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New Jersey History - Atlantic City Boardwalk historic photo

Atlantic City, NJ Panorama of Beach and Boardwalk.

Rau, William Herman, 1897, Atlantic City; panorama of beach and boardwalk from pier, 6a07986


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Historical Museum Guide for New Jersey

A directory of Historical Museums in New Jersey, categorized by county.

Taking a trip to New Jersey?  A visit to these New Jersey history museums and historical societies will allow you to soak up some local history and culture while you are there.  Visit a historical museum and gain insight into the history of your New Jersey ancestors and the way they lived.  Where available, we have added some links to virtual tours, old photographs, histories and museum exhibits, allowing you to "visit" without leaving the comfort of home.

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New Jersey History Museums

Atlantic County

Absecon Light House

Atlantic Heritage Center

Devoted to the history of Atlantic County, the museum has an extensive collection of household items, decorative arts, maritime exhibits and other historical artifacts related to the history of Atlantic County.  The library holds historical documents, photos, maps and family Bibles to help the researcher.  Located at 907 Shore Road in Somers Point, NJ.

Atlantic City Historical Museum  [Photo Gallery]

Located on historical Garden Pier which was opened in 1913, the museum preserves and displays the history of the seaside resort town of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

 

Bergen County

Campbell - Christie House

The Campbell - Christie House was originally constructed in Milford, NJ ca 1774 by Jacob Campbell.  Moved to River Edge in 1977, it is owned by the Bergen County Historical Society and is open for special events.

Demarest House Museum

Hopper-Goetschius House Museum

Built in 1739, this pre-Revolutionary Dutch house was built by the Hopper family and it is the oldest house still standing in Upper Saddle River.  The house was built on a large acreage of farm land which was farmed by the Hopper family for many years.  In 1814, the house became the property of Rev. Stephen Goetschius of the Old Stone Church and remained in the Goetschius family for over 1 1/2 centuries.  In 1985 the house was given to the Borough of Upper Saddle River.  Today the house is operated by the Upper River Historical Society as a museum and is located among several other historical buildings in the same area.  Located at the corner of Lake Street and East Saddle River Road in Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Mahwah Museum

The Mahwah Museum is focused on the preservation, interpretation and display of the history of the Mahwah community.  Operated by the Mahwah Museum Society, the museum holds artifacts, photos, historical documents and records related to the history of Mahwah, New Jersey.  Exhibits include the Les Paul exhibit, Civil War battles in NJ, the Lee Vold Gallery, a model locomotive and an archives of Mahwah history.  The Mahwah Museum and Cooper Railroad are located on the SW corner of Miller Road and Franklin Turnpike in Mahwah, New Jersey.

Schoolhouse Museum

Housed inside the 1872 building which served as one of the first public schools in Ridgewood, NJ, the museum is operated by the Ridgewood Historical Society and is focused on the preservation of the old Schoolhouse building along with the collection, interpretation and exhibition of artifacts related to the history and culture of the Ridgewood area and the people who lived there.  Many of these artifacts were donated by pioneer families of the area and some date back to the Revolutionary War era.  Across from the Schoolhouse Museum is the old Paramus Reformed Church and the Valleau Cemetery.  Located at 650 E. Glen Avenue in Ridgewood, New Jersey. 

Steuben House Historical Museum

 

Burlington County

Batsto Village Historic Site and Museum

[History]  [Batsto Mansion]

Begin your tour at the Batso Village Visitors Center,  where you can get a brochure, information and tickets for the Batsto Mansion tour.  The museum is located inside the visitors center.  There is a Library and Archives for researchers but it is by appointment only.  Historic structures at the site include the iron furnace, gristmill, sawmill, glass works, cottages, ice house and others.  Located in Wharton State Forest at 4110 Nesco Road, Hammonton, NJ.

The Old Schoolhouse

Considered to be the oldest schoolhouse in New Jersey on its original site, the one-room school was built in 1759 and used as a school for over 100 years.  Special docent guided school tours are provided so students can experience 18th century school life.  Open by appointment only.  Located at 35 Brainerd St. in Mount Holly, NJ.

Peachfield Plantation

Peachfield Plantation was established in 1674 by John Skene.  The farmhouse was built by Quaker Henry Burr in 1725.  His descendants owned Peachfield Plantation until 1896.  The house was destroyed by fire in 1928 but was restored on its original foundation and walls between 1932 and 1945.  The home is operated and maintained by the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of New Jersey and is open to the public by appointment.  Located at 180 Burrs Road in Westampton, NJ.

 

Camden County

Battleship, New Jersey

 

Cape May County

Cape May County Historical Museum

[Genealogy Library]  [Cape May County History]

Housed inside the historic Holmes house built ca 1830, the museum includes exhibits of furnishings, costumes, tools, art, and household items dating from the 17th to 20th centuries.  A military room, doctor's room, maritime exhibits and the vintage barn which contains antique carriages, coaches and wagons round out the collections.  There is a genealogy library located in an annex of the John Holmes House.  Located at 504 Route 9 North in Cape May, NJ.

Cape May Lighthouse

The Colonial House

The Colonial House was originally a tavern and family house of the Revolutionary War Patriot Memucan Hughes.  Built ca 1775, today it is operated by the Greater Cape May Historical Society as The Colonial House Museum.  Located at 653 1/2 Washington Street in Cape May, NJ.

Dennis Township Museum and History Center

Housed in an old 1874 Dennisville school house, the museum is focused on depicting the life and history of the local area surrounding Dennisville

Emlen Physick Estate  [Photo Gallery]

Completed in 1879 and home to Emlen Physick, this is Cape May's only Victorian house museum, attributed to renowned architect Frank Furness.  Guided tours are offered and visitors may purchase a combination trolley / Physick Estate Tour ticket.  Located at 1048 Washington Street.

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse Web Site

Historic Cold Spring Village

Visitors will step back in time to the Early American village of Cold Springs.  A living history museum featuring 22 acres of shady lanes, gardens and a farm where historical plants and crops are grown make a leisurely setting.  There are 26 restored historic buildings on the grounds and docent tour guides will educate and entertain visitors with tales, lifestyles and crafts of yesteryear.  Located at 720 Route 9 South in Cape May, NJ.

Ocean City Historical Museum  [Virtual Tour]

The focus is on the history of Ocean City.  Featuring historical heirlooms and memorabilia of Ocean City, visitors will learn about early life in Ocean City, explore a shipwreck filled with treasures from the Far East and learn of the famous boardwalk, sandy beaches, marshes and wildlife.  Located at 1735 Simpson Avenue in the Cultural Arts Center in Ocean City, NJ.

WWII Lookout Tower Museum & Memorial

Now open to the public, visitors may climb this restored tower and learn about the role Cape May played in homeland defense during World War II.  See the Wall of Honor dedicated to local veterans.  Located across Sunset Blvd at Sunset Beach in Cape May, NJ.

 

Cumberland County

The Gibbon House History Museum 

[Cumberland County History]

The 18th century mansion was built by Nicholas Gibbon and has been restored and is furnished with period furnishings.  The Barn Museum contains implements used for gardening and agriculture in the 19th century.

Historical Houses of Cumberland County

The John DuBois Maritime Museum

Palace of Depression

The historic Palace Depression was built by a destitute man in a Vineland, NJ swamp of old auto parts, rocks, logs, mud and whatever he could find in the swamp area.  There is but a small part of it still standing but archaeologists are going to excavate and possibly reconstruct the home of George Daynor. 

Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center

Preserving the history of Seabrook Brothers and Sons and the establishment of Seabrook Farms and Seabrook Village.  Located inside the Upper Deerfield Township Municipal Building on Highway 77 in Seabrook, NJ.

Vineland Virtual Archives

 

Essex County

The Newark Museum

Featuring 80 galleries of art and natural science, the museum even includes a planetarium and mini zoo.  Located at 49 Washington Street Downtown in the Newark Arts District.

New Jersey Historical Society Museum

New Jersey State Archives

 

Gloucester County Hunter-Lawrence-Jessup House Museum

Operated by the Gloucester County Historical society, the 18th century house was at different times, home to tea burner, Reverend Andrew Hunter, James Lawrence and John S. Jessup.  Located at 58 N. Broad Street in Woodbury, NJ.  The society also operates the Gloucester County Historical Library which specializes in genealogy materials and research.  The Library  is at 17 Hunter Street, in Woodbury.

 

Hudson County

 

*Jersey City History Timeline

Afro-American Historical Society Museum

1841 Kennedy Boulevard

Jersey City, NJ 07305.

Chief John T. Brennan Fire Museum

The Bayonne Hook and Ladder Co. #1 was located in this firehouse form 1870 until 1928.  Today it is a museum housing firefighting memorabilia and the oldest hand drawn hose carriage in New Jersey.  10 West 47th Street, Bayonne, NJ.

Hoboken Historical Museum

[History of Hoboken]  [Hoboken House Tour]  [Hoboken Walking Tour]

Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of public interest in the rich history of Hoboken, NJ, the museum is located at 1301 Hudson Street in Hoboken, NJ.

Jersey City Museum   [Virtual Tour]

The museum is focused on American visual art and in particular the historic and contemporary art of the region around Hudson County.  Located in the historic Van Vorst district of Jersey City at 350 Montgomery Street.

Liberty State Park   [History]

 

Hunterdon County

Black River Railroad

The Red Mill Museum

Featuring a collection of more than 40,000 artifacts and 12 buildings, the Red Mill Museum Village brings to life a history of rural America.  Visitors will explore the Mill, the Bunker Hill Schoolhouse, a replica log cabin, a springhouse, and various other outbuildings.  Located at 56 Main Street in Clinton, NJ.

 

Mercer County

New Jersey State Museum

Established in 1895, the museum features extensive collections and exhibits of archaeology, cultural history, fine art and natural history.  The main building and planetarium are closed for renovations.  Located at 205 W. State Street in Trenton, NJ.

Old Barracks Museum   [History]

This National Historical Landmark was built in 1758.  It has seem the passing of many wars including the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.  Established as a museum in 1903, it has been fully restored twice and today serves as an educational center for Colonial and American history.  Interpretive tours are featured along with a museum full of artifacts and early weapons.  Located on Barrack Street in Trenton, NJ.

Trenton City Museum at the Ellarslie Mansion   [History]

Trenton Police Museum

William Trent House Museum  

This large home was built ca 1719 and home to William Trent.  Occupied by many different families, the Trent house was donated to the city of Trenton in 1929.  It has been restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1939.  A visit to the grand home is like taking a step back in time to the 18th century.  Located at 15 Market Street in Trenton, NJ.

 

Middlesex County

Historical Sites in Middlesex County

Plainsboro Museum

Housed in the 1880 Wicoff House, the museum features historical artifacts, photographs, documents, and items related to the early history of Plainsboro and the surrounding area.  Located near the Plainsboro Library and Municipal Center at 641 Plainsboro Road in Plainsboro, NJ.

 

Monmouth County

 

 

Town of Ocean

Historical Museum

Allaire State Park and Historical Site

The Historic Village at Allaire   [Explore the Village]

Step back in time with a visit to the living history village of Allaire.  Townspeople dressed in period dress will display their crafts, demonstrate their skills and tell you about live in this 19th century bog iron producing community.  Historic structures include Christ Church Chapel, a carriage house, the stables and barn, a slaughter house and numerous historic homes.  Located on Route 524 in Allaire State Park across from the NJ Museum of Transportation in Wall Township, NJ.

InfoAge

Situated on historical Camp Evans, which is known for it's important roles in both WWI and WWII. the Science History Learning Center and Museum is focused on communication technology from the early days of spark-gap wireless technology to 1998 when microwave, fiber optics and satellite technology were worked on at this site.  Work is underway to open the Tiros 1 and 2 Ground Control Station building as a space science education facility at the former Project Dana site.  Visitors to InfoAge will learn about the pioneers of wireless, WWI, WWII, space exploration and the cold war. Exhibits are extremely varied.  They include a restored fallout shelter, the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame, a shipwreck exhibit, radio technology, vintage computers, military technology and electronic warfare.  Located at 2201 Marconi Road in Wall, NJ.

Monmouth County Historic Houses

Monmouth County Historical Association Museum

[Virtual Tour of Freehold]

The society operating since 1898 is in charge of a museum, a library and archives and four historic sites which include the 1752 Covenhoven House, 1754 Holmes-Hendrickson House, 1710 Allen House, 1756 Marlpit Hall and the 1853 Taylor-Butler House which is available for rental.  The main building is located at 70 Court Street in Freehold, NJ.

Monmouth Museum

A center for education and culture.  Located at 765 Newman Springs Rd., Lincroft, NJ on the campus of the Brookdale Community College.

National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey

NJ Museum of Transportation   [History]

Previously known as Pine Creek Railroad, the museum houses many vintage pieces of railway equipment as well as antique trains.  Ride an old diesel locomotive while there.  Located on Route 524 in Allaire State Park, Wall Township, New Jersey.

Township of Ocean Historical Museum

The Township of Ocean Historical Museum occupies Eden Woolley House in front of the Ocean Township Library and part of Joe Palaia Park.  The Eden Woolley House, circa 1747 is one of the few 18th Century Homes surviving in Ocean Township.  The house is an architectural gem and a 250+ year repository of local history.  It was saved from destruction in 2005 and moved 1,000 feet east to its present location in Joe Palaia Park.  It has been historically restored and is open to the public to tell the story of Ocean Township and its surrounding communities.  The house was occupied by the Woolley Family for most of its life.  Eden Woolley, for whom the house is named, occupied the house from 1835 until his death in 1892, and was one of the five men elected to Ocean Township's first governing body when it was formed in 1849.  Located at 703 Deal Road in Oakhurst, NJ.

 

Morris County

Acorn Hall - Ornate Italian mansion, home to Morris County Historical Society.

Museum of Early Trades and Crafts

Housed in an ornate 1899 Richardsonian Romanesque Revival building, the museum focuses on the early trades and crafts of early New Jersey.  The beautiful building has been newly restored so visitors are in for a treat when visiting.  Located on Main Street in Madison, NJ.

The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms

Stickley Museum is situated on Craftsman Farms which was once the home of Gustav Stickley (noted turn-of-the-century designer).  The log house was built in 1911 and has been restored.  Restoration of the historic landscape is underway.  Guided tours are featured and educational events are offered throughout the year.  Located at 2352 Rt. 10-West, #5 in Morris Plains, NJ.

 

Ocean County

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

Barnegat Light Historical Society Museum

[Historic Photos]  [Lighthouse History]

Long Beach Island Historical Association Museum

[Historical Photos]

Housed inside an 1882 Episcopal Church, the museum features historical artifacts related to the early life on Long Beach Island along with a Victorian parlour, a kitchen, a collection of antique bridal gowns and decoys carved by a local woodcraver.  Located at 129 Engleside Avenue in Beach Haven, NJ.

Ocean County Historical Museum

Housed inside the Pierson Sculthorpe House, a Victorian home built between 1820 and 1866, the museum is focused on the early lifestyle and occupations of Ocean County people.  Featured collections include Native American artifacts, history of aviation at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, Victorian furnishings, Military memorabilia and other artifacts related to the history of the Ocean County area.  Included at the site is a large library and research center where visitors will find family history and historic documents.  Located at 26 Hadley Avenue in Toms River, NJ.

 

Passaic County Great Falls State Park   [History of Paterson]

The beautiful 77 foot waterfall on the Passaic River is home to a new state park.  The Visitors Center is located at 66 McBride in Paterson, NJ.

Hamilton-Van Wagoner House Museum

The Hamilton House Museum is a Restored Dutch Farm House that has been restored into three time periods; Victorian, Federal, and early American.  The museum is a living history museum.  As you walk thru the Museum you can imagine and feel how your forefathers lived. Knowledgeable docents will describe to you how the people lived and also tell some of the local history.  Visitors are invited to "Walk in the Footsteps of the Past"  Located at 971 Valley Road in Clifton, NJ.

 

Historical House Museums of Passaic County, NJ

Photos and information about the historic homes of Passaic County.  Includes the Botto Mansion / American Labor Museum at Haledon.

 

Lambert Castle Museum  [Story of Lambert's Castle]

Located in Paterson, NJ, this 1892 mansion was originally home to wealthy silk manufacturer Catholina Lambert.  Now functioning as a museum in the Garret Mountain Reservation, the view of New York City from the tower is breathtaking.  Lambert Castle is home to the Passaic County Historical Society and includes a local history and genealogy library.

 

Long Pond Ironworks Museum   [Historic Photos]

Founded in 1766, the ironworks was a huge operation.  Located in West Milford, the site is listed on the national register of historic places and contains a museum and visitors center.  At various times of the year, interpretive tours are offered and it becomes a living history museum on some weekends.

 

Paterson Museum

Located in the Thomas Rogers Building at 2 Market Street, the museum was founded in 1925 and at that time consisted of natural history objects of the area.  Today, it still contains one of the largest collections of minerals in NJ but you will also find many artifacts detailing the history of Paterson.

 

Salem County

Pennsville Church Landing Farmhouse Museum 

Docent led tours remind visitors of an earlier time when the only way to get to Wilmington was by ferry.  Beautiful 19th century furnishings and historic flower and herb gardens are delightful.  Located at 86 Church Landing Road in Pennsville, NJ.

Salem County Historical Society Museum   [Virtual Tour]

The museum is housed inside 4 historic houses.  The main house is the 1721 Alexander Grant Mansion,  Along with exhibits and artifacts from the history of Salem, the society also offers a research library at the museum location.  Located at 79-83 Market Street in Salem, NJ.

 

Somerset County

Abraham Staats House  [History]  [Photos]

This fine home which is a survivor from the Dutch Settlement of the Raritan Valley was built in the 18th century.  The original house has been expanded many times over the years and provides an interesting history which includes service in the American Revolution as the headquarters of General von Steuben.  Located at 17 Von Steuben Lane in South Bound Brook, NJ.

Historic Sites of Somerset County

Jacobus Vanderveer House & Museum

With a simple beginning as a Dutch frame house built ca 1760, the home has been expanded with additions over the years.  The house has been restored and much of the original structure is intact providing a glimpse into yesteryear.  The house is said to have served as a headquarters of General Henry Knox.  Located in the River Road Park on Route 202/206 in Bedminster Township, NJ.

Old Millstone Forge

This blacksmith shop and museum is operated by one of the oldest living history groups in this area.  The museum teaches about industrial life in rural America.  Located on North River Street in the historical town of Millstone, NJ.

Rockingham  [History]

Serving as General George Washington's headquarters during the final stages of the Revolutionary War, Rockingham was formerly known as the Berrien Mansion.  The original structure was a farmhouse build ca 1702-1710 and was enlarged in the 1760s by Judge John Berrien.  The home features 18th century furnishings, a children's museum and the Colonial kitchen garden.  Moved numerous times and fully restored, the site is operated by the State of New Jersey, State Parks Service.  It is located on Laurel Avenue (Route 603) in Rockingham, NJ.

Somerville Fire Department Museum

[History]  [Photos]

The museum features antique firefighting equipment and historical items about the history of firefighting and the volunteer fire department in Somerville, New Jersey.  Located on N. Doughty Avenue in Somerville, NJ.

Van Veghten House

Operated by the Somerset County Historical Society, the Dutch house was built in the early 1700s of brick and served as a headquarters for Quartermaster General Nathaniel Green during the years 1778 and 1779.  Features include a library.  Located at 9 Veghten Lane in Bridgewater, NJ.

Wallace House

Home to John Wallace, a Philadelphia merchant, it was originally a farmhouse built in the 1700s.  John Wallace added in an eight room Georgian mansion ca 1775 and it became the largest house built in New Jersey during the Revolutionary War.  Nearby is The Old Dutch Parsonage which was built ca 1751.  Located on Washington Place in Somerville, NJ.

 

Union County

Crane-Phillips Living Museum

This 1845 Victorian cottage is known as "The Little House on the Rahway".  It was home to Josiah Crane Jr, great-grandson of the original miller on North Union Avenue.  Today it houses a museum which will depict life in 19th Century Cranford.  Located at 124 North Union Avenue in Cranford, NJ.

Drake House Museum

The original 1746 Drake family house is inside the 1880s Harberger cottage.  The museum is rich in history and contains unique collections of historical artifacts, images and documents.  At this house, George Washington consulted with officers about The Battle of Short Hills which was fought in the Plainfield area June 25-27, 1777.  Located at 602 W. Front Street in Plainfield, NJ.

Liberty Hall Museum  [History]

Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University chronicles more than 200 years of American history.  Built in 1772 by New Jersey’s first elected governor and signer of the Constitution, William Livingston, the Victorian-style mansion houses extensive collections of antique furniture, ceramics, textiles, toys and tools owned by seven generations of the Livingston/Kean families.  The Firehouse is the latest addition to the Museum’s complex housing two antique fire engines and a collection of fire memorabilia.
Liberty Hall is located at 1003 Morris Avenue in Union, New Jersey. It is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. For information about upcoming events or make reservations, call (908) 527-0400

Merchants and Drovers Tavern Museum   

[History]  [Rahway Cemetery Tours]

Miller-Cory House Museum   [History]

 

Warren County

Oxford Furnace Site

Erected in 1741 and put into use in 1743, this colonial iron furnace was in operation for over 140 years.  It is currently being restored.  Located inside Oxford Furnace Lake Park in Oxford, NJ.

Shippen Manor

 

 

Museum Index for Other States

New Jersey Census Records

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