The Orange Trail of the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center is currently experiencing intermittent closures due to JCP&L construction. If you have any concerns, please contact the project hotline at 888-311-4737.

The Orange Trail of the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center is currently experiencing intermittent closures due to JCP&L construction. If you have any concerns, please contact the project hotline at 888-311-4737.

Permanent Exhibits / Rotating Exhibits

Permanent Exhibits:


The Willows

Encounter the elegant and extraordinary as you explore the Gothic Revival mansion, The Willows.  Built in 1854 for Joseph Warren Revere, grandson of Paul Revere, the home later became the residence of Charles and Caroline Foster from 1881 to 1979. As you tour The Willows, you will be greeted by striking tromp l’oeil paintings. Designed to trick the eye, these murals transform your surroundings into an intricate carved wooden ceiling or a bountiful harvest.  The Willows preserves an impressive collection of original nineteenth and early twentieth-century artifacts, furniture, and decorative arts from the Revere and Foster families. This beautifully restored mansion offers a glimpse into life within a Morristown country estate home in the mid-1890s.

Transportation Exhibit

Transport yourself to “Driving into the 20th Century”, an exhibition that illuminates the drastic changes to transportation that occurred during the turn of the 20th century.  This exhibition, in the lower level of the Visitors Center, is a realization of Caroline Foster’s dream to depict the vast changes in transport that had occurred during her lifetime. Colorful photo murals and interactive text panels illustrate the evolution of vehicles from the Fosters’1902 Rockaway carriage to Caroline’s 1922 Model T Ford and beyond.  Explore, play, and learn about the changing landscape of transportation throughout the 1900s.


History of the Black River Gorge at Cooper Mill Visitor Center

Do not miss the exhibit at the Cooper Mill Visitor Center. A wonderful addition to the tour of Cooper Mill, the History of the Black River Gorge sets the stage for a pleasant walk on Patriots Path.  Colorful panels highlight the natural and industrial history of the Black River Gorge around Cooper Mill. Learn about the importance of Milltown, the community which sprang up around the Cooper Mill, and the families that lived there. Explore the history of the mining industry, transportation through railroads, old highways and smaller industries such as the Woolen Mill. Included in the exhibit are artifacts discovered along the bridge farther down on Patriots Path.


Haggerty Education Center Carriage House

Experience the magnificent display of George and Sarah Ballantine Frelinghuysen’s collection of the Brewster & Company carriages in the original Frelinghuysen Carriage House. This exhibit offers a glimpse into the past, when horse drawn carriages were the main method of transportation.  These five beautiful carriages, which date from 1895-1908, are displayed alongside pictures showing the vehicles in use by the family on the estate. Matilda and Peter, the children of Sara and George Frelinghuysen, were also avid horse riders and their original riding gear, and monogrammed riding tack can be found on display in the Carriage House as well. This exhibit was developed with support from the Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum and the Garden Club of Morristown.


The Vail Factory and the Telegraph

Discover the Factory Building’s place in telecommunications history, as the “Birth Place of the Telegraph.” Floor to ceiling exhibit panels and nearly 30 interactives allow visitors of all ages to explore, engage, and enjoy as they learn about the mechanics of the telegraph, the struggle to make the machine a success, and its influence on modern communication. Through an animated video game, work with Samuel F.B. Morse and Alfred Vail to test and demonstrate the telegraph to the public for the first time on January of 1838.  The exhibit incorporates original telegraph artifacts, touchscreen games, interactive activities, and historic photographs to tell the story of a pivotal moment in American history.

The Speedwell Ironworks: A History of Workers and Work

Enjoy the exciting story of innovation, exploration and experimentation that took place at the Speedwell Ironworks throughout the nineteenth-century.  Metal exhibitory, industrial artifacts and immense wooden casting patterns paint the picture of a thrilling time in early industrial America.  Floor to ceiling diagrams illustrate the casting process and portray the dangerous art of ironworking.  Learn how under the direction of Ironmaster Stephen Vail, the Speedwell Ironworks made an important contribution to the advance of railroads and steam-power industries.  Don’t miss this impressive exhibit that tells the stories of an industrial complex which today remains only through its ruins and stories preserved at Historic Speedwell.

Vail House

Step back into a time of inspiration, innovation, and the birth of industry in the elegant Vail House, home of Stephen Vail. The home’s furnishings capture the history of the homestead of Stephen Vail and his family from 1844 to 1864.  Originally built in 1790, the house was remodeled by Stephen and provides a glimpse into his creative endeavors and use of cutting edge industrial technology. Through the original Vail furnishings, the home illustrates Stephen’s entrepreneurial spirit by portraying the evidence of his constant tinkering. The seasonally rotating displays and thematic exhibits illuminate history, culture, industry, science and art of the 19th century so people of all ages can participate in a timeless experience.

Rotating Exhibits:

Check back soon to learn about our upcoming Temporary Exhibits.