Rainy Day Guide: History Hop
Hop through history as you visit each municipality’s historical museum and discover Cape May County’s rich past!
Avalon History Center
215 39th St., Avalon
(609) 967-0090, www.avalonhistorycenter.org
The Avalon History Center is a local history museum that displays a collection of objects from Avalon’s past. Visitors can view fun and fascinating displays, including a 1925 Avalon Life Boat that they can climb into. The History Center’s collection includes thousands of photographs, objects and ephemera that tell the story of Avalon’s residents, places and events. Programming includes lectures on historical topics, musical performances, events related to rotating exhibits, a monthly “Teatime” during which visitors are encouraged to share stories of the past, and other annual events.
The Colonial House in Cape May
653 ½ Washington St., Cape May
(609) 884-9100, www.capemayhistory.org
The Colonial House Museum, located in the first period Memucan Hughes House, c. 1730, was originally a tavern and the family house of Revolutionary War Patriot Memucan Hughes. The house is an unsung survivor from Cape Island’s very beginning and thought to be one of the oldest surviving houses on Cape Island. The front room features a tavern room. Other rooms depict a colonial era cooking/eating room and bedroom, and a research/exhibit room was added in the 1930s.
Dennis Township Museum & History Center
681 Petersburg Rd., Dennisville
(609) 861-1899, www.dennistwpmuseum.org
The Dennis Township Museum & History Center is housed in the old Dennisville School House in the heart of the Dennisville Village. The museum displays a collection of artifacts, historic documents and memorabilia as well as early photographs of Dennis Township’s eight villages: Belleplain, Clermont, Dennisville, Eldora, Northwest Dennis, Ocean View, South Dennis and South Seaville.
Endicott Reardon Family Museum
3036 S. Shore Rd., Seaville
(609) 624-0600, www.ermuseum.com
Step back in time and see what it was like to live in Ocean View and Sea Isle City back in the 1920s. Come experience the story of the Endicotts and Reardons through their memorabilia collected over the years. This 1920s farm home houses exhibits relating life, work, education, community and leisure activities of the early 20th century. Some extensive collections include toys and dolls, WWII items and a travel section featuring train and cruise trips.
Ocean City Historical Museum
1735 Simpson Ave., Ocean City
(609) 399-1801, www.ocnjmuseum.org
The Ocean City Historical Museum invites the community to explore the rich history of Ocean City with its collection relevant to the city’s heritage, traditions and memories. The museum features exhibits, artifacts, a photo collection, maps, historical documents and a modern research library that includes Genealogy research tools. The museum has two permanent exhibits: the first is “Sea View and Salt Air: A History of Ocean City,” which displays a historical timeline of Ocean City, and the second is shipwreck items from the Sindia, a four-master barque that grounded itself here in 1901.
Sam Azeez Museum of Woobine Heritage
610 Washington Ave., Woodbine
(609) 861-5355, www.thesam.org
The Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine Heritage celebrates the history of the wave of immigration at the end of the 19th century that brought Russian Jewish settlers to the area to be developed as an agricultural colony. Housed in the historical Brotherhood Synagogue, the museum features both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Also included is a community sculpture, the Collective Memory Wall, where the Woodbine community has contributed personal memories of Woodbine. Designated as the Cape May County Teaching Center for the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, the museum provides both onsite and in-classroom programming.
Sea Isle City Historical Museum
4800 Central Ave., Sea Isle City
(609) 263-2992, www.seaislemuseum.com
The Sea Isle City Historical Museum celebrates the unique culture of Sea Isle City. Besides showcasing many exhibits and artifacts, the museum provides an area to sit and conduct research, take notes or simply browse through the many articles, books and photographs. Other highlights include a collection of Sea Isle City residents’ bridal gowns that dates back to 1880, 200 family photo albums, a Memorial Garden, a scavenger hunt for children, and a “Touch ‘N Try” area where military and other uniforms are available to try on for a photo op.
Stone Harbor Museum
9410 Second Ave., Stone Harbor
(609) 368-7500, www.stoneharbormuseum.org
Opened in 1999, the Stone Harbor Museum houses a collection of 50,000 artifacts, displays and videos that bring the past into the present. Highlights include videos of the beach and boardwalk, historic storms, oral interviews with residents and more. Also featured are the Bird Sanctuary and the trains which brought the earliest visitors to Stone Harbor. The Maritime Annex at 235 93rd St. was opened in 2010 and houses memorabilia of sailing in Stone Harbor.
Wildwood George F. Boyer Historical Museum
3907 Pacific Ave., Wildwood
(609) 523-0277, www.wildwoodhistoricalmuseum.com
The Wildwood George F. Boyer Historical Museum reflects the glory days of Wildwood in the 1950s and early 60s when famous entertainers like Bill Haley, Tony Bennett and Chubby Checker appeared in the Wildwoods’ local nightclubs. The museum is named after George F. Boyer, a Wildwood resident who became the city’s first and only official historian. He eventually became the first president of the Wildwood Historical Society, and founded Wildwood’s first historical museum.
For an overview of history in Cape May County, check out the county museum!
Cape May County Museum
504 Rt. 9 N., Cape May Court House
(609) 465-3535, www.cmcmuseum.org
Established in 1927, the Cape May County Museum has been our county’s foremost advocate for the acquisition, preservation and display of local history. Housed in three historic buildings, the museum is a treasure trove of exhibits showcasing county life from Native American times through the 21st century. The 1704 Colonial period home, 1830 Federal period addition, carriage shed and barn offer a fascinating look at how life in the county has evolved. The museum also houses an outstanding genealogical and research library for the serious historian.
Your day of history hopping isn’t just limited to these museums. There are plenty of historical sites, activities and other museums in the area that showcase Cape May County’s unique past and present culture!