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Living, Learning, Working, Serving: The Women of Macculloch Hall
March 1, 2020-August 2, 2021
On August 26, 1920, the U.S. officially adopted the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Loving, Learning, Working, Serving commemorates this centennial anniversary by celebrating the Macculloch/Miller women who combined a dedication to family with a commitment to charity, community and ultimately, women’s suffrage.
Loving, Learning, Working, Serving explores the lives and works of Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863), Mary Louisa Macculloch Miller (1804-1888), Alice Duer Miller (1874-1942), Dorothea Miller Post (1878-1947) and Charlotte Miller Bowler (1880-1942) as well as the enslaved women and female servants who lived and worked at Macculloch Hall.
The letters, documents, photographs, and objects on display record these women’s lives as they raised families, founded organizations, played music, wrote literature, and supported the political and civic organizations of their day through social activism. These materials reflect the everyday details that give us a bridge to the past and bring the previous generations to life.
All the Creatures Were Stirring, Even the Mouse! Thomas Nast’s Furry Christmas
November 1, 2020-January 30, 2021
Thomas Nast (1840-1902) illustrated the figure of Santa Claus and Christmas images throughout his career. Nast was inspired by the famous poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas, popularly known as ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822. Nast included many elements from Moore’s poem in his illustrations.
Through a selection of the artist’s work, this exhibition explores how Nast developed the image of Santa Claus as a jolly, round-bellied, white-bearded, gnome-like figure that immediately captured the imagination of both children and adults throughout the United States when first published and that continues to delight audiences to this day.
January 30, 2021–October 10, 2021
American ragtime, a precursor of early jazz, exemplifies the ascendency of captivating musical elements—originating in African-American musical traditions—that contribute to the mass appeal of much popular music since the late nineteenth century. Ragtime, named for its “ragged,” syncopated rhythms, would peak in popularity toward the end of World War I.
Not coincidental was the emergence of ragtime during the Industrial Revolution when an expanding middle class was increasingly able to afford new technologies for the home and for business. A wide range of musical boxes, player pianos, nickelodeons, and early phonographs provided families and customers an available supply of the newest, most popular music of the day.
As a piano in the parlor became a middle-class status symbol, piano manufacturers were challenged to meet the intensified public demand. As a symbol, the piano represented disposable wealth, implying also the luxury of leisure time for practice and social enjoyment. The piano’s appeal, and the need for sheet music, transformed the music-publishing industry to produce inexpensive, popular tunes on short demand and in mass quantities. Publishers on “Tin Pan Alley” (a block of 28th Street in New York City between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, named for the constant jangling sounds emanating from live pianists, promoting new releases in the show windows of music publishers) churned out sheet music, and employed many talented artists to create stimulating and evocative covers for these compositions.
This exhibition features rare ragtime sheet music from the world-renowned Guinness Collection, and highlights a variety of mechanical musical instruments, such as the Seeburg “L” coin piano, and an early, coin-operated “jukebox” containing Edison cylinder records. Available at interactive listening stations are examples of early “ragged” and syncopated arrangements performed by musical machines. The mechanical instruments, audio kiosks, and provocative period illustrations on sheet music covers encourage visitors come away with a deeper appreciation of the art and the music of this uniquely American product.
Natural Essence—Motion Perceived- at the Morris Museum
April 10, 2021-August 15, 2021
Visitors are invited to contemplate the hidden beauty and majesty of movement in nature through Natural Essence—Motion Perceived. This exhibition examines humanity’s relationship to the natural world through a captivating collection of kinetic and illusory works. The four featured artists find beauty in everyday materials, transforming them to reflect natural phenomena—from the subterranean depths below to the cosmos above—that evoke woodland sprites in flight, lizards among colorful flora, glimpses of ocean waves, tinted grains of sand, and more.
METC is a history museum specifically about New Jersey and the people who lived and worked here from the colonial era through the age of industrialization. And as such, we explore, interpret and help our visitors understand the history and culture of the past and how it impacts our lives today. We are fortunate to have a robust collection of artifacts from which we can craft a story and create interpretive and informative exhibits that fulfill our mission.
The Museum features a number of permanent exhibits, described below. We also mount special exhibits in our Main Gallery, which rotate approximately twice a year. There is always something new to see here at METC – please stay tuned for what is coming up next!
Cholera to COVID-19
Epidemics, Pandemics & Disease
Disease knows no gender, age, class, ethnicity, or country borders. At the end of 2019, a new disease emerged, COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 has affected the lives of millions in America and billions across the globe. However, this is not the first disease to exert its influence on a national or global scale.
Cholera to COVID-19: Epidemics, Pandemics, & Disease, explores infectious diseases that plagued our nation in the 18th and 19th centuries such as smallpox, yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, and tuberculosis. These diseases provide a unique perspective from which to view the vast improvements in medical practice, healthcare technology, hygiene, sanitation, and overall scientific knowledge of germs, vaccines, and the origin of disease. Walk through this exhibit and examine the resources, tools, and techniques used to diagnose and treat patients during these historic outbreaks. This exhibit intends to reveal the pervasive impact disease had upon daily life, but more importantly how resilient Americans were throughout instances of widespread illness.
Working the Land: Life, Family & Change in Early 1800s New Jersey
This exhibit tells the stories of those men and women who lived in New Jersey during the early 1800’s, exploring the tools and strategies that helped the people of the time meet the challenges of working the land. One of the focal points is discussions about “moments of change” which include new technologies, innovations, adaptations and breakthrough inventions that would eventually alter people’s lives.
Working with award winning exhibit designers, graphic artists, master millworkers and technicians, the new exhibit presents a story of daily life, struggle, ingenuity, families, hard work, and the human connection to the earth.
Explore the exhibit online! Click here to take 3-D tour of Working the Land: Life, Family & Change in Early 1800s New Jersey.