Exhibits

Now On View

The Vail Factory and the Telegraph


Discover the Factory Building’s place in telecommunications history as the “Birth Place of the Telegraph.” 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 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 game, work with Samuel F.B. Morse and Alfred Vail to test and demonstrate the telegraph to the public for the first time in January 1838.

This exhibition is on view at Historic Speedwell.

The Speedwell Ironworks: A History of Workers and Work


Learn how, under Ironmaster Stephen Vail’s direction, the Speedwell Ironworks contributed to the advancement of railroads, steam power, and inventions that shape our world today.  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 and industry of ironworking.

This exhibition is on view at Historic Speedwell.

Driving into the 20th Century


From horse-drawn carriages to the Model T Ford, transport yourself to an exhibit that illuminates the changes to transportation that occurred during the turn of the 20th century. Explore, play, and learn about the changing landscape of transportation throughout the 1900s. With colorful murals, antique cars, interactive text panels, and a climb-on Model T truck, this exhibit has something for everyone.

This exhibition is on view at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm.

History of the Black River Gorge


The History of the Black River Gorge sets the stage for a pleasant walk on Patriots Path beginning at the Cooper Gristmill Visitor Center. Colorful panels highlight the natural and industrial history of the Black River Gorge around Cooper Gristmill. Learn about the importance of Milltown, the community that sprang up around the Mill, and the families that lived there. Explore the history of the mining industry, transportation through railroads, old highways, and smaller milling industries.

This exhibition is on view at the Cooper Gristmill.

The Carriage House at Whippany Farm


Whippany Farm, now the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, was once the country home of George Griswold Frelinghuysen, his wife Sara Ballantine Frelinghuysen, and their two children Matilda and Peter. The Frelinghuysen’s commissioned the Boston architectural firm of Rotch & Tilden to construct a summer home and carriage house on the property. Today you can visit the family’s collection of carriages and learn more about Matilda Frelinghuysen and her life in and around Morristown.

This exhibition is on view at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum.

Historic House Museums

The Willows


The Willows preserves an impressive collection of original 19th and early 20th-century artifacts, furniture, and decorative arts from the Revere and Foster families – the only two families to own the home. Built in 1854 for Joseph Warren Revere, grandson of Paul Revere, the house offers a glimpse into life within a Morristown country estate home in the mid-1890s, the height of the Foster family’s time in the home (1881-1979).

In partnership with the Intrepid Museum and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Fosterfields took part in the Sensory Tools for Historic Sites project. The Willows mansion has incorporated several new sensory elements to allow a tactile, hands-on experience within the Gothic Revival mansion, helping bring its striking tromp l’oeil murals and other finishes to life.

Access a virtual 360 tour of The Willows here.

The Vail House


Step back into a time of inspiration, innovation, and the birth of industrial America in the elegant Vail House. Explore the ongoing connections between home and work life through the stories of those who called the Vail House home. Period furnishings and displays illustrate the work and innovation of the people that inhabited its halls and portrays the evidence of their enterprising spirit. Each room will reflect on a different period of ownership, starting with the Kinney Family in 1790 and spanning a century of ownership by the Vail and Lidgerwood families.

Access a virtual 360 tour of Vail House here

Changing Exhibits

Fosterfields Visitor Center Exhibit Hall


All the Places We Go!!

Explore the new exhibit about travel and vacations, All the Places We Go!!, at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm. The transportation improvements of the 19th and 20th centuries, including the steamship, railroad, and automobile shaped the ability to travel to new destinations, making new vacation opportunities more accessible to vacationers. This exhibit examines how vacations become firmly entrenched in “American life” and reflect changing times. The concept of vacations may seem ordinary today, but that was not always the case, and there is a lot we can learn about the past through the study of vacations and vacationers’ habits.

 

L’Hommedieu Exhibit Room


Discover how concepts of beauty were informed by 19th Century innovation and inventions, reflected in fashion, magazines, and even children’s literature. Inventing Beauty captures this time of life-changing breakthroughs and time-saving inventions challenged distinctions between class and gender. Learn how the wealthy used drastic and elaborate fashion styles to separate themselves from everyone else. Influenced by these concepts when it was written in 1812, the Brothers Grimm tale of Snow White considers and cautions as the Queen asks the mirror “who’s the fairest of all.”

Haggerty Art Gallery


The Art Gallery at the Haggerty Education Center features a rotating display of local artists presenting framed original works, available for purchase. The subjects span horticulture, historical preservation, conservation, and local nature. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of artwork benefits the Morris County Park Commission.