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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.


Special Hartshorne Exhibition Programming

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

Searching for the Lighthouse Fort and the Refugee Town on Sandy Hook: A Story of Archeological Research

Lecture by Dr. Richard Veit

Thursday March 2 7:30pm. Thompson Park Visitors Center. 805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ. Admission free.

From 1692 to 1817, Sandy Hook was the private property of the Hartshorne family of Middletown. Since 1764, the historic lighthouse on the Hook has guarded the treacherous approaches to New York Harbor. During the American Revolution, Continental forces tried unsuccessfully to deny the British control of the lighthouse. British troops and partisans captured Sandy Hook early in the war and, despite repeated raids by Continental forces, retained control of the sandy peninsula until the end of the conflict. Indeed, the British fortified the lighthouse and Loyalists, many of African descent, constructed a Refugee Town near the light which served as a base of operations for raiding parties along the Jersey shore. Monmouth University’s 2016 archeological field school investigated the lighthouse property in an attempt to identify the location of the Lighthouse Fort and Refugee Town. Learn what was discovered.
Richard Veit is Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University. 

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.

Curator's Gallery Workshop With Joseph Hammond

Saturday March 18 10:30 to noon.
Join Director of Collections, Joseph Hammond for an inside look at the exhibition. 
Attendance limited to 15. Registration $10. Call 732-462-1466 x. 11 or email pgithens@monmouthhistory.org to register. 


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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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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