mysterious woman, who even the museum docents do not who she is, located above the fireplace.

The room is decorated in period furnishings and even has one of the original phonographs. My docent, David, showed me how it worked and how you were able to get the volume up on the record player by opening one of the small doors in the cabinet.

The ‘starter’ organ in the Living Room

The home was once a working farm/business

The room towards the back has an extensive collection of toys from the last one hundred years. There were several toys such a china dolls and metal ovens that were popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to modern Fisher Price toys of the 1970’s that I remember growing up with as a kid. The site had once been a toy factory before the turn of the last century and these displays honor that history.

The Toy Room at the Bergenfield Museum is quite extensive

You have everything from stuffed animals to Fisher Price toys in the Toy Room

The museum is very much dedicated to the history of the Borough of Bergenfield, NJ. There are nice displays of the town’s school district and its history. The old school system pictures feature items from elementary school to high school and items that students would have used at the school. The elementary school featured in many of the pictures is still used by the town today according to my tour guide, David that afternoon. He told me he had attended the school growing up.

There was a small display of both the Bergenfield Fire and Police Departments and their progression through the years in the town. It is funny how much has changed cosmetically about the look of the job but the job itself is still the same. Helping people and keeping the town safe.

The Fire and Police Department display at the Bergenfield Museum

When you enter what was once the dining room, is the Chair Collection of Tunis Richard Cooper, whose factory was one of the barns on the property.

The Chair Factory rules

Some of the samples of the chairs manufactured at the barn factory

There were all sorts of makes and kinds of chairs throughout the room as well as many decorative pieces. The museum has an extensive collection of all the decorative furnishings that were made on the property including what the factory looked like and the rules and conduct of the employees working there.

The working mill building on the property

The next room is the working kitchen of the original house with all sorts of kitchen equipment through the ages including a collection of toasters. There is also a working heart where the volunteers do some cooking.

Everything to keep a kitchen running

The hearth of the kitchen is where all the action was in the kitchen

The back room of the house has a large military display that includes local heroes of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI and the Vietnam War. There are all sorts of memorabilia from the soldiers and their families.

The Military display describes Bergenfield’s contribution to military battle from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam

The Military Room showcases our contributions on freedom

The patriotic duties of the town of Bergenfield, NJ

The museum has a 9/11 Memorial to the town and its contributions to that horrible day

Take time to walk the grounds and admire the park. This beautiful green space was built by the WPA during the Depression and the landscaped park includes Cooper’s pond, extensive gardens and paths of green lawn.

The grounds of the museum were once a farm and a working factory environment

The factory/barn on the Bergenfield Museum property

The grounds of the Bergenfield Museum in Cooper’s Pond Park

Cooper’s Pond Park is a quiet and very green oasis from the distractions of today. It is a nice patch of nature to just walk around in and relax and enjoy the beautiful sunny weather.

The History of the Bergenfield Museum:

Two Hundred years after the founding of the United States, local historian, Betty Schmelz began collecting artifacts that were essential for telling Bergenfield’s story. By 1988, her small collection had blossomed into full museum displays comprised of a century’s worth of wedding dresses, Camp Merritt and WWI memorabilia and testaments to the Bergenfield Music Department.

The Bergenfield Music Department display

From 2002 to 2014, the museum closed, and the collection was moved to storage until negotiations were settled with the Borough of Bergenfield. In July of 2013, volunteers reassembled the items for public viewing and began rehabilitation efforts.

The Museum House Timeline:

(From the museum’s pamphlet)

The tools to create those wonderful and decorative chairs

The Tunis R. Cooper property was originally owned by French Huguenot immigrants, the Demarest family. After years of changed ownership and purpose, the legacy of the property is now protected by the Bergenfield Museum Society:

The timeline of the town and its development

*1677-1693: The Demarest family negotiates a deed for the Cooper Property with local Native Americans and settles throughout Schraalenburgh (now known as Bergen County).

*1840: Richard Tunis Cooper purchases the property and begins hiring local farmers to manufacture chairs.

*1849-1890’s: Richard’s son, Tunis Richard Cooper, purchases the property and establishes a successful chair factory. A major warehouse is opened in New York City.

*1897-1997: Ownership of the estate changes several more times:

-1897: Toymaker Oskar Martin, purchased the property.

-1908: Amos Bergman holds ownership until his death.

-1949: Bergman housekeeper, Daisy Coringrato, sells the property to wool importers, Alec and Catherine Marchbank.

*1997: Marchbank family initiates efforts to preserve the remaining Cooper Chair Factory and surrounding land.

*2004: The Borough of Bergenfield purchases the property with the four remaining buildings and solidifies preservation efforts.

*2013: The Bergenfield Museum successfully opens with a collection of authentic Bergen County artifacts.