21st Century History Museum in Madison
The 21st-century history museum: Community Anchor and Educational Resource
By Executive Director Deborah Farrar Starker, Museum of Early Trades & Crafts
As the weather turns colder and the holidays approach, consider taking a break from hectic schedules by visiting The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts in Madison, NJ. METC is a unique history museum that embraces the stories of the early settlers, immigrants, farmers and tradespeople who settled in this part of New Jersey before the 20th century. Here, two levels of exhibit space, historic objects, artifacts and stunning architecture are waiting to reveal their stories to visitors. Founded in 1969 by Edgar and Agnes Land, METC provides valuable educational enrichment to over 7,000 students from around the state each year and welcomes thousands more visitors who travel just a few miles or a few thousand miles to enjoy this unique New Jersey history museum.
A popular destination for tourists, METC is housed in a magnificent 1899 building listed on both the state and national registries of historic places. The museum offers architectural tours, lectures, special exhibits, programs, guided tours and has a vibrant museum store filled with gifts that are all locally sourced by New Jersey artisans. In early 2019, the museum officially became the Madison Visitor Center.
A major portion of METC’s resources is allocated for education, with all programs based on specific segments of the New Jersey school curricula, integrating immigration, community, creativity, innovation, STEM and STEAM into lesson plans. The professional museum educators play a pivotal role in ensuring that young audiences recognize the relevance of history, serving as interpreters, connectors and companions on a journey of making the past visible for the present. In addition, METC creates many programs offered to older adults residing in senior communities, as well as specially designed visits for people living with disabilities. Each year, the museum provides numerous scholarship programs to urban schools and other groups who cannot afford the cost of a field trip and transportation to the museum, and these initiatives are funded by grants and donations.
METC prides itself on being a vibrant and civic minded museum, offering numerous lectures, exhibitions, special events and activities for visitors with a variety of interests. In 2019, the museum installed its first permanent exhibition in over 20 years, transforming the main level of the museum into a visually exciting and interactive space. The welcoming staff is always eager to provide a special connection for all visitors, and there will always be a unique, relevant experience waiting for everyone inside the doors. For more information about the museum and its programs, visit the website www.metc.org