The Pascack Historical Society Museum (John C. Storms Museum)
19 Ridge Avenue
Park Ridge, NJ 07656
Phone: (201) 573-0307
Open on Wednesdays !0:00am-12:00pm and Sundays from 1:00pm-4:00pm; Admission is Free. Gift Shop hours are when the museum is open. (Holiday Excepted).
The Historical Society is now celebrating their 75th Anniversary.
The Pascack Historical Society Museum (John C. Storms Museum), headquarters of the award-winning Pascack Historical Society, is located in the 1873 church building that was dedicated by the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. The building and all the exhibitions have gone through an extensive renovation and have been reinstalled with more signage and information. Please check out their new displays.
The Pascack Historical Society in Park Ridge, NJ
The extensive exhibits include a general store, colonial kitchen, a Victorian Living Room, dolls, clothing and other displays of American life in the Pascack Valley. There is also an special exhibition that features the world’s only wampum drilling machine as well as a collection of early Colonial currency.
The Wampum Machine one of the few in existence
The General Store exhibition features many types of early Colonial artifacts that include weights and measures, food items found in an early grocery store, turn of the last century bottles and many types of appliances for cooking. Several treasures are tucked here and there to create the mood of shopping in the last century.
The Toy Collection is extensive and covers several time periods. They have a interesting collection of dolls over the ages that include cloth and china dolls that would cater to children from different economic status. There are also games, wooden and metal pull toys and hobby toys such as marbles and jacks.
Their early Colonial Financial exhibits include an early wampum machine that the tour guide had said that it was the only one of its kind that made a type of rolled wampum from the inner section of a conch shell. Early New Jersey currency is well represented in the collection with several types of dollar bills at a time when states printed their own currency for its citizens. Really take a look at the early detail work of these bills.
The Early Dutch Farmhouse Kitchen & Dining Room features one of the first beds that has no mattress but constructed by a series of ropes that are tightened. The tour guide explained that this might be where the expression “Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite” might have come from as the ropes needed to be tightened each evening before the family went to bed. The exhibit also had early furniture hatches, chamber pots, a butter churner, various chairs that were manufactured in the area and several detailed decorative pieces.
The Early Dutch Kitchen and Living Space
The Victorian Living Room features many plush pieces of furniture, decorative knick-knacks that used to dominate the décor and a graceful piano with mother of pearl keys and decorative carved sides. This model was one of maybe a hundred made for a very elite client. The display also featured one of the early record players that still works.
Off to the side, there is an early sleigh and horse display, an exhibit of typewriters and carbon paper as I found out the area was once the leading manufacturer for carbon paper and a complete workshop with tools from all eras. The workshop is a very detailed in its artifacts with early saws, hammers and items that even I could not figure out what they were.
In the main room, there are more cases of toys, Revolutionary items and Native American artifacts to explore.
A small gift shop is off to the side selling items donated by members.
Become a Friend: From the Friends of the Pascack Historical Society Museum pamphlet:
The Pascack Historical Society Sign
Pascack Historical Society Information and History:
(From their pamphet):
Become a member of the Pascack Historical Society, a 501C3 organization. Dues are modest and membership has its privileges!
- One year of free admission to the museum and most of its activities.
- A one year subscription to the Society’s award-winning quarterly newsletter, RELICS.
- 10% discount on museum gift shop items (Sale items and new books excluded).
- 50% discounts on programs for children and adults.
- You will receive Members Only advance notice mailings and emails about upcoming events and activities.
- Members only “behind the scenes tours” of the museum. (By Appointment Only).
- You will have the satisfaction of knowing you have joined the ranks of the area’s most passionate historical preservationists, who have a commitment to educate and enrich their neighbors’ lives-young and old.
Preserving and disseminating local history is a labor of love when you become a PHS member. It is a partnership between you and your fellow members. We encourage you to think about volunteering at some level at the museum or its events. Check out the volunteer opportunities below and give us a call if you would like to participate in any of them.
- Docent: Act as a guide when people visit the museum. A simple one-day training session is all it takes.
- Researcher: Do you like to wander through books and archives searching for answers to questions?
- Archivists: Preserve and catalog the history of the Pascack Valley.
- Educators: Work with youngsters and licensed teachers at Society events.
- Tech Savvy: Volunteer your time to help with our website or graphic design.
- Handy Helpers: Do you like to repair things? Can you sew, do carpentry? This might be for you.
*Disclaimer: Information on Volunteer and Membership opportunities are take directly from the Pascack Historical Society Museum pamphlet. Most of the descriptions of the displays is what I was able to see in my short time visiting. The museum has a treasure trove of items to look at in detail.
The Reformed Dutch Church with its Colonial cemetery and the Wortendyke Barn are right down the road so take a few hours to explore the area. The members of the Wortendyke family are buried in the church’s cemetery.