Join us for a reception on Sunday November 4 at our museum in Freehold to celebrate the opening of two new exhibits. Attendees will have the opportunity to view “A Family Reunited: The Conover Portraits” and “Polite and Useful Education: Pictorial Needlework Embroidery” and hear curatorial remarks on the background and significance of each installation.
“A Family Reunited: The Conover Portraits” features seven portraits from one of the earliest Monmouth County families. The Conover portraits, ranging in date from 1819 to 1855, have not been seen together since 1902. They depict Tunis V. Conover of Marlboro, his wife Rebecca Crawford Conover, and their three children Hendrick S., Anne B., and William I. Conover. The display has been augmented with a nineteenth century painting of the family residence in Marlboro, and an exceptional pictorial sampler worked in 1824 by Rebecca at the age of twelve.
In earlier eras, the education of women was often limited in scope and acceptability. However, families would many times invest in the instruction of girls and young women in the art of needlework, sometimes enrolling them in schools or hiring instructors to provide what was believed to be a “polite and useful education”. Many of the intricate designs created by women over the centuries have been passed down through generations, sharing stories and glimpses of earlier life
with a million stitches. “Polite and Useful Education: Pictorial Needlework Embroidery” will spotlight works of embroidery from the MCHA permanent collection, many on display to the public for the very first time. Included are a fire screen panel dated 1706, mourning memorials and scenes from the Old and New Testament. A number of the pieces were created by women in Monmouth County including a rendering of Locustwood, a large Middletown residence built in 1830-1832, created in 1985 by a descendant of the first residents.
Both exhibits will be on view through January 2019. Guests will also be able to visit the recently reinstalled Battle of Monmouth gallery. Along with representations of the legendary Molly Pitcher and landmarks associated with the battle including Covenhoven House, Revolutionary era items carried by Monmouth County Colonial soldiers and artifacts recovered from the battlefield have been incorporated into the display.