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70 Court Street, Freehold, New Jersey

Our Hours

          Museum: Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm
                Research Library: Wednesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm 
Offices: Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm

                Historic House Museums are Closed for the Season.  Visits can be arranged by appointment.

MCHA Museum and Research Library will be closed to the public on Saturday, April 1, 2017 for a private event.


Special Hartshorne Exhibition Programming

For more information on these programs and all future programming, click here. 

Whatever Shall We Wear: 18th and Early 19th Century Clothing and Accessories in Monmouth County.

A full-day seminar by Bernadette M. Rogoff

Saturday, 8 April, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Seminar at MCHA Museum & Research Library, Freehold, NJ.

Registration fee $125. Presented by Bernadette M. Rogoff.

MCHA’s present exhibit on the Hartshorne family includes many important textile and costume items.

This day-long seminar will begin with a presentation giving an overview of Monmouth County, its residents, and the textile collection itself. Twenty five selected garments and accessories will be on view, many on mannequins. Participants will be given a rare opportunity to examine carefully the items, their construction techniques, and materials. Discussion will also focus on family
provenance and the social standing of owners.

Bernadette M. Rogoff, principal of Small Museum Design, serves as consulting curator to MCHA. She has a special expertise in historic textiles and clothing, and spent twenty two years as Curator for the Association.

Limited to 25 participants. Lunch will be included.

Peek Under The Petticoats


Thursday, 30 March, 10:30 a.m. Exhibition mannequin dress change of a ca. 1868 lilac silk moiré (watered silk) taffeta and satin ball gown, with all accessories.

Tuesday, 2 May, 10:30 a.m. Exhibition mannequin dress change of a summer printed cotton, one-piece day dress with all-over repeat graphic pattern in black and gold on a soft-white ground, with all accessories. 

The garments to be exhibited are from the wardrobe of Julia Norton Hartshorne, who died tragically in 1869 at the age of thirty. They are of the highest fashion of the late 1860s, were made in part in Paris, and were lightly if ever worn. The family has carefully preserved her entire wardrobe to this day, including summer and winter dresses, petticoats, jackets, bonnets, and accessories of every sort. Participants will be able to watch the process of dressing the mannequin with authentic hoop skirts, three petticoats, a very formal dress, a matching jacket, and a bonnet. Rogoff will also demonstrate how a mannequin is assembled and padded out to fit the historic clothing properly, as well as how to prepare and pack garments for proper museum storage.

Bernadette M. Rogoff, principal of Small Museum Design, serves as consulting curator to MCHA. She has a special expertise in historic textiles and clothing, and spent twenty-two years as Curator for the Association.

$20 for members, $25 nonmembers. Conducted by Bernadette M. Rogoff, consulting curator.  Limited to 15 participants. Session will last approximately 90 minutes.

Lecture on The Legacy of Hartshorne Woods in the Highlands

Thursday, May 4 7:30pm 

Come join Gail L. Hunton, Chief of the Aquisition and Design Department for the Monmouth County Park System as she presents The Legacy of Hartshorne Woods in the Highlands

The scenic forests, coastal buffs, and waterfront vistas of the Navesink Highlands have been celebrated for centuries.  Novelist James Fenimore Coooper called them one of the most beautiful combinations of land and water in America.  The entire area was once part of the Hartshorne family estate called Portland, which at its maximum extent amounted to more than 2,400 acres.  By the 1960s, development was rapidly changing the character of the Highlands, and the preservation of the Hartshorne Woods at its core was in no way a sure thing.    

Come learn how Hartshorne Woods Park was born and how the park has preserved one of Monmouth County's greatest natural and historical legacies.  Today the park includes 794 acres of woodland and waterfront, as well as two historic sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places- the Hartshorne home called Portland Place, and the former Navesink Military Reservation.  The speaker will share exciting ongoing work to preserve this heritage for all to enjoy.

This program is free and open to the public and will be held at the Thompson Park Visitors Center, 805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ. 


Current Exhibitions at the Museum

From about 1676 to 1952, eight generations of the Hartshorne family resided on their estate at the Highlands called Portland. At its maximum extent, the Portland tract encompassed more than 2,400 acres between the Navesink River and Sandy Hook Bay, including Sandy Hook.

This exhibition tells the story of those individuals through original documents, artifacts, paintings, textiles, silver and furniture owned by the Hartshornes over those three centuries Of special interest are one of the most complete sets of mid-18th century American crewelwork bed hangings known to survive, a silver-headed walking stick owned by Richard Hartshorne, the immigrant, and a large collection of ancestral miniature portraits and daguerreotypes still owned by descendants. Also included is much material on the California Gold Rush, and the West Coast career of Benjamin Minturn Hartshorne (1826–1900), whose fortune transformed Portland from a working farm into a country gentleman’s estate.

The exhibition draws on the collections of Monmouth County Historical Association, the Monmouth County Park System, and the privately held treasures of Hartshorne descendants.   

This program is made possible in part by funding from a New Jersey Historical Commission Grant and sponsorship from Amboy Bank and Investors Bank.

That Memorable Sabbath-Day: The Battle of Monmouth in Drawings, Paintings & Prints explores artistic interpretations of the Battle of Monmouth. The battle was fought on June 28, 1778, a Sunday. During the mid-nineteenth century, as Americans became increasingly interested in their country’s rise to nationhood, depictions of historical events such as the Battle of Monmouth became popular with audiences throughout the eastern United States. Artists––professional and amateur alike––responded by creating drawings, paintings, and prints that brought the battle to life. The Association’s collections include a large number of such works.

This exhibition features a range of interpretations, from grand manner history painting and pictorial records of a documentary nature to scenes of romance, fantasy, drama, and outright caricature––all of which, whether grounded in fact or fiction, helped shape our awareness of what the American historian Benson J. Lossing (1813–91) described as “that memorable Sabbath-day in June, 1778.”


Taylor-Butler Green House Project 

Boy Scout Owen Doherty, with Troop 201 in Rumson, has selected restoration of the greenhouse at the Taylor-Butler house for his Eagle Scout project. He will clean out and spruce up the overgrown facility, raising funds to cover the replacement of broken window panes and heater as well as the repair of the plumbing system. The restored greenhouse can be enjoyed by local garden clubs who are interested in cultivating heritage plants and herbs.

Visit Owen's Fundraising Page to support his project


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Copyright © 2017 Monmouth County Historical Association. All rights reserved. The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only and may not be reproduced in any form without the permission of Monmouth County Historical Association.

This website was funded by the Marion Huber Trust


Museum & Library, 70 Court Street Freehold, NJ 07728
Monmouth County Historical Association received a general operating grant from the the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.
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