I started this blog with one daughter, kept it up with the other, to spend time together doing something we enjoyed.
However, things change and people evolve. My daughters are older, busier, and not as interested in writing.
From now on this blog will be mostly mom with occasional contributions from my daughters and maybe even my husband.
Nothing else will change. We'll still focus on sharing fun places to go, fun things to do, and more, and we would  still love to hear your views too

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Where-To -Go Wednesday - Worker's House Museum and Galley and Manual Training Industrial School Museum

What: Worker's House and Gallery Museum &
            Manual Training and Industrial School Museum 

Where: 803 Smithville Rd.
             Eastampton, NJ

Who: Worker's House Museum All Ages 
            School Museum Tweens and Up

On the grounds of Historic Smithville Park in addition to Smithville Mansion and The Underground Railroad Museum which we discussed in our previous posts, Where-To-Go Wednesday - Smithville Mansion and Where-To-Go Wednesday - The Underground Railroad Museum of Burlington County, there are also a couple of other smaller museums. The first is the Worker's House Museum and Gallery. The other is the New Jersey Manual  Training Industrial School Museum. 

The Worker's House Museum and Gallery was at one time literally the home of the factory workers of Hezekiah Smith. Mr. Smith was the industrialist, inventor, and congressman who created Smithville and owned and lived in the Smithville Mansion. Currently, this museum houses a variety of items that show what life was like during the time that Mr. Smith owned the village and his workers lived there as well as a series of rotating art exhibits. Recent exhibits have included an exhibit of bird-related art and a quilting exhibit. 

This museum is small and not overly full so it does not take a lot of time to go through. There is no fee for visiting this museum and no reservations are required. However, mask-wearing is required and your temperature may be taken upon entry.

The other museum is the Manual  Training and Industrial School Museum. It is devoted to the school of the same name. The school was also known by several other names including The Manual Training and Industrial School for Colored Youth,  The State of New Jersey Manual Training School, and The Bordentown School.  This school for African American children was located in nearby Bordentown and was open from the early 1900s through the mid-1950s. Although the intention is to eventually open a whole larger museum dedicated to the school, perhaps on the grounds where the school actually existed, currently the entire museum consists of an exhibit in a room in The Underground Railroad Museum of Burlington County. 

Despite its size, the current exhibit is quite overflowing with pictures and other memorabilia. With numerous items stacked on top of each other, it is quite impossible to go through on your own, but only if someone is around to walk you through the exhibit. As a former student at the school, the museum guide, who may or may not be the curator of the exhibit, is quite knowledgeable about the subject and can talk quite a lot so be prepared for a long stay. Accordingly, we would not recommend visiting this museum with young children or others with short attention spans. For anyone interested in learning about this school, however, a visit to this museum is definitely worthwhile.

For more about Smithville Park and its museums, visit www.co.burlington.nj.us/948/Historic-Smithville-Park

Tune in tomorrow for Theater Thursday.

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