Tag: NJ Historical Sites

Blairstown Museum 26 Main Street/ Friday the 13th Museum  27 Main Street Blairstown, NJ 07825

Blairstown Museum 26 Main Street/ Friday the 13th Museum 27 Main Street Blairstown, NJ 07825

Blairstown Museum

26 Main Street

Friday the 13th Museum

27 Main Street

Blairstown, NJ  07825

(908) 362-1371

http://www.Blairstownmuseum.com

Open: Sunday-Thursday Closed/ Friday & Saturday 11:00am-5:00pm

Fee: Free but a donation is suggested

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46308-d11627031-Reviews-Blairstown_Museum-Blairstown_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Blairstown Museum is a facility housing the history of the town of Blairstown and the surrounding area. The interesting part of this museum is that it is not run by the town but by a local couple, Janette and Frank Iurato, who moved to the area in 2013 and took an interest in the history of the town. The museum was founded in 2015 and opened in 2016. The museum is actually two different museums.

The first one is the Blairstown Historical Museum that covers the history of the town. This museum concentrates on the history of the founding of the town and the residents in it. While I was visiting, there was an interesting exhibition on the Blair Family who had married into the Charles Scribner Publishing family and a little history behind the two families. There was another exhibition on John Insley Blair, one of the residents and a self-made businessman and entrepreneur, for whom the town and the private school are named after.

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The Howell and Dutot exhibition

Another exhibition was on local resident, Robert Parsons Howell, who had moved to Havana, Cuba at the turn of the last century. The exhibition was on the development of the early railroads. There was an exhibition on the early resort history of the area by the Delaware Water Gap by Hotelier Antoine Dutot, who ran the Kittatinny Hotel resort in the late 1880’s. The last exhibition was on the history and creation of Victorian furniture. The exhibition discussed how it was created and how it developed.

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The museum has changing exhibitions

The second museum is across the street at 27 Main Street and that museum is dedicated to the movie “Friday the 13th” that was shot in the town in 1979. This part of the museum is dedicated to the first film and subsequent films. The couple is collecting artifacts from the films (which there were not much since it was shot on location). On display are items signed by stars of the first film, Adrienne King and Ari Lehman, picture stills from the film and what I thought was interesting were the bar stools from the luncheonette from the second scene of the film and the original ‘Diner’ sign from the Blairstown Diner before the restaurant’s renovation.

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“Friday the 13th” from 1980

What is also nice is that the Iurato’s have a small gift shop with items made by local artists that the have the iconic logo with the ‘Jason Mask’. This part of the museum opened on September 13th of 2019 and the ribbon cutting was done by various members of the cast and crew of the film.

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The ‘Friday the 13th’ exhibition

Both of the museum’s are still collecting artifacts so support their collections but the Iurato family has done a nice job preserving the history of the town and dedicating a whole new branch of the museum to the “Friday the 13th” franchise.

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The cast of the original 1980 film “Friday the 13th”

It is interesting as well to just walk around the town and recognize where the opening scenes of the film were shot. The museum is in the second scene of the film when ‘Annie’ does her walk around the town.

If you are a fan of the film, it is a fun place to stop by when visiting Blairstown, NJ.

 

The History of the Blairstown Museum:

(This information was taken from the museum’s website and I give them full credit for it)

When the Iurato family moved to Blairstown in 2013, they were surprised to find that the township did not have a museum honoring its founders. New residents did not have a central place where they could learn about the people and businesses that shaped the town’s past, how to be good stewards of Blairstown’s Historic District and the rural beauty left in their care.

Originally, the family’s intention for the property at 26 Main Street was to rent the first floor space to a business that would complement the Historic District’s businesses, add to the tourism appeal and increase the overall foot traffic of the area. They were overwhelmed by the amount of people that enthusiastically suggested they establish a museum.

Following eighteen-months of renovations, artifact collecting, historic research, networking with local historians and establishing a non-profit organization, the Blairstown Museum, located at 26 Main Street, opened to rave reviews. On October 1, 2016, nearly 600 people attended the Grand Opening Celebration. Since then, the Museum has offered hundreds of exhibitions, events, programs and tours and has received local, state and federal recognition.

Supported by “Friday the 13th” Franchise Fans, on September 13, 2019, the Museum opened a second location at 27 Main Street to house a year round Friday the 13th exhibition. The Grand Opening Ceremony was attended by Ari Lehman, Tom McLoughlin, Jason Brooks, Vincent DiSanti, Dave Brown and hundreds of fans.

The Museum’s Vision Statement:

In fulfillment of our mission, we have adopted the following Vision Statement: “The Blairstown Museum will be a vibrant social, cultural and economic centerpiece of the town and will be regarded as an entertaining and worthwhile tourist destination. The Museum will be a resource for residents, visitors, historians and educators. The Museum will preserve and catalog important objects and documents and will use those items to provide educational and cultural programs for the public.”

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The Blairstown Museum

The Museum’s Mission Statement:

The Blairstown Museum’s mission is to acquire and collect; research and document; protect and preserve and exhibit and promote the unique history and heritage of the Township of Blairstown for the benefit of residents and visitors. Founded by the Iurato family and managed by a group of dedicated individuals, the Museum is house in a 19th Century building, known as the last remaining structure of “Roy’s Row”.

As the only independent public museum in the Township of Blairstown, the Blairstown Museum is an IRS Certified 501(c)(3), all volunteer, non-profit charitable organization tasked with the responsibility of caring for thousands of items which illustrate the history of the township and its inhabitants, including former resident and founder John Insley Blair. In an effort to help foster heritage tourism throughout the region, our collections are used to interpret the area’s history through permanent and changing exhibits and to educate the public about our history through programs, resource materials and events.

Blairstown Museum staff are charged with providing professional care to the collection, employing standards established by the American Alliance of Museums for the storage, care and exhibit of artifacts in its custody. Historic exhibits are on display on a rotating basis throughout the year. We are committed to expanding the digital display of our collection, in a manner that makes it available as a teaching tool for students, teachers and historians.

Disclaimer: This information on the Blairstown Museum was taken from their website and I give them full credit for the information.

 

The Introduction of the film from 1980 “Friday the 13th”:

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum   210 Main Street   Boonton, NJ 07005

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum 210 Main Street Boonton, NJ 07005

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum

210 Main Street

Boonton, NJ  07005

(973) 402-8840

http://www.boonton.org

https://www.boonton.org/268/Boonton-Historical-Society

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46315-d19255529-Reviews-Boonton_Historical_Society_and_Museum-Boonton_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I recently visited the Boonton Historical Society on the Main Street of downtown Boonton, NJ in a quickly changing new Arts Community. Up the hill, several galleries have found a home and the downtown is filling up with cottage industries catering to both locals and artists.

The Historical Society covers the history of Boonton and its role in New Jersey history especially with the creation of the Morris Canal and the Iron works that once dominated the area until about WWI.

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The munitions of the town’s foundries

The town saw much prosperity during the Civil War, providing ammunition and supplies to the Union Army. Many of the nails used during this period came their foundries. They also supplied munitions, pails, building materials and the transportation of raw iron out of the town. When technology and the way we build changed, the businesses here started to dry up. The use of the Train system and major highways also changed the transportation, it affected the town’s businesses.

Still the Boonton area is home to many historic homes, a section of the Morris Canal and the remains of the iron works that burnt to the ground decades ago. There is an interesting exhibition of the town’s Police Department in the lower level and now as part of the changing gallery space an extensive exhibition on the NJ Trolley system that once dominated the state.

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The Boonton Historical Society and Museum

The permanent exhibition space studies the history of the town, telling the story of the town’s beginnings as a manufacturing town, growth of the canals and shipping and agriculture to its current destination as a Arts Community. The museum is small and can be seen in about an hour to two hours if you like to read.

Don’t miss the room to the right of the museum which covers the timeline of the town and its prominent residents. It tells the story of how the growth of the iron works, the building of the dam and the coming of the railroads and the trolley system changed the town and the growth of its population. Take time to read the displays and look at the exhibitions behind the case lines.

I recently went to the Boonton Historical Society for the December 2019 Holiday open House and it was a very nice afternoon. They some local students playing the guitar, keyboards and the flute with engaging music and holiday songs. There were some light refreshments with hot and cold appetizers and Christmas cookies. They had specials in their gift shops and featured ornaments, books and stuffed animals at a reasonable price and had 1960’s and 70’s Christmas albums playing on the lower level of the museum. It was a nice afternoon treat and the society did a nice job welcoming people.

The museum is only open once a week on Sundays from 1:00pm-4:00pm and is run by volunteers. If you want to see how the State of New Jersey grew from a series of small towns to bustling industrial areas to sleepy back towns and back, visiting the Boonton Historical Society and Museum is a must visit.

 

New Exhibition:

The Boonton Historical Society in conjunction with the North Jersey Electric Railway Historical Society and Liberty Historic Railway present this exhibition on the Trolley era. This display will include scale models of various types of trolley cars which operated in New Jersey, along with streetcar memorabilia and artifacts such as operator’s uniform jacket/hats, badges, books, publications, post cards, photos, videos, lithographs, signs,posters, tickets, lanterns, hardware and more (Boonton Historical Society).

 

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The History of Boonton, NJ

 

The Mission Statement of the Boonton Historical Society & Museum:

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum is a non-profit organization incorporation in 1959 located in the town of Boonton, New Jersey. Its mission is to:

*Preserved and protect the town of Boonton’s unique cultural, architectural and industrial history;

*Preserved and share the area’s rich history, folklore, arts and humanities of the past and present;

*Encourage preservation and restoration of historic landmarks in the town;

*Protect and display the museum’s collections;

*Provide educational programs, guided historical tours and exhibitions to a diverse population.

 

The History of Dr. John Taylor House 210 Main Street  Boonton, NJ (Home of the Museum):

The building was originally a private home built for Dr. John Taylor and his wife, Adelaide T. Kanouse. John L. Kanouse gave his daughter and her husband this lot as a Christmas present in 1897. Most likely, it was an enticement to get his family to move closer to him because they had been living in Succasunna and Mount Arlington where Dr. Taylor had practiced medicine for 15 years. The Taylor’s returned to Boonton and had the brick house built. Dr. Taylor continued his medical practice there.

In 1901, Adelaide’s parents came to live with them until her father died in 1905 and her mother in 1908. John L. Kanouse was one of Boonton’s most prominent citizens and was a successful businessman. He operated a food and supply store on Main Street, a coal yard on the Morris Canal and a modest farm between Kanouse and Roessler streets. He was elected Superintendent of Public Schools and held the office for twenty years. He served in the State Legislature and Board of Chosen Freeholder and as Associate Judge of Morris County and Tax Collector of Boonton.

Dr. Ellery Peck worked with Dr. Taylor in the building as an associate for seven years. Then in 1917, Dr. Peck went to serve in WWI and Dr. Taylor moved to Chula Vista, CA. After the war, the returning soldiers formed American Legion Post #124. Dr. Peck was one of the trustees of the Legion Post. He negotiated with the Taylor’s to purchase the building from the Post and dedicated it as a permanent memorial to veterans and a home for Post #124.

In 1922, the Town offices were moved from the Maxfield Fire House on Main Street to the John Taylor house. The Legion Post and the Town shared this building for 43 years until the present Town Hall was built in 1965. Since that time, the Boy Scouts, Civil Defense and Parking Authority have also used the building, having five floors there was enough room for everyone.

The Legion also offered space to the Boonton Historical Society. On November 11, 1980, the Society opened its museum on the second floor. This arrangement continued for ten years until Town Fathers deemed the building unsafe and it was closed to the public.

The building sat idle until the Committee to Save the John Taylor Building sought funding to renovate the building. That funding came from several sources. The largest portion came form a state grant but there were also sizable donations from the American Legion Post #124 and the Boonton Historical Society. More money came from individuals who were interested in seeing this portion of Boonton’s history kept alive and retained by the Town. The renovations were completed by professional tradesman and a few tireless volunteers. The building reopened in May 1997.

The original building had two triangler dormers on the top floor and a porch at the back of the main floor. They were removed sometime during the 1960’s. That work did solve the problem of a leaking roof but unfortunately, it made the building ineligible for designation to the historic register. Another mistake was made when the building was painted to solve the problem of leaking bricks. That mistake was undone when a civic group, Boonton’s United Community Effort, held a raffle to earn money to have the paint chemically removed and the bricks repointed.

Boonton Historical Society

The John Taylor House

Today, the building is shared by the American Legion and the Historical Society and Museum. The Town Fathers generously pay the expenses of the building and for that were are grateful (Boonton Historical Society).

Disclaimer: This information was taken from the Boonton Historical Society pamphlet and I give them full credit for the information.

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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The restaurant section of the Doo Wop 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.

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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.

Morris Museum 6 Normandy Heights Road Morristown, NJ 07960

Morris Museum 6 Normandy Heights Road Morristown, NJ 07960

 

Morris Museum

6 Normandy Heights Road

Morristown, NJ  07960

(973) 971-3700

Morris Museum Home

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-5:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Saturday 11:00am-5:00pm

Fee:  Adults $10.00/Children (3-18)  & Seniors $7.00/Children under 3 & Active Military & Members Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60906-d3179939-Reviews-Morris_Museum-Morristown_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

This was the second time I visited the Morris Museum and on every trip I learn something new. The first time I had visited the museum it was right after the movie ‘Hugo’ had opened which was a story that involved the automata (moveable animals and people mechanical objects) so my dad and I toured the permanent exhibit and then toured the rest of the museum.

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The Guinness Galleries of Automata

When I arrived at the museum at 2:00pm recently, the museum was having a talk and a demonstration on the automata and musical boxes and that was very interesting. These mechanical wonders have been around since the 1300’s being perfected in the Arabic countries by clockmakers and craftsmen at the time.

The lecture was on how they were constructed and perfected over time to make them more reasonable to a growing market and how they were replaced when phonographs, radios, record players and tapes gradually progressed to change the market and make them obsolete.  We got to hear an example of each of the objects and it was fascinating that during the Industrial Revolution how paper rolls changed the cost of these objects making them available to all classes. Today’s talking dolls and music boxes are descended from these innovative items.

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The Automata at the Morris Museum

After the talk, I walked around the Museum to see parts of it that I had not visited on my last trip. For a small suburban museum, the museum is packed with all sorts of artifacts from Native American art to dinosaur relics and fossils found in the State of New Jersey.

In the original Frelinghuysen Mansion section of the museum, you can visit the Dodge Room which was dedicated to Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, a great patron of the Arts. The room contains vintage furniture and paintings and shows what the room may have looked like when the Frelinghuysen’s lived here.

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The Dodge Room at the Morris Museum

The museum also had really interesting exhibits from travelling shows including the ‘Bob Gruen: Rock Seen’, a famous photographer whose works extend from the late 60’s until today. There were some very interesting photos from Debbie Harry, The Rolling Stones and John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

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Photographer Bob Gruen at the exhibition

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One of my favorite photos from the Bob Gruen exhibition

There was another smaller exhibition on Steampunk Fashion at the museum as well that was very interesting.

There is a lot to see and do at the museum for all ages and if none of these appeal to you there is also the theater. The Morris Museum has a lot to offer everyone.

The Museum Mission:

The Morris Museum celebrates art, science, history and the performing arts by providing engaging exhibitions and programs, all of which are designed to excite the mind and promote cultural interests. The Museum strives to educate, entertain and inspire diverse audiences of all ages, abilities and backgrounds (Museum site)

History of the Museum:

In 1913, objects collected for display in a curio cabinet at the Morristown Neighborhood House formed the beginning of the Morris Museum Collection. Originally known as the Morristown Children’s Museum, education has been an intrinsic part of the Museum’s mission from the start. Mrs. Aldus Pierson, the Museum’s first head worker, introduced children to world cultures through the exploration of cultural artifacts. Generous donors began giving Mrs. Pierson interesting objects that they had acquired in their travels around the world. By 1927, the collection had expanded to seven rooms encompassing the first floor of the Neighborhood House’s annex. Displays included the world and children’s toys.

In 1938, the Museum moved to the Maple Avenue School building and shared space with the Morristown Board of Education and the Morris Junior Colleges until 1956. This enabled the Museum to enhance its programs for children and establish a link between its offerings and the curricula of area schools. This strong educational focus developed and continues to the present. The museum was incorporated in 1946, and its collections and services continued to expand. During this time, the Museum was at the forefront of presenting new trends in museum education through the modern use of dioramas, panels and niches. The outreach education program began in 1950 with in-school presentations to eight Morris County school including talks about American Indian culture.

The Museum’s first Director, Mr. Chester H. Newkirk made a significant impact on the development of the Museum’s programs, collections and services. During his 25 years of leadership (1956-1981), the collections of fine and decorative arts, toys and American Indian artifacts were greatly enhanced. In 1964, having outgrown its fourth location, the Museum purchased Twin Oaks, the former Frelinghuysen estate. Today, the Georgian-style mansion functions as the heart of the Morris Museum’s operations. In 1969, the institution was renamed the Morris Museum of Arts and Sciences, reflecting it growing emphasis on visual art and the expansion of its offerings for all ages. In response to the Museum’s increasing activities, successful capital campaigns enabled additions to the facility to be built. In 1970, gallery space was expanded and a 312 seat theater was added, which was later named the Bickford Theater. In 1973, the Morris Museum became the first museum in New Jersey to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. In 1985, its name was changed to the Morris Museum. In 1990, the Museum complex was further expanded to 75,524 sq. ft.

The Morris Museum’s Bickford Theater is a cultural hub for the very best of the performing arts in Morristown and beyond. Approaching its 50th anniversary, it will shine with even more dynamic, multifaceted and relevant programming, including a partnership with London-based National Theater Live; two film series and unique film festivals; traveling professional productions, a new lecture series, story-telling workshops, jazz, classical and community concerts children’s theater and more.

In 2003, the Museum was awarded the Murtough D. Guinness Collection, one of the world’s most important collections of mechanical musical instruments and automata (robotic figures of animals and people). This collection further enhances the Morris Museum’s role as a major cultural center and travel destination for the arts, sciences and humanities. This 750 object collection reflects innovative technology, exquisite craftsmanship, compelling sound and important cultural heritage. In recognition of what is the Museum’s most renowned collection, the Museum launched a major capital expansion project that resulted in a 5000 square foot gallery devoted to showcasing the history of mechanical music and automata, a grand Entrance Pavilion and a sky-lighted Court and expanded upper galleries.

Today, the Morris Museum is the only accredited museum in the United States with a theater and one of New Jersey’s most dynamic cultural institutions, serving more than 300,000 persons each year, two thirds of whom are children. Audiences are drawn from all twenty-one counties throughout the state and reflect the social-economic and ethnic spectrum that define northern and central New Jersey.

In 2008, the Museum was named Outstanding Arts Organization by the Arts Council of Morris area, in recognition of its exceptional accomplishments and commitment to improving the quality of life in the community through the arts. The Morris Museum has been recognized as a Major Arts  institution by the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State (2006-2017 eleven consecutive years) in recognition of the Museum’s solid history of artistic excellence, substantial programming and board public service. The New Jersey State Council on the Arts further distinguished the Morris Museum by bestowing the COuncil’s Citation of Excellence (2007-2013 seven consecutive years). The Morris Museum is a leading cultural institution in the state, upholding the highest standards of artistic excellence, educational innovation, fiscal responsibility, community engagement, audience impact and leadership in the arts community (Museum website).

(This information comes from the Morris Museum website on their history and I give them full credit for the information)

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Automata Gallery

Sterling Hill Mine Museum  30 Plant Road   Ogdensburg, NJ 07439

Sterling Hill Mine Museum 30 Plant Road Ogdensburg, NJ 07439

Sterling Hill Mine Museum

30 Plant Road

Ogdensburg, New Jersey  07439

(973) 209-7212

https://www.sterlinghillminingmuseum.org/

https://www.sterlinghillminingmuseum.org/take-a-tour

Open: Sunday 9:30am-3:30pm/Monday-Friday  9:00am-3:30pm/Saturday 9:30am-3:30pm/Check the schedule on their website outside of July and August. The tour is usually 1:00pm.

Tours: 10:00am & 1:00pm

Fee: Adults $13.00/Seniors (65+) $12.00/Children 4-12 $10.00/Children under 4 Free

My TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46702-d584517-Reviews-Sterling_Hill_Mining_Museum-Ogdensburg_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

 

History of the Mining industry in New Jersey

 

I visited the Sterling Mining Museum when visiting Sussex County to learn more about New Jersey’s Mining past. The Sterling Mine was once a big source of zinc in the United States until it became cheaper to mine it elsewhere. There is still zinc in the mines. The mining stopped in 1985 and the mine was closed in 1986.

Tours at the museum vary by the time of the year and during the summer months there are two tours, one at 10:00am and one at 1:00pm and the tours take two hours with time to visit the gift shop and the restaurant at the beginning and end of each tour. Everything shuts down after the last tour around 3:15pm so plan your visit accordingly.

Arriving late for the tour, I started in the downstairs museum section which has the original lockers for the miners and their daily equipment, specimens of minerals and ores that have been found in the mine and elsewhere in the country. There are Native American artifacts and fossils of dinosaur tracks, bones and fragments of sea life. There are also many antiques from the Victorian age to the 1960’s to look at and items like detonators to show the items used to do the mining.

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The museum

The second part of the tour will take you outside to see the outer workings of the mine and how things moved around. There are mining carts and transports, equipment to more the ore for washing and to market. There is a silent eeriness about the mine like someone just shut off the power and then walked away.

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The entrance to the mine

The best part of the tour is of the mine itself. You will tour the tunnels where the miners worked, see in the tunnels when mining was done by hand instead of machine. where the mining cars moved and how the miners got from one level to another to work and the dangerous conditions of the work as a miner. You will travel down tunnels and see the inner workers of a foreman’s office down in the mines and how the system of ‘tag out’ works for accountability.

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The mine tour

At the end of the tour you will be taken to the tunnel of illumination and when the tour guide dims the lights, you will see the tunnel come to life in color as the minerals radiate with color.

Sterling Hill Mining Museum

The Rainbow Tunnel

I would not recommend this tour to anyone with a walking disability or who has to use a stroller with children. It is a lot of walking and very difficult to maneuver around the tunnels. I know they say it is accessible but I saw so many couples struggling through the tunnel you have to do it at your own discretion.

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The mining movement from tunnel to tunnel

 

Mission Statement of the Museum: (Taken from the Museum Pamphlet)

Our mission is to tell  the story of the Sterling Mine and to inspire lifelong learning  about earth sciences, engineering and the responsible use of the earth’s nonrenewable resources.

Note: Additions

Since the crafting of this mission statement the museum has broadened its focus considerably. We are concerned not just with the metallic resources that most people think of when they hear the word “mining” but with commodities taken from the Earth-bulk rock taken from our quarries, sand and clay excavated from surface pits and oil and  gas obtained by drilling. These commodities constitute the raw materials from which almost everything else, our house, cars, highways and bridges, computers, on and on are made.

As an institution we are neither pro-mining nor anti-mining. Instead, we are a museum about mining, again with that word used in its broadest possible context. We teach not only how mined materials are produced but also the many uses to which mined materials are put and we place special emphasis on the environmental and societal consequences of resource extraction.  Alternatives to mining such as recycling and the use of alternative materials are highlighted as well.

What we do:

*We inspire students to pursue careers in science and engineering.

*We inspire people to be thoughtful and responsible stewards of our environment.

*We are committed to preserved our historic facility, rock and mineral samples, artifacts and records to support research and foster understanding of this unique geologic area.

*We promote an understanding of human involvement in our environment and how science and technology relate to that connection.

The Mine History:

The Sterling Hill Mine is a former iron and zinc mine that was last working underground mine in New Jersey when it closed in 1986. It became a museum in 1989.

Mining began at the site in the 1630’s, when it was mistakenly thought to be a copper deposit. George III of the United Kingdom granted the property to William Alexander, titled Lord Stirling. Stirling sold it to Robert Ogden in 1765. It went through several owners until the various mines were combined into the New Jersey Zinc Company in 1897. The mine closed in 1986 due to a tax dispute with the town, which forclosed for back taxes in 1989 and auctioned the property to Richard and Robert Hauck for $750,000. It opened as a museum in August 1990.

The ore bodies at the Sterling Hill Mine lie within a formation called the Reading Prong massif; the ores are contained with the Franklin Marble. This was deposited as limestone in a Precambrian oceanic rift trough. It subsequently underwent extensive metamorphosis during the Grenville orogeny, approximately 1.15 billion years ago. In the area of the Franklin and Sterling Hill mines, 357 types of minerals are known to occur; these make up approximately 10% of the minerals known to science. Thirty five of these minerals have not been found anywhere else. Ninety one of the minerals are fluoresce.

There are 35 miles of tunnels in the mine going down 2,065 feet below the surface on the main shaft and 2,675 feet of the lower shaft. As of 2017, other than the very top of the mine the entire lower section has been flooded due to underground water table and hence longer accessible. The mine remains at 56 degrees F constantly (Wiki)

(This information on the mine was taken from both Museum brochure and Wiki and I give each full credit both the information on the mine and the museum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum Promotional Video:

 

 

The history of the Museum:

 

I want to thank YouTube and The Sterling Hill Mining Museum for these videos on the museum.

Franklin Mineral Museum  32 Evans Street     Franklin, NJ 07416

Franklin Mineral Museum 32 Evans Street Franklin, NJ 07416

Franklin Mineral Museum

32 Evans Street

Franklin, NJ  07416

(973) 827-3481

franklinmineralmuseum.com

https://franklinmineralmuseum.com/

Open: Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm/Monday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm

Fee:  Combination Rock Collecting & Museum: Adults $15.00/Children 3-16 $10.00/Seniors (65+) and Veterans $12.00; Museum Only: Adults $10.00/Children 3-16 $8.00/Seniors & Veterans $9.00. See packages on the website.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46449-d2172670-Reviews-Franklin_Mineral_Museum-Franklin_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

I recently visited the Franklin Mineral Museum on a trip to Sussex County wanting to learn more of the mining history of New Jersey. I never released that the mines were so close to my home in Bergen County. I have to admit though that the museum is a little dated with the typed signs and no video information on the exhibits.

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Where the museum shines though is in its depth of display, the interesting artifacts that the museum contains with both fossils and Native American pieces. It really shows the extent of Paleontology in the State of New Jersey and how the make up of the Earth and its history is shown in the displays. Many of the fossils have been found all over the State.

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The fossil area

Two of the exhibits that I thought stood out that you must see is the “Fluorescent Room”, which when left alone when the lights go out is an illumination of colors due to the fluorescent make up of the minerals in the rocks. It displays all the colors of the rainbow. When the lights go back on they just look like ordinary rocks. Take time when the lights are out to really look at the colors of the stones. I was told that the blue or violet ones are the rarest.

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The Fluorescent Room

Another stand out display is the simulated “Mine Replica” that takes you in a tunnel and then maze of the make up of working in a mine complete with ladders down the lower tunnels, a working office of the foreman, the mine car tracts and displays on how miners went about there business. It shows how hard and dangerous the mining industry is and was back then to today. Try to see this display first as it takes time to tour.

Before you go inside to the museum, take some time to look through the quarry for rocks and minerals. You are given a bag to keep your specimens and there is a fluorescence light to check if you found anything. At first I thought this was just for little kids but later discovered that I found some ‘glowing rocks’ that I could take home and I found this fascinating. I never knew these types of rocks existed in New Jersey.

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The quarry area

Give yourself about three hours to really explore these rooms and it will give you a clear indication of how New Jersey formed as a State and its role in the evolution of the Earth. There are some really interesting displays to see and read about.

 

 

History of the Museum & Mines:

(This information was provided by the Franklin Mineral Museum pamphlet)

Due to the depletion of zinc and other ores the Franklin Mine closed operations in 1954. In preservation of the mining heritage the local Kiwanis Club started an annual mineral show donating the funds to charitable causes. Popularity of the show lead to the formation of the Franklin Mineral Museum, a non-profit educational museum, incorporated July 1, 1963, which is governed by a board of trustees and powered by a dedicated staff. Of note: Although the Kiwanis Club is no longer involved with the museum, the original sign still hangs over the outside door to the mine replica.

The former Buckwheat engine house, thought to be the hoist house that supplied the power to lift the mined ore from the Buckwheat open pit was donated to the museum in 1963. The mine replica was installed and made a permanent display inside the hoist house. Of note: Around 1940, the original replica was a modular unit displayed at the local community center “Neighborhood House” and was used to show the miners’ families how they worked inside the mine. Prior to being reconstructed inside the engine house the modular replica was used at the NJ Zinc Company for the purpose of training mine rescue workers.

A mineral repository was also added in 1963 to the museum. The first mineral exhibit was donated by the NJ Zinc Company to the Kiwanis Club for display in the then permanent mine replica. The collection consisted of 71 specimens and mill samplings, including 11 fluorescents. The first mineral exhibit was later used as a traveling exhibit is displayed in the “Local Mining District Mineral” room of the museum. (Of note: The collection was originally on display in 1920 at the local high school and then moved around to several other locations, then the Neighborhood House in 1940.

On October 9, 1965, the Franklin Mineral Museum opened to the public. On June 20, 1968, the State of New Jersey declared the Borough of Franklin, NJ “The Fluorescent Mineral Capital of the World”. The discovery of more than 200 varieties of minerals from the working mines brought forth the great phenomena of mineral wonders from this area, particularly brilliant fluorescent minerals. On September 24, 1971, the State of New Jersey declared the Franklin Mineral Museum an Historic Site. Today this museum houses the most comprehensive display of local fluorescent minerals in the world.

The Museum is broken down into several rooms and displays:

 

World Minerals “Welsh Hall”:

*There are approximately 6000 world-wide specimens and some from outer space.

*The three rock types are displayed. Igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary.

*Displays include meteorites, solidified lava, a volcanic bomb, pumice the floating rock, gold and birthstones in natural and gem forms.

*The hollow rocks called geodes are formed from air bubbles in lava and often contain crystals. (Wilfred Welsh, a former teacher from Saddle River, NJ and his wife, Mary, collected and donated the majority of specimens in this room. This collection represents the passion they had for minerals. New specimens are continually added to this exhibit).

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The Mineral Room

“Mine Replica”:

*In the lower level, left tunnel, the can in the alcove represents the miners’ “bathroom”. If a miner showed up late for work it was his job to carry the cans at the end of the shift (Where the expression “Going to the Can” comes from).

*This area contains the “Wall of Zinc”. The exhibit demonstrates the layers of various zinc ores that may have been visible in the mine.

*The original ore cars were pulled by mules.

*The miners of the 1800’s used candles & oil wick lamps on top of their helmets. Later in the 1900’s the carbide light was used to do away with candles. Water dripping on carbide produced acetylene gas which provided better light.

*Rats were prevalent in the mines. They stole lunches out of the metal lunch boxes if not locked. Most importantly they were very good indicators of cave-ins and provided early warning signs.

*The office exhibit represents that of a NJ Zinc scientist. This exhibit and open display area with “Sam” show mining artifacts. “Sam” is the original miner statue that stood outside of the museum, now replaced by a bronze statue sculptured by Carey Boone Nelson.

*Upstairs show the stope and pillar mining used in the 1900’s

*The large drill weighed 300 pounds and took two men to operate.

*The man cage (mine elevator) delivered men to their work levels inside the mine. A signal bell was rung to alert the operator.

 

Artifacts:

The artifacts of Native American, Artic & Aztec tribes, representing various regions are displaying in this exhibit.

“Fossils & Artifacts”:

*Petrified wood, the large circles along the wall are slices of fossilized tree trunk. The wood has been replaced with mineral over a long period of time. The tree rounds are estimated to date back to the Triassic Age 230 million years ago.

*The dinosaur footprint is from a Grallator, that roamed NJ. Grallator means “stilt walker”. This was a herding dinosaur known only from its fossilized footprints. Grallator-type footprints have been found in formations dating from the late Triassic through to the early Cretaceous periods. It is said to have up to five toes.

*The large bone is from a Mastodon.  Mastodons are an extinct group of mammal; species related to elephants. They inhabited North and Central America during the late Miocene or late Pliocene up to their extinction at the end of the Pleistocene  10,000 to 11,000 years ago. Their genus name is Mammut and they are members of the order Proboscidea. They lived in herds and were predominately forest dwelling animals.

*Coprolite is fossilized dinosaur dung.

*The giant shark tooth is from the Megalodon one of the largest most powerful predators. It is an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 28 to 1.5 million years ago, during the Cenozoic Era. Fossil remains suggest that this giant shark reached a maximum length of 46-59 feet. Some believe that the Megalodon still swims in the deep waters today and are larger in size than originally thought.

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The Fossil Room

*Trilobites are extinct arthropods, distant relatives of modern lobsters, horseshoe crabs and spiders. Trilobites existed for approximately 300 million years. They lived from the Lower Cambrian Period (521 million years ago) to the end of the Permian (240 million years ago). Trilobites were probably the first life forms with complex eyes with some species having hundreds of individual lenses per eye.

 

“Fluorescent Room”:

The Fluorescence of the Franklin ores was discovered accidentally in the early 1900’s. Sparks from primitive electrical equipment in the mines caused the rocks to glow. Sparking equipment in the mines caused the rocks to glow. Sparking equipment was built and the fluorescents were used to follow ore zones and to monitor the quality of mill concentrates. Later, fluorescence was used to determine if exploratory drill holes were close to the ore body. If the holes would glow red. Calcite further from the holes had no fluorescence.

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The Fluorescent Room

The reason why some minerals fluoresce is because of the impurities in the mineral. The ultraviolet light rays dislodge and excite electrons from their orbits in a molecular structure of the mineral and in their efforts to get back in the orbit, the electrons give off energy in the form of light.

Fluorescence refers to the emission of visible light from a substance being irradiated by ultraviolet light which the human eye can not see.

In the displays:

The large exhibit displays some of the finest fluorescent minerals from the local mining district, shown under shortwave ultraviolet light. Most local fluorescent minerals look fairly ordinary in natural light and only fluoresce under shortwave ultraviolet light. The exhibit on the opposite wall identifies local specimens in alphabetical order under shortwave ultraviolet light. Only a few local minerals fluoresce under long wave ultraviolet light, some of which are displayed in the first case you enter.

“Local Mining District Mineral Room”:

*Every mineral on display is from the local mining district of Franklin or Sterling-Hill.

*Several geological events produced the wealth of mineral species found in this area.

*The first one mined in Franklin was magnetite iron ore. Searching for more magnetite, zinc was discovered.

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The Mineral Room

The discovery of zinc in the minerals franklinite, willemite and zincite brought on a new era of mining. Between 1848 and 1897 several small companies began underground zinc mining and continued to do so until the great consolidation of 1897.

In 1897, these smaller companies consolidate to from the New Jersey Zinc Company which operated in Franklin until 1954 and then closed after exhausting the mineral resources available.

The Franklin open cut “surface mining” with an underground opening to the mine is across the street and currently under water. The open cut was originally named the “Buckwheat Mine”. The “buckwheat dump” is the collecting area of the museum, comprised of discarded rock from that mine.

*The mine produced 22 million tons of ore worth 500 million dollars.

*Many uses for Zinc include sunscreen, pennies, paint, batteries…

*Solid zinc bars are on display in this room.

In this exhibits:

*The left side of the room as you walk in, displays various species of local minerals. The primary economic ores mined were willemite, franklinite and zincite. See a sample that contains all of these minerals in “High Grade Franklin Ore” located on the floor next to the Franklinite Crystal model.

Willemite: Colorless to white, gray, flesh-red, dark brown, honey-yellow, apple-green, blue, Fluorescent (green) under shortwave ultraviolet light.

Franklinite: is an oxide mineral. Commonly occurs with willemite, calcite and red zincite forming small black octahedral crystals. Franklinite was only found here in the local mining district until recently.

Zincite: A mineral form of zinc oxide. Its crystal form is rare in nature except at the Franklin and Sterling Hill Mines. The hexagonal crystal is red-colored (mostly due to iron and manganese) and associated with willemite and franklinite. Some zincite fluoresces yellow under long wave light.

*You can collect for these mineral species on the “buckwheat dump” located on the property of the museum.

*On display are small amounts of gold found here.

*The corner floor display consists of local common rocks and minerals some of which contain iron. There was an iron furnace located at the now Police station at the edge of the Franklin pond. Most of the iron mined here was called magnetite. Magnetite is highly magnetic.

Some minerals on display are on loan from various institutions and major universities. We have out minerals on display in museums all over the world. The majority of the specimens are acquired through donations or purchased for the betterment of the museum.

As of this publication, the Franklin-Sterling ore deposits have produced 359 different mineral species about 10% of all those known to man. More mineral species than anywhere else on earth, 19 of these are unique to the area, 92 of which are fluorescent.

(This information on the museum and on their displays is taken from the Franklin Mineral Museum pamphlet and I give the museum full credit for the information. Please check the website for more information about programs at the museum.)

 

 

World War II Lookout Tower Museum & Memorial  Sunset Boulevard Lower Township near Cape May Point, NJ

World War II Lookout Tower Museum & Memorial Sunset Boulevard Lower Township near Cape May Point, NJ

World War II Lookout Tower Museum & Memorial

Sunset Boulevard

Lower Township near Cape May Point, NJ

(609) 884-5404/(800) 275-4278

http://www.capemaymac.org

https://www.capemaymac.org/world-war-ii-lookout-tower

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm

Fee:  Adults $6.00, the first child free with paying adult and the next child $3.00 (3-12)/Veterans $3.00/Active Military Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46341-d2256593-Reviews-World_War_II_Lookout_Tower-Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

The World War II Lookout Tower Museum & Memorial is an interesting look of how our armed forces used these towers to watch the coastlines for U-boats and enemy ships during the war. Several German submarines were spotted along the coasts of New York and New Jersey during the war and the threat of attack was uncertain. As the war progressed on though, we found that this was a war being fought in the air and these towers were actually obsolete by the end of the war.

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The World War II Tower

The tower is very interesting and very easy to climb. Don’t let the height fool you, there are only about a 100 stairs with landings on all three levels with displays on them.  The bottom level has a gift shop and display pictures of the history of the tower. The second level has shots of veterans of the wars before when the were enlisted and today (when they were much older). There were a lot of local veterans to the Cape May area.

World War II Tower

World War II Tower pictures

The top level was manned by a docent who talked about the history of the tower, provided pictures of the area before and after World War II and the role it played during the war. She discussed the only ship attack since Pearl Harbor was right off the coast of New Jersey as well as the ‘Blackouts’ that were conducted in town to stymie any attacks.

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World War II Tower

Take time to look over all the displays and pictures and the role Cape May had in the war to help protect the East Coast.

 

History of the World War II Lookout Tower Museum & Memorial:

 

Why is Fire Control Tower No. 23 administered by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC):

Like the Cape May Lighthouse, Fire Control Tower No. 23 is owned by the State of New Jersey (specifically the Department of Environmental Protection Division of Parks). As was the case with the Lighthouse, the State lacks the funds to restore and operate these historic structures. Instead it has leased them to the area’s leading cultural and historic preservation organization, the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Founded in 1970, MAC saved and restored the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate and operates it as Cape May’s only Victorian house museum. Starting in 1986, MAC spent 15 years (and some $2 milion) on the restoration of the Cape May Lighthouse.

In 2004, MAC signed a 20 year lease for Fire Control Tower No. 23. After raising one million dollars (from the New Jersey Historic Trust, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, a Small Cities Block Grant administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and Lower Township and a Save America’s Treasures Grant administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior), MAC restored the Tower in 2008-09 and opened it to the public in April 2009. MAC is also mounting permanent Memorial Plaques in the Tower that will allow family members to honor veterans of any war or engagement.

(This information was taken from the World War II Lookout Tower pamphlet proved by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities)

Was Fire Control Tower No. 23 used for spotting fires?

No, it was used for spotting enemy ships during World War II and aiming guns to fire on them.

This Fire Tower was part of Fort Miles. So, where was Fort Miles anyway?

Fort Miles was never a building. It was a number of fire control towers, gun batteries plus barracks and support buildings on both sides of Delaware Bay. By World War II, the military used a spread-out series of towers and batteries, whose firing ranges overlapped to protect a large territory. Its largest guns and headquarters were located on the Delaware side (in what is now Cape Henlopen State Park), since the shipping channel hugs the Southern shore of Delaware Bay.

Were there any other Fire Control Towers?

Yes, there were originally 15 concrete fire control towers, 11 on the Delaware side and four here in New Jersey. Of the four in New Jersey, the ones in North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest have been destroyed, while the one on Beach Avenue in Cape May has been engulfed by the Grand Hotel (with only its top visible, sticking above the roof). One of the towers in Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware has been restored and opened to the public.

Were there any naval battles in the Delaware Bay?

No. German submarines sank many merchant vessels off the coast of Cape May but no German ships ever got up the Delaware River to attack the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia or Camden.

Was Fire Control Tower No 23 built here or prefabricated?

The Fire Control was built here in June, 1942 by using a sliding tube shaped form.  A ring of reinforced concrete was poured. When that solidified, the form was slid up and more concrete was poured. The whole Tower was formed this way except for the top, which required a form of its own. The whole process took only two and a half days.

Was the Cape May area important during World War II?

Yes, the Cape May area was a beehive of military activity during World War II. Cape May harbor had a Naval Air Station, a Coast Guard base and an airport. Naval Air Station Wildwood (where the County Airport is now) trained aircraft carrier pilots. Cape May Shipbuilders on Wilson Drive, where the Cape May Whale Watcher is now, built Navy tugboats and dredges. The Northwest Magnesite plant, which made an ingredient used in firebricks for steel mills, was located across Sunset Boulevard from Fire Control Tower No. 23.

(This information was taken from the World War II Tower pamphlet and I give them full credit for it.)