A Guide to Exploring the NJ State Museum

Welcome to the NJ State Museum, a fascinating center of science, art, and history located in the beautiful city of Trenton. This museum is an excellent place to explore and learn about the natural and cultural heritage of New Jersey. With various galleries and exhibitions, visitors can embark on a journey that covers the state’s geological formations, diverse ecosystems, and historical accomplishments. Whether you are looking to spend an afternoon with family, meet up with friends, or simply broaden your knowledge, the NJ State Museum has something for everyone to enjoy. In this guide, we will take you through some of the highlights of the museum and offer tips on how to make the most of your visit.

The History of NJ State Museum

Founding of the Museum

The NJ State Museum has a long history that dates back to 1895. The foundation of the museum was written into the state laws when Governor George T. Werts signed the legislation that created the State Geological Survey. The survey document requested the collection and display of the geological and mineralogical specimens of New Jersey, so it was only logical to establish a museum to house the collection.

The NJ State Museum was initially housed in the State House, however, it quickly outgrew the space and a larger building was necessary to accommodate the growing collection.

Relocation to New Building

In 1965, the museum relocated to its current location, a new building in Trenton. At the time of the move, the new building was considered a state-of-the-art facility that could accommodate the museum’s growing needs. The Trenton building, designed by the influential architectural firm, Harrison & Abramovitz, was hailed for its modernist design and became a landmark of the city.

The building features a stunning eight-story atrium, which serves as the main entrance to the museum. The atrium allows natural light to flood into the building, which enhances the visitor experience while exploring the various exhibits and galleries.

Museum Expansion

Over the years, the NJ State Museum has expanded its collections and exhibitions to cover various aspects of New Jersey’s art, history, and science. Today, the museum holds over two million artifacts in its collection, making it the largest museum in the state.

The museum’s collections span a range of topics, including fine art, natural history, cultural history, and archaeology. Visitors can explore a wide range of exhibitions, including “New Jersey Rocks!” which explores the state’s geologic history, “Fine Art in New Jersey,” which showcases the works of local artists, and “World of Insects,” which delves into the diverse world of insects and arachnids.

The NJ State Museum is also home to the planetarium, which offers a variety of immersive shows and educational programs, and the auditorium, which hosts concerts, lectures, and other events. The museum also offers a range of educational programs for visitors of all ages, including guided tours and hands-on workshops.

The NJ State Museum is a vital part of the cultural fabric of the state, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore the diverse history and natural wonders of New Jersey. As the museum continues to expand and evolve, it will continue to inspire visitors of all ages.

Collections and Exhibitions

The New Jersey State Museum in Trenton is a fascinating exhibition of history, art and science that tells the story of the Garden State through its extensive collections. With a history dating back over 150 years, the museum offers a glimpse into the past and presents contemporary art from some of the region’s finest artists.

Art Collections

The museum boasts an impressive collection of American art and ceramics. Visitors can admire a vast collection of works by noted artists such as Edward Hopper, George Inness, and John Singer Sargent. The vast display features Hudson River school paintings, mid-20th century works, and contemporary pieces. Additionally, the museum prides itself on its collection of historic and contemporary ceramics, including works by the famous art potter George Ohr.

Visitors to the New Jersey State Museum will also have the opportunity to view contemporary art which highlights the works of artists from around the state. The contemporary collection brings together the works of some of the most innovative artists, providing an insightful glimpse into the state’s diverse art scene.

History Exhibitions

The history exhibitions are extensive, covering the state’s colonial period, the American Revolution, and the Civil War. One of the most notable exhibits is the stunning “Trenton Makes” display. The exhibit pays homage to the city’s iconic slogan by telling the stories of Trenton industrialists and showcasing the products that they produced. The “Trenton Makes” exhibit is a fascinating look at the history of industrialization in New Jersey.

The museum also features a vast collection of Native American artifacts that date back centuries before the arrival of European settlers. The collection includes pottery, weapons, tools, and art, providing a unique glimpse into the culture, traditions, and beliefs of the state’s indigenous people.

Science Exhibitions

Visitors to the New Jersey State Museum can also explore the natural history and geology of the state. One of the most impressive exhibits is the dinosaur hall, which features some of the most complete dinosaur skeletons ever found in New Jersey. Visitors will be able to view the various dinosaur fossils that have been discovered in the state, including the Hadrosaurus foulkii, the state dinosaur.

The science exhibitions also cover topics such as astronomy, botany, and geology, showcasing New Jersey’s diverse flora and fauna. One of the most fascinating exhibits is the mineral collection, which consists of over 300 specimens, including the largest collection of fluorescent minerals in the world.

In conclusion, the New Jersey State Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in art, science, and history. Its extensive collections, fascinating exhibits, and interactive displays make it a perfect outing for the entire family. Whether you want to learn more about the history of New Jersey or explore the wonders of the natural world, the New Jersey State Museum has something for everyone. So, why not plan a visit today and experience the beauty and diversity of the Garden State’s cultural treasures?

Special Events and Programs

The New Jersey State Museum is not only a treasure trove of art, artifacts, and history, but it also hosts special events, programs, and exhibitions that make for a rich and memorable experience. Here are some of the special events and programs that visitors can look forward to:

Family Programs

The New Jersey State Museum is a great destination for families with children of all ages. In addition to its permanent collections and galleries, the museum offers a variety of family programs and workshops throughout the year that encourage hands-on exploration and learning.

One popular program is the Family Fun Workshop series, which is held on weekends and holidays and is free with museum admission. Each workshop is based on a theme such as dinosaurs, space, or New Jersey history, and includes various activities, crafts, and games that are designed for children ages 6-12 and their families.

Another family-friendly program is the Little Explorers program, which is designed for children ages 3-5 and their caregivers. The program includes age-appropriate gallery explorations, storytime, and hands-on activities that promote early childhood learning and social interaction.

Special Exhibitions

In addition to its permanent collections, the New Jersey State Museum frequently hosts special exhibitions that showcase unique collections or highlight important events in history. These exhibitions may be organized by the museum or in partnership with other museums, institutions, or communities.

One recent and notable exhibition was “A Cache of Kinetic Art: Curious Characters”, which was on view from 2019 to 2020. The exhibition featured a collection of whimsical, kinetic sculptures made by artists around the world, and invited visitors to interact with the artworks and explore their creative and mechanical aspects.

Another recent exhibition was “The Eagle Has Landed: Remembering Apollo 11,” which marked the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing in 1969. The exhibition included artifacts, photographs, and personal stories related to the historic mission, as well as interactive displays and programs for all ages.

Lecture Series

The New Jersey State Museum also hosts lecture series featuring experts in various fields, providing an opportunity for visitors to engage in intellectual discourse and expand their knowledge and perspectives. These lectures may be focused on current research, historical topics, or cultural themes, and are open to the public.

One recurring lecture series is the “Science Sunday” series, which is held monthly and features scientists and researchers from various fields presenting their work and insights to a general audience. Topics have included paleontology, astronomy, ecology, and more.

Another lecture series is the “Second Saturdays” series, which is held on the second Saturday of each month and focuses on New Jersey history and culture. Lectures may cover topics such as architecture, music, art, or politics, and are often accompanied by tours, performances, or other activities.

Visitors can check the museum’s website or calendar for upcoming events and programs and plan their visit accordingly. Whether you’re a family looking for fun and educational activities, a history buff seeking new insights, or an art lover in search of inspiration, the New Jersey State Museum has something to offer.

Explore the NJ State Museum

If you are a history buff or simply looking for a fun and educational indoor activity, the New Jersey State Museum is a must-visit. With an extensive collection ranging from natural history to local archaeology, the museum certainly has something for everyone. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the NJ State Museum.

Location and Hours

The museum is located at 205 West State Street, Trenton, NJ, making it easy to access for visitors from all over the state. The hours of operation for the NJ State Museum are from 9 AM to 4:45 PM, Tuesday through Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays and holidays.

Admission and Tours

One of the best things about the NJ State Museum is that admission is completely free! However, keep in mind that there may be a charge for entrance into special exhibitions. They do offer tours for groups of all ages, including school groups. If you are interested in booking a tour, it is recommended that you make arrangements ahead of time by calling the museum.

Amenities and Accessibility

In addition to the many exhibitions and collections, the museum also offers various amenities to enhance your visit. They have a gift shop where you can purchase unique gifts and souvenirs to take home. There is also a café where you can grab a quick bite to eat or have a leisurely lunch. If you need to take a break, the museum has free Wi-Fi for your convenience.

The NJ State Museum is fully accessible to all visitors with disabilities. They have wheelchairs available to rent free of charge, and all public areas of the museum are equipped with elevators and ramps. If you need any additional assistance or accommodation, the staff at the museum are glad to help.

Exhibitions and Collections

The NJ State Museum boasts a variety of exhibitions and collections that are sure to fascinate visitors of all ages. One of the highlights is the archaeology exhibit, which features artifacts and information about the Lenape Native Americans, who lived in the area over 10,000 years ago. The natural history exhibit is also noteworthy, with an extensive collection of fossils and native wildlife specimens.

The museum also hosts several rotating exhibits throughout the year, so even if you have visited before, there is always something new to see. Some past exhibits have included “Objects Count” which explored the idea of collections, and “The Planetarium at 50” which celebrated the museum’s planetarium.

Events and Programs

In addition to the permanent and rotating exhibitions, the NJ State Museum also hosts various events and programs throughout the year. They have a robust calendar of events that include special tours, workshops, and lectures. Some of these events require pre-registration, while others are drop-in.

The museum also offers various educational programs for schools and teachers. They have programs for all ages, and topics range from archaeology to natural history. School groups can also book guided tours, making the experience both fun and educational.

Plan Your Visit

If you’re planning a visit to the NJ State Museum, be sure to take advantage of all the amenities and experiences available. Make sure to allow plenty of time for your visit, as the museum has so much to see. You may even want to plan to visit more than once to see everything!

Remember that admission to the museum is free, but donations are always appreciated. Also, keep in mind that the museum is closed on Mondays and holidays. Finally, if you have any questions or special needs, don’t hesitate to ask the friendly staff at the NJ State Museum for assistance.

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