Ocean City Historical Museum
1735 Simpson Avenue
Ocean City, MD 08226
My review on TripAdvisor:
The entrance to the museum is inside the Municipal Building and Library 1735 Simpson Avenue
I made a trip to many of the beach towns at the Jersey Shore recently visiting the small historical societies that explain the history and development of these small towns. It is amazing to see how they have developed in just 150 years from Native American fishing villages to thriving vacation spots and permanent residential districts. Ocean City, NJ itself has an interesting history.
As you enter the museum from the back of the library, you are warmly greeted by a docent who will explain the museum to you. Then you will follow a semicircle through the exhibitions in a genealogical order from when the town was founded to modern times and events.
The first exhibition is called “From Hunting Ground to the Modern Resort:
The early history from the time the Native Americans used the shore line for fishing and hunting to the history of the Miller family who owned parts of the island. The exhibit explained how the Miller family owned this section the island and how it was developed. These were the early years of the island until the coming of the Methodist colony.
The second Exhibition was “The Founders and the Early Years”:
In 1879, four Methodist ministers came to Ocean City to develop a Summer Colony and resort for their members based on Christian values. This lead to the development of the “Blue Laws” in which some traces are found today. The displays discussed the how the resort moved into modern times and how this development shaped the resort as it is today. There are interesting pictures of the development of the Camp in the turn of the last century.
The third Exhibition was “The Boardwalk”:
The development of the first Boardwalk in 1887 to give access to the shoreline lead to early development around it. You could follow the developments of many versions of the Boardwalk over the years due to storms and development. There were displays of old movie theaters that used to dot the Boardwalk along with other family businesses that opened over the years. Old hotels that have since closed or being used for other uses had their histories told. The Flanders Hotel’s history was displayed.
The forth Exhibition was “The Sindia”:
The Sindia was a shipwreck off the coast of Ocean City that ran aground in 1901. It still lies off the coast but many of the artifacts of the wreck are displayed here. There is all sorts of bottles, dishware and other household and decorative items displayed here. There is also an interesting display of model ships.
The last Exhibition was on actress Grace Kelly and her family:
Princess and Actress Grace Kelly used to vacation with her family in Ocean City from the time she was a little girl until her death. I never realized that her father was an Olympic Rower and used to row at the Jersey Shore. Her brother was a lifeguard for the town as well. There are all sorts of family pictures of her and her siblings growing up here. What I thought was interesting was she bought her royal family to the Jersey shore to vacation with her family and there were pictures before she passed enjoying her time here. That I thought was very interesting that she never forgot her roots.
The Grace Kelly exhibition
Don’t miss their nice gift shop that has all sorts of decorative items and jellies and honey.
History of the Museum:
(from the Museum’s Website)
The Ocean City Historical Museum is a nonprofit 501(c) 3 corporation established in April of 1964. It was created by a group of enthusiastic volunteers with the support of the local government. The purpose of the Museum is to preserve the city’s history for future generations for both visitors and residents.
The first museum was located on the first floor of the old elementary school at 409 Wesley Avenue. It was only open during the summer of its first full year, as the building was still being used as a school. In July of 1965, it was opened for year round visitors when the school moved to its new location. The museum moved to its current location at the Ocean City Community Center at 1735 Simpson Avenue in 1990.
The mission of the Ocean City Historical Museum is to delight, inspire and educate the public about the story of Ocean City, NJ and to collect, preserve and promote items relevant to its heritage, traditions and memories.
Vision: The Vision of the Ocean City Historical Museum is to be an inviting, informative and innovative community resource that is recognized and respected as the place for exploring and celebrating the rich history and heritage of Ocean City, NJ.