Following the success of last year’s Hunterdon Tricentennial activities, the Hunterdon 300th is again sponsoring Hunterdon County Museum Days on two consecutive Sundays in July. On July 19 and 26, the public is encouraged to visit participating museums between 1pm and 5pm. Docents will be available to enrich the history and answer questions. “This is a great opportunity for folks to come out and see a museum they’ve always been meaning to visit but never got around to. It’s also a great summer field trip for parents and children that will stimulate interest in the culture and history of their communities,” said Gayle Maher, an organizer of this year’s event.
A directory Museums of Hunterdon County will be available free of charge at each participating museum. The directory is also available on www.hunterdon300th.org; visitors are encouraged to consult the directory for street addresses and contact information. Several museums have special exhibits and activities planned for visitors:
Prallsville Mills in Stockton will feature tours of the John Prall House, and an art show in the Mill hosted by Artbridge, featuring oil, watercolor and pastel paintings, mixed media, photography and sculpture.
In addition to its regular exhibits, Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead in Lambertville will demonstrate hand dipping colored candles on July 19 at 2pm and making bracelets on a rope twisting machine on July 26 at 2pm.
The Hunterdon Art Center in Clinton has several new exhibits: Peter Jacobs: The Collage Journal –The First Decade features a collage from the NY Times which is imbued with narratives, humor, social commentary, and pure visual perception; To the Best of my Recollection features the works of Alex Gingrow, Carlos Rodriguez, Frank Magnotta and Michael Scoggins which approach the art of storytelling from fresh perspectives, using text and art; and Lisa Macchi: New Works on Paper featuring her modern impressionistic painting/collage style.
On July 19, The Red Mill Museum Village in Clinton will feature a blacksmith in the forge and a guided tour of the museum exhibits at 2pm (admission fee). On July 26, visitors can “pay-what-you-want” admission. Any amount will be happily accepted. There is also special exhibit Small Town, Big History in honor of Clinton’s 150th anniversary.
The Solitude Heritage Museum in Union Township, Hunterdon’s newest museum, will feature a large collection of antique maps and architectural drawings. The map collection focuses on early Hunterdon County 300 Years of History as well as maps and architectural drawings of the historic Taylor Wharton Iron & Steel Company in nearby High Bridge.
The Tewksbury Historical Society in Oldwick will have exhibits on the Rockaway Valley (aka Rockabye Baby) Railroad and Wines from the Tewkesbury Winery. The Stryker Dollhouse, an exact replica of the Stryker Home in Oldwick will also be on view.
Participating museums are:
Hunterdon Art Museum
Red Mill Museum Village
Readington Township Museums
Black River & Western Railroad
Tewksbury Township Historical Society
Solitude Heritage Museum – Joseph Turner House
Towship of Lebanon Museum
As the 2015 research and cataloging project continues in Doric House, Katlyn O’Brien, the Hunterdon County Historical Society’s intern from Rider University, has made great strides in finding records and interesting connections between the collections. The scenario in which the Chippendale desk crafted by Captain Adam Hope and a portrait of his daughter Anna made their way to the Society was written by Katlyn:
“Living in Hunterdon County, only 200 yards from where the historic Clinton House now stands, is where the little girl named Anna and her father Adam Hope called home.
Adam, a Captain during the American Revolution, commanded a company of the New Jersey Militia of the Second Regiment in the Battle of Monmouth in 1778. It was during this time that he crafted the Chippendale desk. Carved by the hands of Captain Hope, it was made for another man who found himself in the throngs of war, a naval surgeon Dr. John Grandin of Hunterdon County. Because of the closeness of the community, the desk was not simply ordered in some shop ~ but Dr. Grandin and Captain Hope spoke and agreed on the price, perhaps with little Anna playing off in the distance.
I imagined a small girl sitting on the floor of her father’s workshop playing with her favorite doll; sawdust and wood shavings litter the floor as her tiny shoes made patterns in the dust. Perhaps she cherished the memory of her father working the wood into a beautifully crafted desk.
Together Again ~ The Doric House has become the final resting place of this grand Chippendale desk. It is almost as if fate stepped in because by the generosity of family members, a portrait of Anna, later in life, hangs above the desk that her father built. Older now, eyes filled with wisdom, she quietly sits. The smell of wood still permeates the parlor where the portrait and desk now call home. With this, the memory of Anna, Captain Hope and Dr. Grandin continues to thrive. The question remains– what other discoveries are there yet to be found within the walls of the Doric House?” ~ Katlyn O’Brien
Marfy Goodspeed, a Hunterdon County resident since 1976, is a historian and Society member. She started a business, Goodspeed House Histories, in 1981 that has taught her about early county residents, and as a member of the Delaware Township Planning Board and the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission gained an understanding of historical geography. She writes articles for the Society’s newsletter, and has a website called GoodspeedHistories.com
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