The Monmouth County Historical Association features a unique collection of objects and artifacts that document over three centuries of Monmouth County history and culture, ranging in date from the early 17 the century to present day. While a majority of the Association’s 35,000+ piece collection is housed and preserved at an off-site storage facility, objects are routinely used for special exhibits, education and outreach programs, publication, and research services.
At any given moment, the Association displays to the public roughly 1,500 items between changing exhibitions in the museum and interpreted spaces in our five historic houses. In size and quality, the Association’s decorative and fine arts collections rank in the very top tier among similar institutions in New Jersey, including the Newark Museum and the New Jersey State Museum. Yet very little material culture related to the Garden State is available on the internet to students, researchers, collectors, and dealers.
Digitization of the Association’s museum collections via our eMuseum initiative will change that imbalance significantly as anyone worldwide with access to the internet will be able to find images and information on the exceptional and diverse range of artifacts our holdings contain. This process is estimated to take several years a cost the Association close to $1 million. Learn how you can support the digitization project here.
Highlights from the museum collection include:
Early locally documented furniture, including a 1695 Wainscot arm chair made in Monmouth County by Scottish carpenter Robert Rhea
Over 1,000 paintings and drawings that reflect the evolution of Monmouth County’s people and landscape, with a number of works by prominent portrait artists Micah Williams (1782-1837) and Harvey Jenkins (1822-1908)
An extensive textile and costume collection that features needlework samplers, quilts and coverlets, uniforms and accessories, and some of the earliest recorded examples of garments with histories of New Jersey ownership
Military equipment and artifacts, including weaponry, battlefield relics, local regiment flags, Civil War surgery kits, veteran group paraphernalia, and an assortment of objects with Battle of Monmouth (28 June 1778) provenance.
Assorted pottery, stoneware, and ceramics, with a particularly strong selection of 18th and 19th century English wares that help lend authenticity to our historic house interpretations
Objects that encompass the ideals of Monmouth County childhood, including Victorian era toys, games, and dolls, sleighs, high-chairs, rocking horses, and student cyphering books
Features of daily life and commerce in Monmouth County, ranging from 19th century Jersey Shore souvenirs and baby parade trophies to medical and pharmaceutical instruments, carpet looms from the Karagheusian Rug Factory, an early printing press from the Monmouth Democrat, political ephemera, and trade signs
To view a curated selection of some of our most notable collection items, please visit the MCHA eMuseum. Be sure to check back regularly for new additions!