Welcome to the Monmouth County Historical Association, an organization with a rich history dating back to its founding in 1898 when a dedicated group of county residents incorporated to “discover, procure, preserve and perpetuate whatever relates to the history of Monmouth County.” We have been continuing that important effort ever since.
Over the past century, the MCHA has become a multi-faceted organization comprised of our Museum, Research Library & Archives and five Historic House Museums. Our Traveling Trunk Program, lectures and special events help us to provide a variety of opportunities for people of all ages to engage in learning about and appreciating the interesting history and cultural heritage of our unique area.
This website, recently designed as a gift by The S3 Agency, will give you an informative virtual tour of our collection and our numerous activities. I hope that it will also inspire and help you to plan a visit to one of our many sites so that you may have your own encounter with the past.
We look forward to your involvement in the MCHA. Come find your place in history!
Linda W. Bricker
Over a quarter of a century ago, MCHA adopted the thistle as the official logo of the organization. The image was taken from a carving in a rare chair in the Association’s collection.
The Rhea Chair is the oldest piece of documented New Jersey furniture and the only surviving wainscot chair made in the state. The chair maker Robert Rhea emigrated from Scotland to America, eventually settling in Monmouth County. Rhea, who was both farmer and carpenter, carved the Scottish thistle along with his and his wife Janet’s initials into the chair back with the date “1695.”
According to James Fenimore Cooper, “The thistle is the order for dignity and antiquity.” The national symbol of Scotland, it is also the emblem of the Order of the Thistle, one of the highest orders of chivalry of Scotland. Throughout Celtic areas the thistle signifies strength, bravery, durability and determination.
As the familiar symbol of the Association, the thistle reflects both the depth of the collection and the qualities central to the MCHA’s ongoing mission.
Photo caption: Carving on chair back crafted by Robert Rhea with thistle along with date and initials.
Monmouth County Historical Association collects, preserves, and interprets its extensive museum, research library, and archival collections that relate to Monmouth County’s history and culture and makes these resources available to the widest possible audience.
The Association promotes the study and appreciation of regional and national history through educational programming, publications, special exhibits, and research services. The Association also preserves and interprets five significant historic sites which represent the County’s vanishing architectural heritage.
Through its pursuit of these objectives, the Association enriches the quality of life in Monmouth County by preserving and passing on knowledge of its diverse heritage for future generations.
Charles H. Jones III, Ed.D., Interim Director
Joe Hammond, Director of Collections
Lisa Maher, Director of Development and Communications
Pati Githens, Outreach and Office Manager
Deanna Wilson, Development and Communications Assistant
Joe Zemla, Assistant Curator of Collections
Kim Bedetti, Library Assistant
Amy Vo, Library Assistant
Linda W. Bricker, President
Ross R Millhiser, Jr., First Vice President
Alexander “Sandy” Mulheren, Second Vice President
Mark R. Aikins, Esq., Treasurer
Amy Almasy, Secretary
George J. Dittmar III, Asst. Treasurer
Sarah Ashmore Bradley
Robert D. Broege, Esq.
Felicia Campanella, AIA
Deborah A. Docs, Esq.
Lisa Marie Docs
Alison R. Friedel
Mark F. Gilbertson
Vera V. Hough
Norman D. Hungerford, PhD
Edward N. King
Claire M. Knopf
Nelson A. Kuperberg
Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos, Jr.
Mary Ann LaSardo
William J. Mehr, Esq.
Lawrence J. Metz
Jennifer H. Mullins
Suzanne R. Post
Kara D. Short
Elizabeth C. Thees
Elizabeth A. Urbanski
Cynthia P. Wilby
Lisa Klem Wilson
Agressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc.
Complete Security Systems, Inc.
Craig Kiely & Daryn Murphy Designs
Cooper Electric Supply Co.
Freehold Savings Bank
Jones and Associates
Local Smoke BBQ
Marlboro Flower and Garden
New Jersey Natural Gas
Rumson Wine & Spirits