Tag: nj museums

Ringwood Manor-A New Jersey State Park 1304 Sloatsburg Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456

Ringwood Manor-A New Jersey State Park 1304 Sloatsburg Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456

Ringwood Manor-A New Jersey State Park

1304 Sloatsburg Road

Ringwood, NJ  07456

Phone: (973) 962-7031

Fax: (973) 962-2247


Admission: Adults $3.00/Children 6-12 $1.00/Children 5 and under Free

Review on TripAdvisor:


I have visited the Ringwood Manor during the Christmas holidays over the last three years and it keeps getting better. Each room in the house is tastefully decorated for the holidays. The Great Hall was decorated with garland and ornaments with a large tree in the corner.

The formal dining room was set for Christmas dinner for the family after church. The elegant china was set on the table with poppers and small Christmas gifts for the guests. The side boards were set with the dinner entrees and sides for the family meal.

ringwood manor christmas

Each room was set for the holidays with garlands, trees and decorations. As it was explained to me on another house tour during the holidays, the Victorians would normally only decorate one or two rooms for the holidays and not the whole house. The whole house might be decorated based on the wealth of the family and the amount of servants to take care of the home. Needles would have to cleaned up and the trees would have to be attended to on a daily basis.

One of the nicest rooms that was decorated was the screened in porch. Here there was a tree set with presents, hot house flowers and garland lining the room. The sunlight shined throughout the room and the decorations sparkled.

Each room had a docent to explain the decor or what the room’s use had been in the family’s time. A visitor can roam the house at their leisure and see the rooms as many times as they want. There is also a gift shop in a room off the formal dining room that contains some beautiful Christmas crafts for sale by the Women’s Club of New Milford. Some of these women are very creative and sell the most amazing Christmas ornaments made of glitter, wood, branches, walnuts and moss.

The decor of the home changes over time and there are different things to see every year. The barn also on the property as you drive in has more artwork and crafts. In the Gardener’s Shed next to the house, the Society has a small cafe with sandwiches, desserts and coffee/tea/hot chocolate.

The tour of Ringwood Manor is wonderful during the holiday season and the rest of the house opens up during the warmer months of the year.

History of the House:

This 582 acre historic site is open to the public year round. The historic house museum, Ringwood Manor is open Wednesday to Sundays year round.

History of 19th Century Manor House and Landscape:

The present manor house was begun by Martin J. Ryerson in 1807. He and his sons controlled not only the iron mines and forges on the property but also operated productions at four other locations in the area. The Ryerson family resided in their 10 room Federal style home for almost 50 years.

In 1853, the Ryerson’s house and property were purchased by business partners Peter Cooper and his son in law Abram S. Hewitt. The 22,000 acre ironworks and the Ryerson’s home were purchased for a sum of $100,000. Their company, Cooper-Hewitt & Company, grew to be the fifth largest corporation in the United States. The Hewitt’s, one of the most influential and wealthiest families of the 19th century, fell in love with the Ringwood estate.

They decided to make this site of their summer home, naming it The Forges and Manor of Ringwood. They enlarged the home of the Ryerson’s, constructing major additions or renovations in 1864, 1875, 1900 and 1910. The completed 51 room house is 226.5 feet long and features 28 bedrooms, 24 fireplaces and 13 bathrooms and more than 250 windows. The house was built in an eclectic style, typical of the Victorian period. In 1875, the Manor House was an excellent example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. By 1900, the Hewitt’s changed the exterior facade to its present appearance, adding the neo-classical portico and columns of the front porch and affixing white stucco to the exterior walls. The furnishings of the house reflect the varying tastes and styles of the family and time period.

The formal gardens surrounding the Manor House were developed by Mrs. Hewitt and her daughter, Eleanor around 1900. Their design was influenced by the Hewitt’s many trips overseas. The gardens possess a mysterious old world charm that captivates visitors as they enjoy the serenity of reflecting pools and the progression of blooms from early spring to late fall. Placed throughout the garden are French and Italian statuary and garden ornaments as well many interesting architectural items from New York City acquired while Abram Hewitt served as Mayor and Congressman. Examples of these features include columns from the old New York Life building, gates from the Astor family’s home and gate posts from Columbia College. Relics from the iron company that are found on the grounds include a trip hammer and anvil, cog wheel and a Dictator-class mortar the base of which was created by the Hewitt’s company and used at the Battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi during the Civil War.

History of Ringwood, NJ:

Colonial Ringwood:

Long before the Forges & Manor of Ringwood existed this property was occupied by the Native American people. Prehistoric artifacts found on the grounds confirm their inhabitance back to the Archaic and Woodlands periods. Living in a hunting and farming paradise, these Munsee-speaking Lenape peoples dwelled at the head of the Topompock or Ringwood River Valley. This paradise attracted colonial prospectors, who by 1740, came for the iron ore found in the ground. Recognizing the rich magnetite ores, Cornelius Board settled here in 1739 and first utilized the property for iron mining. He was followed shortly thereafter by the Ogden family who established the Ringwood Company and built the first blast furnace here in 1742.

After twenty years of production, a German promoter, Peter Hasenclever, organized the American Iron Company to exploit the resources in colonial North America, purchasing the Ringwood area in 1764. He would also develop forges at Long Pond and Charlotteburg but made Ringwood the center of his iron empire. Hasenclever established iron plantations and developed the production of flax and timber across 50,00 acres of land stretching through New Jersey and New York, from present day Butler to New Foundland and Nova Scotia. The iron was said to have been “the best iron in the American colonies.” Robert Erskine, the last ironmaster of the American Iron Company, was sent from England in 1771 and would manage the company during the Revolutionary War.

(History of Ringwood, NJ)

Cape May Fireman’s Museum 643 Washington Street at the corner of  Franklin Street  Cape May, NJ 08204

Cape May Fireman’s Museum 643 Washington Street at the corner of Franklin Street Cape May, NJ 08204

Cape May Firemen’s Museum

643 Washington Street at the corner of Franklin Street

Cape May, NJ  08204

(609) 884-9512


Admission: Free

Hours: Call ahead

My review on TripAdvisor:


When I was in Cape May, NJ recently and came across the Cape May Fire Department Museum when walking around the town. It is interesting little museum that tells the history of the Cape May Fire Department.

The museum showcases the history Cape May Fire Department since its creation in the late 1880’s. There have been some serious fires over the years that have destroyed sections of the Cape May resort community. Some of the resorts oldest and grandest hotels that were made of wood have been leveled by spectacular fires. The department has framed the articles around the building.

There is also large collection of patches from fire departments all over the country, displays of equipment from all eras of fire fighting and some displays that are dedicated to retired firemen from the department with their equipment.

Some fascinating old fire equipment is on display as well. All of this is marked accordingly along the walls. In the middle of the museum there is an antique pumper to admire that has been fully restored. All the pieces of equipment are dated and described so that you can see the transition in fire fighting over the years.

cape may fire museum ii

Cape May Fire Department News:

The museum is open and free to the public. Please come and enjoy the history of the City of Cape May Fire Department. Shirts can be purchased inside the Station. The career personnel on staff will be happy to assist you. The antique Fire Engine is a 1928 American La France and is house inside our museum.

Disclaimer: I credit the Cape May Fire Department for this information and I give them full credit on it. Please call the Department for hours of their museum.

Waldwick Museum of Local History           4 Hewson Avenue  Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Museum of Local History 4 Hewson Avenue Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Museum of Local History

4 Hewson Avenue

Waldwick, NJ  07463

(201) 873-8913


The Museum is open one Sunday afternoon a month and for special events only.

TripAdvisor Review:


I visited the Waldwick Museum of Local History during the Northwest Bergen History Coalition 8th Annual History Day for their exhibition, “How Immigration & the Railroad Shaped our Towns”. The Waldwick Museum is in the restored 1887 Railroad Station, which has served the town of Waldwick and the surrounding towns.

The Museum is has been planned for years and the restoration was spearheaded by Doug Cowie, the Vice-President of the Waldwick Community Alliance, who at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the opening on May 22nd, 2016, thanked resident, Kay Williams. Ms. Williams formed the Waldwick Historical Society in 1977.

In a ‘Brief History of the Borough of Waldwick’, the timeline for the town is:

Pre-1700: Lenni-Lenape Indians inhabited the land.

1600’s: European farmers settled the land.

Late 1700’s: Franklin Turnpike is a toll road.

1840’s: The Railroad connecting Jersey City with Suffern is built and ran through Waldwick, then named New Prospect.

1852: Erie Railroad Company takes over the railroad.

1880: New Prospect becomes a depot.

1886: An architectural Queen Anne Style depot is built. The depot is called ‘Waldwick’ meaning “Light in the Woods”. The depot brings more commerce to the area also called Orville Township.

1890: The Railroad Signal Tower is erected in a similar style as the Depot.

1919: The small railroad hamlet is incorporated as the Borough of Waldwick.

When I visited the museum that day, the theme of the day was how immigration had changed the suburbs and how the Town of Waldwick had a increase of Italian immigrants move into the town bringing their traditions with them and how it shaped the town.

They also had an extensive exhibition of the town’s railroad past with maps and pictures of the old railroads. The pictures are accompanied with memorabilia from the railroad era. There is also artifacts from the town in different eras on display.

The museum has limited hours and is run by volunteers. It is open one afternoon a month and for special events.

The African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers (Society of African Missions) 23 Bliss Avenue Tenafly, NJ 07670

The African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers (Society of African Missions) 23 Bliss Avenue Tenafly, NJ 07670

The African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers (Society of African Missions)

23 Bliss Avenue

Tenafly, NJ  07670

(201) 894-8611


Hours: 8:00am-5:00pm Seven Days a week

Please contact us for group tours.

Free admission but a donation is suggested.

TripAdvisor Review:


This museum was established in 1980 and is one of the only rare few in the United States dedicated solely to the arts of Africa. Its permanent collections, exhibited on a rotating basis, offer a unique advantage in the study and research of sub-Saharan sculpture and painting, costumes, textiles and decorative arts, religion and folklore. The African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers is one of five museums around the world founded and maintained by the Society of African Missions, an International Roman Catholic missionary organization that serves the people of Africa.

The museum is the continued vision of SMA’s founder, Bishop Melchior de Marion Bresillac (1813-1859). The French-born clergyman urged his Society to respect and preserve the culture of the peoples they serve, the unique among the missionaries of his time. (This information is provided by the museum).

Their current exhibitions is on the “Africanizing of Christian Art” which shows the 20th Century encounter between Catholic Christianity and the visual culture of the Yoruba, a prominent west African people of southwest Nigeria under the conditions of late colonization (This information provided by the museum).

The collection contains many works in the form of masks, textile work, religious figurines and decorative arts. Each display case shows a different theme in the art. The museum is the main hallway of the church. It grounds are also nice to walk around in in the nice weather.

Carlstadt Historical Firehouse Museum Division Avenue & Sixth Street Carlstadt, NJ 07072

Carlstadt Historical Firehouse Museum Division Avenue & Sixth Street Carlstadt, NJ 07072

Carlstadt Historical Firehouse Museum

Division Avenue & Sixth Street

Carlstadt, NJ  07072

(201) 933-1070


Open: The last Sunday of every month from 2:00pm-4:00pm.

TripAdvisor Review:


The Carlstadt Historical Firehouse Museum is run by the Carlstadt Historical Society houses a remarkable collection that includes archival photographs, written documents, new articles, clothing and other items that bring the borough’s colorful history to life. You can find everything from 1930’s era school pennants to early 20th Century fife and drum corp uniforms to a vintage breathalyzer used by the police department.

The first floor of the museum is dedicated to the War effort with memorabilia from residents who fought in WWI and WWII, articles from both the Carlstadt Police and Fire Department, pieces of artwork from buildings around the town and mementos from residents of the town. The second floor is dedicated to the school district with pennants from school graduations and parties (Carlstadt is home to the oldest continuing school picnic in the county), pictures of classes of the schools (I even found my aunt and uncles pictures from when they attended school here) and high school yearbooks.

If you are an alumnus of the school system, you will get a kick out of the second floor of the museum. Not only does it have the school archives but lots of pictures that were donated by alumni of the schools of their experiences. Years of school pennants line the ceiling.

The museum can be seen in one afternoon but you will spend more time just looking at all the pictures and getting lost in the experience.

Disclaimer: Some of the information was taken from the Bergen County Historical Society and some from my recent to the museum. The museum is open only on the 4th Sunday of each month and by appointment only so you need to plan accordingly.

Little Red School House Museum/Lyndhurst Historical Society 400 Riverside Avenue Lyndhurst, NJ 07071

Little Red School House Museum/Lyndhurst Historical Society 400 Riverside Avenue Lyndhurst, NJ 07071

Little Red School House Museum/Lyndhurst Historical Society

400 Riverside Avenue

Lyndhurst, NJ  07071

(201) 804-2513


Open: Last Sunday of the month from 2:00pm-4:00pm

TripAdvisor Review:


The Lyndhurst Historical Society is an interesting look into the early history of both the town of Lyndhurst, NJ and Bergen County. The museum shows how we moved from the agricultural era to the modern era in just one generation. The growth of the county really accelerated after the Civil War into the 1920’s. The building itself is built on the original 1804 school house that was torn down for the newer one built in 1893. The unique part of the museum’s history is that the building was used as a school house for third graders in the town until 1980.

The museum is a treasure trove of memorabilia from the town’s past. One part of the museum is set up as an early school room with desks, blackboards and a whole teacher’s work area while the other side of the display is a nurses office for the kids. What is unique about the museum is that the original bell to call the children for school is still located on the top of the building and the bell can be accessed by the string in the coat room. They even let you ring the original school bell that has been in place all this time. The original built in chalk boards exist with artwork that had been left on them from the 20’s that have now been preserved.

The other side of the floor plan is items from the 100th Anniversary of Lyndhurst that happened last year. The displays are related to the celebration with displays on businesses that have been in town for many years, Indian relics that were found in the town and memorabilia.  Even the basement bathrooms are from the 1920’s and still work!

Lyndhurst Historical Society:

The Lyndhurst Historical Society is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of local historic sites and the promotion of community pride in our history and traditions.

In 1984, a group of local citizens formed the Lyndhurst Historical Society. One of the Society’s early projects was to restore the “Little Red Schoolhouse” on Riverside Avenue and establish a museum in the schoolhouse for the exhibition of local history memorabilia.

With community support as well as county and state grants, the Society’s goal to open the Schoolhouse Museum to the public was achieved in 1993.

The Society meets regularly on the third Wednesday of each month (except July and August) to…

*plan and present educational programs and workshops of historical interest.

*raise funds to meet the goals of the organization.

Active members and supporters are vital to the success and growth of the Lyndhurst Historical Society. We welcome:

*those interested in membership.

*anyone wishing to volunteer time.

*offers of financial support (all memberships and donations are tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations).

Little Red Schoolhouse:

A one room schoolhouse crowned by a bell, symbolizes a simpler time, 19th and early 20th century America.

In 1804, Jacob Van Winkle presented a strip of land to the school trustees for the construction of River Road School (“The Little Red Schoolhouse”). The yearly rent was one peppercorn if demanded. Thus was born the first known public school system of southern Bergen County. A subsequent building was erected in 1849. In 1893, the present school was built and used for classes until 1980.

The Township purchased the school in 1984. It was leased to the Lyndhurst Historical Society in order to preserve this landmark, now more than a century old, for future generations to appreciate and to use as a local museum.

Lyndhurst Historical Sites:

The Little Red Schoolhouse is one of three historic sites in Lyndhurst.

Just south of the Schoolhouse is the Jeremiah Yearance House, circa 1841. Years ago, teachers assigned to the School often boarded at the Yearance House during the week because the commute by train to their permanent homes would be too long.

One block north of the Schoolhouse is the Jacob Van Winkle House, built in 1797. Van Winkle presented the property for the Schoolhouse in 1804. River Road School is joined by the Van Winkle and Yearance Houses on both the National and New Jersey registries of historic places.

Historical Events & Trivia:

Did you know…

*Lyndhurst was once called Achter Kol?

*The town has three sites on both the New Jersey and National Historic Sites Registry?

*January 9, 2004 marked the 200th anniversary of the deeding of the land to the school house?

*Lewandowski Commons is named for the brothers killed in World War II?

*Palazzo Corner, built in 1905 and located at 262 Ridge Road, was used as the town’s first police state and court clerk’s office?

*The Jacob Van Winkle House, now the Masonic Club is the oldest building in Lyndhurst?

Events sponsored by the Lyndhurst Historical Society include:


*re-enactments & historical portrayals

*cultural, artistic and musical presentations

*educational lectures

*bus and walking tours of Lyndhurst

Schoolhouse Museum Information:

The museum is located on the corner of Fern and Riverside Avenue, is open to the general public on the fourth Sundays of each month from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.

Group tours can be arranged at any time by reservation for schools, organizations and individuals. A visit includes a tour of the Schoolhouse, its exhibits and a presentation of local history by one of the Society’s docents. Call (201) 804-2513 for further information on museum tours and special events.

Disclaimer: The second part of the this information was taken directly from the Lyndhurst Historical Society’s pamphlet. The Little Red Schoolhouse is open from 2:00pm-4:00pm on the last Sunday of each month or by appointment only. Please plan accordingly.


The Belskie Museum of Art & Science, Inc. 280 High Street Closter, NJ 07624

The Belskie Museum of Art & Science, Inc. 280 High Street Closter, NJ 07624

The Belskie Museum of Art & Science Inc.

280 High Street

Closter, NJ  07624

(201) 768-0286


Saturday & Sunday open: 1:00pm-5:00pm

Free Admission

Closed July and August

TripAdvisor Review:


The History:

The Belskie Museum, a tax exempt non-profit corporation, was founded in Closter, New Jersey in 1993 to save, restore and exhibit the works of Abram Belskie (1907-1988), one of our country’s most accomplished sculptors and one of the most eminent medical illustrators of our times. Mr. Belskie was a resident of Closter his entire adult life.

The museum’s 3,900 square feet modern building was built entirely by the Closter Lions Club and donated to the Borough of Closter upon its completion in 1994.

In addition to housing the many works of Abram Belskie, the museum also hosts monthly art exhibits by local, national and international artists and as a result, has become one of Bergen County’s leading forum for the arts.

Past exhibitors include the estate of world famous photographer Andre Kertesz and Italian painter/sculptors Emilio & Ugo Baracco. A featured exhibit of photography in March 2003 was by Academy Award and Tony Award winning actress Ellen Burstyn.

The museum also hosts exhibits from the local schools and colleges and many local artists.

The museum is operated entirely by volunteers under the direction of a six-member Board of Directors (also entirely volunteer) appointed by the Borough of Closter, The Closter Lions Club and the Closter Public Library Trustees. Funding is from grants, memberships, fundraising exhibitions and donors.

The museum has new art, history and science exhibits throughout the year. Open on Saturdays, Sundays and by appointment.

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from The Belskie Museum of Art & Science Inc. pamphlet. Please call the above number or email them for more information of hours of operation. The museum does change their exhibitions almost every month.