Fireside Chat: Inventing in New Jersey
“A History of Inventing in New Jersey: From Thomas Edison to the Ice Cream Cone” Historian and author Linda Barth will enlighten and entertain you with a presentation based on her fascinating book. New Jersey is more than just the most densely populated state or the fifth smallest. What else do you know about our great state? It’s got seashore, mountains, and lakes. It’s called the Garden State. But this garden doesn’t just grow plants. New Jersey grows ideas…inventive, creative ideas. The nickname could easily be New Jersey, the Invention State. Over the years, many popular, useful, and funny inventions have had their start in New Jersey. We are home to firsts in sports, medical advances, the modern submarine, toys, transportation, electronics, and MANY of your favorite foods! And don’t forget Thomas Edison and his 1,093 patents! You’ll be amazed at what you didn’t know about New Jersey.
Linda Barth has been a lifelong resident of the Garden State, a fourth-grade teacher, author, public speaker, historian, docent and caretaker of some of New Jersey’s historical treasures.
She has written two books on the D&R Canal for Arcadia Publishing and two children’s picture books: Bridgetender’s Boy and Hidden New Jersey. A History of Inventing in New Jersey: From Thomas Edison to the Ice Cream Cone was released in 2013. With her husband, she has written The Millstone Valley Through Time and Somerville Through Time. She has also contributed to the Encyclopedia of New Jersey.
Fireside Chat: Genealogy, NJ and You
Join us for a very interesting and informative afternoon! Ever wonder how to go about researching your family tree? Or finding out more about local history? Ms. Catherine Stearns Medich will show you how! She will review and explain the types of records held at the New Jersey State Archives, and how to access them. Learn about the valuable documents that are just waiting for you!
Our speaker, Catherine Stearns Medich, is a Reference Archivist with the New Jersey State Archives with close to 20 years of public service. She is integral in managing the reference section of the Archives, and assisting users with many, varied collections maintained at the State Archives. Ms. Medich has particular knowledge of the military collections, including the State’s Civil War collections, and the New Jersey State Militia records, which she was also responsible for processing and organizing. Ms. Medich is a graduate of Dickinson University with a Bachelor’s Degree in History, and holds two Master’s Degrees from Rutgers University, in Art History and Library Service.
Fireside Chat: Jeannette Pickering Rankin
Born in Montana before it was a state, Ms. Rankin lived a life and left a legacy that greatly impacted women and American history. Born to a schoolteacher and a carpenter, she helped run the family ranch, graduated high school, attended three colleges, was a lobbyist, a pacifist, an activist in the women’s suffrage movement, and the first woman to hold a national office when the voters of Montana elected her to congress. Please join us to hear about her fascinating life story. It’s amazing what one woman can do!
Our guest speaker, Carol Simon Levin, is a Youth Services Librarian, author, storyteller and program presenter based in Bridgewater, NJ. Whether she is impersonating the woman who helped to build the Brooklyn Bridge, telling the amazing stories of early women in aviation, engaging families in a rousing Halloween Hootenany of songs and stories, expanding on the mathematical and artistic possibilities of a simple square, or sharing the story of a dolphin who learned to swim with an artificial tail (along with activities to help children understand what it is like to live with a disability), she always strives to create exciting programs that engage her audience’s interests and expand their horizons. She has always been particularly fascinated by the history of technology and women’s history.
Fireside Chat: The Last Czarina
Please join us in this commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Russian Imperial Romanov family.
Meet the last Empress of Russia, Czarina Alexandra, as she describes her childhood, her life in Russia, the birth of her children and the tragedy of her son’s illness as well as the downfall of the Romanov Dynasty.
Alisa Dupuy originated “The Ladies of History”, with historical presentations and first person portrayals in 2006 out of her love of the important women in world history. Wearing the clothing of different historical periods, she brings history to life in a lively and fun way. As she says: “History doesn’t have to be boring!” The main goal of The Ladies of History is to make history fun, exciting and memorable for the guests who attend her shows.
Fireside Chat: 1940: A Doorway to the Future
A nostalgic journey back to the 1940s! Explore how that era laid the foundation for the social, technical and cultural changes that have shaped the world we live in today. You’ve come a long way, baby! Trish Chambers will discuss how women’s role in society changed during this turbulent decade.
Special Event: Book Signing and Author Presentation
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Richard Veit, archaeologist and Monmouth University professor, as he presents his newest book- “Envisioning New Jersey: an Illustrated HIstory of the Garden State”. With his usual refreshing style, he will take us on a journey from dinosaurs to drive-in theaters, Native Americans to the Civil Rights movement, exploring inventions and discoveries and the people who made them. The book contains over 650 photos, maps, portraits, etc., many unique to this tome, ensuring a feast for your eyes and imagination.
Special Event: Paranormal Night at the Wyckoff-Garretson Museum House
The historic Wyckoff-Garretson house, circa 1730, is being opened to the public for a ghost hunt! Come join professional ghost hunters from New Jersey Paranormal, hear about the house’s past, and share in the hunt! Learn about and use professional equipment, and feel free to bring your own. Event date is Saturday, June 3, 2017, at 7:30pm. SPACE IS LIMITED TO THE FIRST 22 PAID REGISTRANTS – SO RESERVE YOUR SPACE ASAP! $25.00 per person, 18 and over only. Includes history/tour, Ghost Hunting 101, an investigation and refreshments. For more information or the registration form (required with payment), click on the pdf flyer below, or email Sue Ann Derkach at SueAnnDVought@aol.com. 100% of all donations go toward the restoration and preservation of our historic homes. The Meadows Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit, all-volunteer organization.
Fireside Chat: Marconi and Franklin Township
In 1913 at the intersection of JFK Boulevard and Easton Avenue in Somerset, NJ, ground was broken for an installation that would help shape the course of history. Join us for an interesting afternoon as we learn about inventor, electrical engineer, businessman, entrepreneur, Nobel Prize in Physics winner and radio transmission pioneer Guglielmo Marconi.
Our speaker, Alex Kucsma, is a former Councilman and Mayor of Franklin Township, and for four decades has taught Composition, American Literature and Creative Writing at the County College of Morris. He is a playwright and member of the Dramatist Guild, writing under the name of John Glennville. Additionally, in 2013 he was named President of the Marconi Foundation of Franklin Township.
Fireside Chat: Female Spies of WWII
A Meadows’ favorite – Alisa Dupuy – returns!! Join us as we mark Women’s History Month by hearing about the amazing spy master Vera Watkins and her team of World War II spies. She will also regale us with stories of other female spies. You will surely be surprised by the identity of some of the
Fireside Chat: Kid’s Fun Back in the Day
Bring the whole family to participate in this cabin-fever-fixing day of fun! Join us to learn hands-on about the toys and games that colonial children played. Some will be familiar, some will be new to you! This afternoon of hands-on fun is open to everyone, but most appropriate for children 5-99. After an engaging talk, there will be plenty of time for play. Each attendee will also make a game and a toy to keep and take home.
This lecture, part of our Fireside Chat series, will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 1-4pm at the historic Van Liew-Suydam House, 280 South Middlebush Road, Franklin Township, NJ. The fee for attending is $10 per person and includes light refreshments and all supplies. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sue Ann Derkach at SueAnnDVought@aol.com. Please send an email to make a reservation to ensure that we have adequate seating and supplies available.
Fireside Chat: 250 Years in Somerset
Tim Cohen, teacher and school historian at Rutgers Preparatory School in Somerset, will discuss the book he has just completed chronicling that school’s 250-year story. His talk will pay particular attention to the ways in which the school’s story has mirrored changes in the larger local community over the years. In keeping with Black History Month, he will discuss Rutgers Prep’s historic relationships with New Jersey’s African American community, including an examination of its founders’ attitudes toward slavery and the school’s pioneering traditions of ethnic and cultural diversity.
An Annual Tradition – Sinterklaas!
Sinterklaas will be held on Sunday, December 4th from 1-4 PM at the Hageman House and Barn. The celebration begins in the barn with the Van Wickle dancers, in authentic Dutch costumes and wooden shoes performing folk dances from various regions of The Netherlands accompanied by music from those areas, and a description of where each costume originated.
Children will prepare for the arrival of Sinterklaas by coloring pictures of him and his white horse, and by making ornaments from wood, pine cones and yarn. Adults may take the opportunity to speak with Jan ten Broeke, our expert on 19th century farm implements and a native of the Netherlands, and examine the display of tools in the barn from the early days.
The Franklin Madrigals arrive in their Renaissance costumes, and walk two-by-two singing into the barn. Guests follow and enjoy a concert of ancient European carols. When the Madrigals leave the barn (still singing), the day’s visitors turn to watch them leave and are delighted to see Sinterklaas himself arriving on his white horse The children hold arches of flowers over him as he proceeds to his red velvet throne in the barn. Then, he speaks to each of the children, both in English and Dutch, to determine who was good throughout 2016 and deserving of a small goodie bag.
Then to the holiday-decorated house where a harpsichordist, again in Dutch garb, plays traditional Sinterklaas songs and everyone sings along from prepared songbooks.
Throughout the day tours of the house are given, a video is shown about how the Dutch celebrate Christmas, and handouts will be provided about the history of Hageman and the Sinterklaas legend. Hot chocolate, mulled cider and Dutch baked goods will be available for purchase to complete the Feast of Saint Nicholas.
Fireside Chat: Spy of the Revolutionary War
The Day that Saved the Revolution: The Capture of British Spymaster John André
Please join us for this thrilling presentation on André and his involvement with Benedict Arnold and Arnold’s bride Peggy Shippen. How deeply were André and Shippen romantically involved, if at all? Did she use her friendship with André to induce a discontented Arnold to turn traitor? What became of Shippen and Arnold after they went to England?
You’ll find out the answers to these questions—and more—when noted historian and popular Revolutionary War enthusiast Forrest “Woody” Burgener joins us for a most enjoyable afternoon. Tickets are $10/person, and can be reserved by email to email@example.com, or by calling 732-748-7657.
Fireside Chat: Historic Haunts of Central Jersey
What ghosts roam within the historic sites and buildings of central New Jersey? How accurate are the traditional stories? From the shadowed woods of the Somerset Hills to the dappled banks of the Delaware River, Historic Haunts of Central Jersey delivers a rich mix of factual history and the sound investigation of ghostly phenomena. This 90-minute presentation also mixes in numerous PowerPoint Photos of investigation sites and audio clips of unexplained voices. The combination of an open-minded enthusiasm and a level-headed approach underscores this collection of reports that will inform, entertain, and lead audience members to places where the past is considered to be very much alive and entwined with the present.
Guest speaker Gordon Thomas Ward (author, singer-songwriter and presenter) will delight you with this fantastic presentation. This event is to be held at the Wyckoff-Garretson House (215 South Middlebush Road, Franklin Township, NJ) on Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 2pm – 4pm, and tickets are $10. For more information or to reserve a seat, please contact Chris Retz at Chrisflp@aol.com.
Weekend Journey Through the Past with the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission
The Wyckoff-Garretson museum house and carriage barn will be open to the public, free of charge, in conjunction with Somerset County’s Journey Through the Past program. Docents will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the property. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, you may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you there!
The Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, in collaboration with thirty local historical organizations and tourism partners, has designated the weekend of October 8 & 9, 2016 “Weekend Journey through the Past.” During this two-day period, thirty (30) of the County’s significant historic sites will be open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday, and 12:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Sunday.
Fireside Chat: Archaeology in New Jersey
Dr. Richard Veit – professor, archaeologist, presenter – will be giving his lecture on archaeology in New Jersey. This area has been inhabited for thousands of years, from the Indians to the Colonial life to today. Treasures abound under the soil, telling the story of our fascinating history. Please join us as we unearth the past.
This lecture, part of our Fireside Chat series, will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2016 from 2-4pm at the historic Van Liew-Suydam House, located at 280 South Middlebush Road, Franklin Township, NJ. The fee for attending is $10 and includes light refreshments. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sue Ann Derkach at SueAnnDVought@aol.com. Please send an email to make a reservation to ensure that we have adequate seating available.
Fireside Chat: Gravestone History
Dr. Richard Veit – professor, archaeologist, presenter – will be giving his lecture on cemetery evolution and gravestone design. Join us on this entertaining and informative stroll through our state’s cemeteries, from the historic to the fanciful.
This lecture, part of our Fireside Chat series, will be held on Saturday, August 20, 2016 from 2-4pm at the historic Van Liew-Suydam House, located at 280 South Middlebush Road, Franklin Township, NJ. The fee for attending is $10 and includes light refreshments. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sue Ann Derkach at SueAnnDVought@aol.com. Please send an email to make a reservation to ensure that we have adequate seating available.
Second Sundays: Wyckoff-Garretson Museum House Open Free to the Public
The Meadows Foundation announces the opening of the Wyckoff-Garretson Museum House and Carriage Barn, every second Sunday of the month starting in April and going through October. There will be docents on hand to conduct tours and answer questions about colonial life. The recently renovated carriage barn features a used book and gift shop.
In addition, craft demonstrations will be conducted in the conference room, and videos about life in colonial times will be shown in the media room. The buildings will be open from 1pm-4pm, April through October. This is a FREE EVENT, so bring family and friends and enjoy an interesting afternoon with us! Check our calendar for exact dates.
Special Event: Paranormal Night at the Wyckoff-Garretson Museum House
For the first time, the house is being opened to the public for a ghost hunt! Come join professional ghost hunters from New Jersey Paranormal, hear about the house’s past, and share in the hunt! Learn how to use professional equipment, and feel free to bring your own. Event date is Saturday, April 23, 2016. SPACE IS LIMITED TO THE FIRST 22 PAID REGISTRANTS – SO RESERVE YOUR SPACE ASAP! $25.00 per person, 18 and over only. Includes history/tour, Ghost Hunting 101, an investigation and refreshments. For more information or the registration form, click on the pdf flyer below, or email Sue Ann Derkach at SueAnnDVought@aol.com. 100% of all donations go toward the restoration and preservation of our historic homes. The Meadows Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit, all-volunteer organization.
ATTENTION – THE APRIL EVENT HAS SOLD OUT – NEW DATE ADDED. The first event scheduled for April 23, 2016 sold out in the first weekend. We have just added another date – JUNE 18, 2016. If you wish to attend, please contact us ASAP!!!
UPDATE – JUNE DATE HAS ALSO SOLD OUT. If you would like to be added to the list for advance notice of future dates, please send your contact information to SueAnnDVought@aol.com (re: Paranormal Night). Thank you for your interest, and please consider visiting the houses for any of our other events!
NEW DATE ADDED – August 13th. As always, limited tickets available. Please contact Sue Ann Derkach at SueAnnDVought@aol.com ASAP if you wish to attend, and send your non-refundable payment as per the flyer below. We hope to see you soon! – SORRY FOLKS, THIS IS SOLD OUT, TOO! We are maintaining a waiting list in the event there are cancellations. If any additional dates or houses are added, we will post them to this page.
Fireside Chats: The Delaware and Raritan Canal
SATURDAY MAY 7, 2016 @ 2pm
Did you know that for more than 170 years, the Delaware and Raritan Canal has meandered across the narrow waist of New Jersey? Did you know that the D&R was one of our nation’s most successful towpath canals, carrying more tonnage in 1866 than the more famous Erie Canal? Did you know that Johnson & Johnson, Roebling, and Fleischmann’s Distillery all had their start along the D&R? And did you know that the canal provides the people of central New Jersey with both a water supply and a premier recreational facility?
Canal author and historian Linda J. Barth will introduce you to the people, the bridges, the locks, and the aqueducts that made the canal work. This waterway, now the centerpiece of a popular state park, transported men and supplies between New York and Philadelphia during three wars. Inventor John Holland used the canal to deliver his Holland VI submarine to Washington for its Navy trials, and luxury yachts, like J .P. Morgan’s Tarantula, cruised the waterway. Come learn more about this gem of central New Jersey.
Linda Barth is no stranger to the Delaware & Raritan Canal, having grown up in the canal town of South Bound Brook. For over two decades she served on the board of the Canal Society of New Jersey and, with her husband Robert, has led canal tours throughout the Northeast. The Barths enjoy cruising (at the leisurely pace of 5 miles per hour) on the historic canals of England, Scotland, France, Canada, and other countries. The author of many canal and travel articles, Mrs. Barth has served as the curator of the Mule Tenders Barracks Museum on the banks of the D&R Canal in Griggstown, New Jersey. A retired teacher, she has written two books on the D&R Canal for Arcadia Publishing. Her children’s picture book, Bridgetender’s Boy, was published by the National Canal Museum in 2005. Hidden New Jersey was published by Charlesbridge in 2012. Her newest book is A History of Inventing in New Jersey: From Thomas Edison to the Ice Cream Cone. Books will be available for purchase at the event.
Fireside Chats: Women Justices of the United States Supreme Court
As late as 1872, women were still denied the right to practice law in the United States. By 1884 they were given part-time, token judgeships, usually at the municipal level. It took another 97 years for the first appointment of a woman to the United States Supreme Court. That was a total of 191 years after the founding of the Supreme Court itself!
Four magnificent women have achieved the position of Supreme Court Justice to date. Join Trish Chambers Productions and the Meadows Foundation in a fascinating introduction to these accomplished jurists. Meet Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Learn how their unique personality and determination enabled them to break the glass ceiling to take their place in history, as they vote to clarify the intentions of the founding fathers regarding the United States Constitution.
Fireside Chats: Black History Month on Stamps
Our second presentation of the year celebrates Black History Month on February 20th from 2-4 PM at the Civil War-era Hageman House at 209 South Middlebush Road. Mr. Don Neal, retired educator with the Franklin Township Public Schools will help us learn about the 39 men and women who have been commemorated on stamps by the United States Postal Service in one of its longest running series. The presentation also will include other African Americans on U.S. stamps, stamps that have been issued right here in Franklin Township, and general information on philately or, as it is commonly known, stamp collecting, one of the world’s oldest hobbies. The interactive presentation is suitable for the young and young at heart.
Fireside Chats: New Jersey’s Colonial Architecture
The Meadows Foundation is very proud to inaugurate its 2016 programming year on Saturday, January 16, 2, p.m., at the Van Liew Suydam House, 280 S. Middlebush Rd., with a talk by David Veasey on our state’s glorious colonial architecture. The talk is based on his book, “New Jersey’s Colonial Architectural Told in 100 Buildings”. In this, the most crowded and developed state in the union, a substantial number of buildings remain from our colonial past, from the Royal Governor’s Mansion in Perth Amboy, the still-functioning Black Horse Inn in Mendham, the meetinghouse-style Fairfield Presbyterian Church in Salem County, to Nassau Hall on the grounds of Princeton University, Washington’s Headquarters in Morristown, and the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, which is the oldest lighthouse in the country. Buildings from every county in the state are included in this marvelously illustrated book, copies of which will be available for sale and signing.
Sinterklaas! – An Annual Tradition
Sinterklaas was held on Sunday, December 6th from 1-4 PM at the Hageman House and Barn. It started in the barn with the Van Wickle dancers, in authentic Dutch costumes and wooden shoes performing folk dances from various regions of The Netherlands accompanied by music from those areas, and a description of where each costume originated.
Children prepared for the arrival of Sinterklaas by coloring pictures of him and his white horse, and by making ornaments from wood, pine cones and yarn. Many of the adults took the opportunity to speak with Jan ten Broeke, our expert on 19th century farm implements who is actually from the Netherlands, and to examine the display of tools in the barn from the early days.
The Franklin Madrigals arrived in their Renaissance costumes, and walked two-by-two singing into the barn. Guests followed and enjoyed a concert of ancient European carols. When the Madrigals left the barn (singing), the day’s visitors turned to watch them leave and were delighted to see Sinterklaas himself arriving on his white horse The children held arches of flowers over him as he proceeded to his red velvet throne in the barn. Then, he spoke to each of the children, both in English and Dutch, to determine who was good throughout 2015 and deserving of a small goodie bag. No surprise—all were deemed worthy of a gift.
Then to the holiday-decorated house where a harpsichordist, again in Dutch garb, played traditional Sinterklaas songs and everyone sang along from prepared songbooks.
Throughout the day tours of the house were given, a video was shown about how the Dutch celebrated Christmas, and handouts were provided about the history of Hageman and the Sinterklaas legend. Hot chocolate, mulled cider and Dutch baked goods were available to complete the Feast of Saint Nicholas.
Fireside Chats: Julia Child is visiting the Hageman House!
Come spend an afternoon with the famous Julia Child! She will entertain you with stories of her life abroad, her relationship with her husband Paul and her famous feat of bringing French Cuisine to American families. Just in time for Thanksgiving! Julia will be portrayed by the very talented actress Linda Kenyon.
Ghost Stories Around the Campfire
Come have some October family fun! Bring your lawn chair and enjoy lawn games, a tour/history walk and light refreshments. At 6:30, we will tell you some spooky stories and weird New Jersey tales as you roast marshmallows by the fire. Bring your carved or decorated pumpkin and enter the Pumpkin Contest – everybody gets to vote on their favorite! Trivia Contest and Door Prizes, too!
Weekend Journey Through the Past with the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission
The Hageman House and Barns will be open to the public, free of charge, in conjunction with Somerset County’s Journey Through the Past program. There will be a wool making demonstration in the barn, and a harpist in the house playing period music. Docents will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the property. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, you may contact us at email@example.com. Hope to see you there!
The Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, in collaboration with thirty local historical organizations and tourism partners, has designated the weekend of October 10 & 11, 2015 “Weekend Journey through the Past.” During this two-day period, thirty (30) of the County’s significant historic sites will be open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday, and 12:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Sunday.
Fireside Chats: Lady Violet Grantham Tea Luncheon
DOWNTON ABBEY COMES TO THE MEADOWS – Please join us as Lady Violet the Dowager Countess of the Earldom of Grantham (portrayed by actress) regales us with stories of the Edwardian age, the Victorian era and the changes brought about by the turning of the century. Her wit and acerbic repartee will delight you!
Fireside Chats: TEA WITH QUEEN VICTORIA
A royal time was had by all on March 21, 2015 when we had “Tea With Queen Victoria” in the parlor of the newly restored Hageman house. This was our kick-off for the 2015 season. The Meadows will be hosting several “Tea With……” Events. The next event will be on April 25, when we present a “High Tea with Emily Roebling”, (at the Van Liew-Suydam house) the woman instrumental in the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge followed by a “Tea with Admiral Farragutt” (at the Hageman house) on May 16. In the fall we will welcome Dowton Abbey with a “High Tea With Lady Violet (Maggie Smith’s character) at the Van Liew-Suydam house. Please check our calendar and page of upcoming events regularly, as information and new events are always being added. Hope to see you at one of them!