7 South Jersey Museums to ExploreLast Edited:
An exhibit on Navajo Code Takers during WWI at the Millville Army Air Field Museum (Photo: p47millville.org)
SOUTH JERSEY — While the mid-summer sun is still shining brightly, and the days start to get shorter, there are a lot of options for fun family outings before the school season starts. Along with outdoor activities and events, there are several museums unique the southern New Jersey area, which can help visitors and residents alike learn about the history of the area — from WWII fighter jets in Millville, to the once-bustling jazz and R&B music scene on Kentucky Avenue in Atlantic City, to climbing in a real air-traffic control tower in Wildwood. Here are seven museums and attractions to put on your Summer 2017 Things-to-Do list:
Cape May Lighthouse (Cape May Point):
The Cape May Lighthouse is located at the southern tip of New Jersey and has been in operation since it was built in 1859. More than 2.5 million visitors have climbed the lighthouse since it opened to the public in 1988. The Oil House on the grounds of the lighthouse contains a fully accessible Visitors’ Orientation Center and a shop carrying souvenirs, books, and maritime items.
The lighthouse is open daily from April through November and is open on weekends only during the rest of the year. All tours are self-guided.
The cost to climb the lighthouse is $8 for adult; $5 for children (ages 3-12).
The Cape May Lighthouse was acquired by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities in December 1986 to restore it to its original state. It was funded by nearly $2 million in grants and repainted in its original color scheme of light beige and red.
The lighthouse hosts different events throughout the year, such as Lighthouse Storytime, Family Fun Days, Christmas in July, and National Lighthouse Day.
215 Light House Ave, Cape May Point, NJ 08212
WheatonArts and Cultural Center (Millville):
The WheatonArts and Cultural Center is located in Millville, and has a plethora of facilities on site, including the Museum of American Glass, the Creative Glass Center of America International Fellowship Program, the largest folklife program in New Jersey, a hot-glass studio, traditional craft studios, five museum stores, a 13,000-square-foot Event Center, and a pond-side picnic area.
Previously known as Wheaton Village, Wheaton Arts was founded in 1968 and is a nonprofit with a mission to “engage artists and audiences in an evolving exploration of creativity.”
The Museum of American Glass is the heart of the center and claims to have the most comprehensive collection of glass produced in America. It is one of eight museums in New Jersey to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum says that its collection encompasses examples of the earliest glass objects made in America, 18th-century glass, and fine contemporary glass art.
Wheaton Arts has daily glass-blowing and artist demonstrations, and it also holds exhibitions, programs, workshops, performances, and weekend festivals such as the Festival of Fine Craft and GlassWeekend. Some classes that are held include introduction to glass bead making, metal smithing for beginners, and introduction to salt glazed ceramics.
Wheaton Arts is open six days a week (Tuesday through Sunday) from April through December, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
General admission is $10 for adults, $9 for adults 62+, $7 for students, and children aged five and under are let in for free. It is free to shop and walk around.
1000 Village Drive GPS only, Millville, NJ 08332
African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey (Atlantic City & Newtonville):
With two locations in South Jersey (in Atlantic City and Newtonville) the AAHMSNJ has a mission to “bring the African American experience to life by documenting the struggle of one group of Americans as they carved out their own place in the wider cultural landscape.”
The AAHMSNJ was founded by Ralph E. Hunter, Sr. after he began collecting cultural treasures more than 30 years ago. Hunter found the treasures while traveling —or while being “observant” — and finding them at various places, including items that had been disposed of prior. Hunter’s own apartment was referred to as “The Museum” by his friends, and then in 2002, the mayor of Buena Vista Township offered him a space for a museum in Newtonville.
The museum now has more than 3,000 pieces, and its board has a commitment to sharing the vast collection with students, families, and others interested in the honest depiction of the African American experience.
There are several permanent displays such as "Stereotypes: From Little Black Sambo to Aunt Jemima and Beyond," the nationally acclaimed "Portraits Of A People, At Home: Furniture & Fixtures of Early African American Life," and "The Northside: The Way We Were." Both museum locations have a variety of temporary displays throughout the year.
The Newtonville location is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Atlantic City location — anchoring the Arts Garage of Stockton University shops and galleries — is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The museum requests that for admission adults donate $3 and students donate $2. Wednesdays are free, and there is free admission for members of the military.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center
661 Jackson Rd, Williamstown, NJ 08094
Noyes Arts Garage (First Level of the Wave Garage)
2200 Fairmount Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum (Rio Grande):
This non-profit museum at the Cape May Airport inside Hangar #1 was commissioned in April 1943, and served as an active dive-bomber squadron training facility during World War II. Hangar #1 has been restored and made into an Aviation Museum featuring aircrafts, engines, special exhibits, and educational interactive displays.
NASW was decommissioned in February 1946. In October 1944, NASW was at its peak activity with 16,994 take offs and landings in one month.
Activities at the museum include sitting in the cockpit of select aircraft, climbing a real air-traffic control tower, exploring the science of flight with interactive displays, and a C-130 flight simulator game. There is an exhibit called “All Available Boats” which commemorates the heroes of 9/11, and a coast guard exhibit area. There are also 26 different planes and helicopters on the premises.
Other exhibits available are a 1940s room, featuring an assortment of household artifacts from the decade, recreating a typical house during WWII. Another is a Radio Room where there are 1940s-era radios and other communication devices, and explanations on how messages were relayed during WWII.
NASW is open all year and hosts many community activities and fundraisers, including two summer camps.
The museum’s current hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is $12 (Adults), $10 (Children 3-12), Free (Children under 3 and Active Duty Military with ID
500 Forrestal Rd, Rio Grande, NJ 08242
Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial (Camden):
The Battleship New Jersey is located at the Camden Waterfront, directly across the Delaware River from Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. It was commissioned in WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Ronald Reagan also used it in his 600 ship navy. It is an Iowa-class battleship that is nearly three football fields long and eleven stories high.
Construction of the Battleship New Jersey began in September 1940 and was commissioned for service in WWII in May 1943. In October 2001, the ship arrived at the Camden Waterfront and opened to the public for tours.
There are two different tours available: The Fire Power Tour is a self-guided tour where guests follow a colored line on the decks. The Turret II Tour is an interactive guided tour focusing on the operation of the 16-inch guns.
Tours cover many areas of the ship, including the bridge, the crew’s mess, the communication’s room, and the 16-inch guns. Visitors can climb inside the 16-inch gun turret and watch a simulated launch of a tomahawk missile. Exhibits include “New Jerseyans on the Big J,” “A Sailors Life,” “Keepers of the Sea,” and more.
The ship is open everyday. Its summer hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The admission price is $21.95 (adults), $17 (children 5-11, veterans, and seniors 62+), and free to active military, WWII veterans, former crew members of BB-62, and children aged four and under.
100 Clinton St, Camden, NJ 08103
Woodbine Sam Azeez:
More than 100 years ago, the town of Woodbine (Cape May County) was bought by a wealthy German philanthropist, Baron de Hirsch. He established a fund to assist the immigrating Russian Jews coming to America in the 1890s.
"Woodbine became the experimental agricultural industrial colony envisioned by the Baron de Hirsch Fund trustees," according to information on the Sam Azeez Museum website. "The immigrants could pursue the agricultural lifestyle that they had been denied in Russia. But because of poor soil conditions, Woodbine soon became better known as a factory town, the manufacturing center of Cape May County. Education, religion, tolerance and inclusion were values shared by the community as it grew, diversified and continued."
The Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine Heritage was built to "remember and record this past while also actively collecting the materials to preserve its continuing heritage." A destination for visitors and a local resource for the entire Woodbine community, the museum's Brotherhood Synagogue building is still in use. Built by early Woodbine settlers, the synagogue is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo: Holocaust Survivor Ruth Zinman With Executive Director Jane Stark and Program Director Oranit Caplan.
The sanctuary has been restored and is available for special worship services. The lower level, Brotherhood Hall, houses the museum's permanent and temporary exhibitions. Also included is a community sculpture, the Collective Memory Wall, where the Woodbine community has contributed personal memories of Woodbine.
610 Washington Ave., Woodbine, NJ 08270
The Millville Army Air Field Museum:
Known as "America's First Defense Airport," the Millville Army Air Field Museum (MAAFM) preserves the history of the Millville Army Air Field, in Millville, NJ.
Located in the original base headquarters building, the MAAFM displays large collections of WWII aviation artifacts of national interest. It recognizes and commemorates all aspects of aviation history as well as documents and honors the lives of American veterans.
Events include air shows and static displays of vintage and military aircraft, as well as its annual Veterans Appreciation Day in November. The Museum provides interesting programs for students, veterans, aviation lovers, and history buffs. Admission is free. Group tours are available. Donations are always welcome.
The Museum’s historic complex includes the original WWII air base Link Trainer Building, which houses a rare, fully-operational link trainer, and the Henry E. Wyble Historic Research Library and Education Center located in a restored WWII warehouse containing an extensive literary and video collection.
1 Leddon St., Millville Executive Airport Millville, NJ 08332
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