Jersey City’s New Historical Museum invites locals to contribute

Jersey City needed a museum similar to the Hoboken Historical Museum – and finally one is in the soft opening phase. The Historical Museum of Jersey City isn’t quite ready yet, but it is by design – and the new museum has opened its doors to the local community by hosting open houses to transform the space into a thriving cultural center where Hoping for a real opening in the fall. In particular, residents of Journal Square, the general population of Jersey City, and all of us with ties to the Hudson County area are invited to participate in the development of this new community-powered institution, housed in the pre-Revolutionary War building in today’s Building 298 is housed in Akademiestrasse. Read on for a peek inside Jersey City’s brand new history museum.

A museum by + for the people

For the past few months, Jersey City’s new History Museum has welcomed all newcomers to the striking Apple Tree House to share accounts of the past that need to be unraveled and exchange ideas about the role this new cultural center could play. These open house events were attended by academic historians, history buffs, local community supporters and a whole host of neighbors of the storied old house who have lived nearby over the many years since it was used as the Quinn Funeral Home. Many of the Apple Tree House’s neighbors are excited to visit and see the sheltered 18th-century stonework and ceiling beams, as they recall the decades the building was in active decay when its survival was called into question.

Jersey City Historical Museum

The open house events anticipate a grand opening in early fall. Participants in these donuts and coffee community talks are filled with ideas and concerns about the stories they would like to see depicted in a home whose founding dates back to a time when enslaved people were entrusted with all the hard work that shaped historical events, but mostly remained uncredited and uncredited.

It takes an entire village to build a cultural center that is truly representative of the broadest community. Jerome Chance, Museum Board Member, emphasizes the need to draw oral histories from the lived experiences of longtime community residents and to include those who are shaped by the legacy of that history, such as the students at PS 11, the Martin Luther King School, meeting at the oldest continuous public school site in America. The broad expertise of the Museum Board, its extensive advisory teams, the efforts of the volunteers and the highlight programs by local visual and musical artists are part of a very conscious process designed to involve the whole village.

Read more: Hoboken’s historic role in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

An autumn birth is planned

The new museum’s first exhibit focuses on the era of infamous Jersey City Mayor “Boss” Frank Hague. The exhibition focuses less on Haag himself and more on the rich period of his political career when Haag was mayor from 1917 to 1947 Holland Tunnel and Pulaski Skyway; Bing Crosby appeared on the stage at Loew’s fabled Jersey Theatre; The Red Scare propaganda shaped the local discourse; and local rulers fought dirty in competition for the future they wanted to see.

Jersey City Historical Museum

Along with myriad community welcoming events taking place over the coming months, the museum will open its doors on Saturday, September 10th for the Journal Square Community Association’s Bergen Square Day celebrations. Her hope is to open the inaugural exhibition before the beginning of 2023.

The Apple Tree House site places the museum on Bergen Square, the site of a 17th-century Dutch settlement in the New Netherlands colony. When one local history lover mentions Dutch history, it is not surprising that another is quick to point out the importance of emphasizing Lenni Lenape’s viewpoints in any museum project. It is precisely this “yes and” spirit that bodes well for the future of the Jersey City Historical Museum.

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An interdisciplinary historical experience

The Jersey City Historical Museum is a “with, not for” endeavor, meaning the group doing the work attracts new participants with each project. Museum visitors should not only expect to be instructed at a museum event. Instead, expect to participate in the joyful process of building rich historical narratives through music, art, dramatic storytelling, and play.

Speranza Theater Company Artistic Director Heather Wahl is researching local interest in dramatic storytelling. Speranza Means “hope” in Italian, and the company offers just that for those who see story-sharing as a truthful exercise. This non-profit women’s theater has established itself in the attic of the new museum, from where it intends to continue its mission of presenting challenging new plays and developing exciting educational content.

Jersey City Historical Museum

Each of the museum’s open house events features a pop-up art exhibition featuring Jersey City visual artists and a music concert. The April 30 program featured artworks by Lucy Rovetto and music by guitarist Hekuran Beluli, a New Jersey City University student who is originally from Albania. The May 21 event featured paintings by JR Nolan accompanied by music by MinIo Class, organist at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Jersey City Heights. The next public open day will take place on June 25 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Jersey City Historical Museum

Lucy with her artwork

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