91 Crane Avenue
Rutherford, NJ 07070
Phone: (201) 935-1175
Open: Most Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00am-4:00pm
Both Curator & Chronicler
The Meadowlands Museum is the main steward of the history and culture of the Meadowlands region and one of its leading storyteller.
Its mission and collection, which resides in the Yereance-Berry House in southern Bergen County in Rutherford, NJ are distinctive and unique. The house too is a historic treasure and landmark and was built in 1804 by the Berry family, who were among the county’s earliest European settlers.
Rooms in the three-level American Dutch farmhouse are alive with permanent and temporary exhibits and sometimes include loaned objects from other museums and private collections. Historical artifacts like archives and photographs are mingled with textiles, furniture, housewares and artwork. There is even correspondence by the daughters of John Rutherfurd, a close confidant of George Washington. Grounds include the William Carlos Williams Poetry Garden, which acknowledges the legacy of Rutherford’s most famous native and the town’s history as a cultural center.
The everyday products of the Meadowlands Museum
Founder in 1961 as the Rutherford Junior Museum by parents of school age children to help connect them to their community, the museum is staffed by professionals assisted by dedicated volunteers and involved trustees. Interns add to the rich resource of individuals who contribute to its present and future.
A recent commercial developed by my Business 101 Class for the Meadowlands Museum for the project “Rocking it in Rutherford: Being a Tourist in your own Town”
The location of the Yereance-Berry House suggests a colonial farm dating to 1740. The oldest house in south Bergen County in close to original condition, it was part of the Historic American Building Survey project of the 1930’s. The building is also listed on the state and national registers of historic places and the Bergen County Stone House Survey.
The Yereance-Berry House is the now the Meadowlands Museum
Affiliated organization include the American Alliance of Museums, American Association for State and Local History, Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey Association of Museums and The National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Programming & Community Service:
Free and reasonably priced services for individuals, community groups, businesses, government bodies and educational institutions are available.
*Educational programs, lectures and traveling exhibits.
*Customized on and off site programs.
*Collaborative ventures with a wide range of partners.
*Assistance with academic research and other archival support.
Special events, which often are made possible by partnerships with businesses and other organizations, are an additional way for visitors of all ages to enjoy the museum. Public and private events occur on a regular or one-time basis; many are fundraisers. Call or email for a current calendar and sponsorship possibilities. The house hosts both permanent and special exhibits.
Our permanent exhibits include:
*Yereance Berry House on Scarecrow Day:
*Pre-electric kitchen: This unique kitchen in the basement shows off the collection of equipment that would be used in the kitchen from the Civil War to the 1950’s. There are coffee grinders, whisks, wash boards and such. It showed how much effort was put into preparing the family meal through the ages.
The Farm Kitchen of Bergen County
*Meadowlands Geology: there are all sorts of rocks and gems not just from the area but all over the state. There are two different rooms one of the specimens locally and there is a separate room for glowing stones. It is very interesting to see when the lights are out.
The Mineral Collection at the Meadowlands Museum
*Mining in South Bergen: This is how the county has changed when we mined ore.
The Mining Display at the Meadowlands Museum
*19th century Laundry Room: The Laundry room that is located in the basement has many of the things our grandparents would have used. The washboards, scrub bushes, old washing machines and ringers. Washing clothes was much harder back then.
*The wonderful Toy Exhibition of turn of the last century toys and from the 1960’s 70’s and 80’s. This contains Dolls, Board Games, play things and instruments:
The Toy Collection fascinates kids of all ages
The wonderful toy factory in Kearny, NJ that used to produce all these wonderful toys.
Recent special exhibits have included:
*High school football
*Maps of the region
*Dr. Williams’ Babies
*World War I
I went to the recent Scarecrow Day on October 20, 2018 where guests of the museum created their own scarecrows using their own creativity. All the scarecrows were lined up facing the street with their interesting clothes and accessories. Each person got to use their own clothes and each one had its own style to it. It was fun watching the families show their creativity at this annual event.
Scarecrow Day at the museum in 2018
Scarecrow Day in 2021: the winners of the contest for best Scarecrow
I also stopped by for the Dutch Christmas decorations. The museum was decorated for the holidays with garland and trees. On December 1st, they had a Dutch Christmas festival (I could not attend) with food and entertainment.
Help tell the story…
Individuals who value the purpose and work of the Meadowlands Museum remain its inspiration and abiding spirit. Donations, memberships, sponsorship’s, grants and fundraisers are crucial elements of the museum’s financial well-being.
Admission to the museum is free but donations are greatly appreciated. Fees for events and other services vary. A personal letter to the appropriate person acknowledges a gift made in the name of an individual. Donations to provide for the buildings and grounds are valuable links to the future and a kind of giving that is among the museum’s top priorities.
Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Meadowlands Museum’s pamphlet. For information on the site, please call or email the museum for more information.