Celebrate the Shore at Jersey’s Local Museums

By Catherine Galioto ~

These are the places you live, work and play, but there is history to them, too. Exploring your local museum can shine a light on that in ways you never imagined. Let’s check out where these gems are and how to best enjoy them, whether for a weekend afternoon or a special event.

Historic Allaire Village — The many acres features a beloved campus of trails at the state park, but the museum shows the history of an  iron-producing, factory-town known as the Howell Iron Works, complete with preserved buildings and living history displays courtesy trained volunteers, docents and historians. And there’s special events aplenty. Some are not particularly based around history — such as the large flea markets and food events — but there’s also ones such as an annual birthday party for James Allaire or Civil War encampments for example. Or, just swing by the historic general store for provisions such as freshly baked bread. There’s plenty to do! And the railroad museum — with the New Jersey Museum of Transportation and Pine Creek Railroad — on the grounds offers even more of a treat. Visit http://allairevillage.org/ and http://www.njmt.org/

InfoAge — This is a pretty impressive place in Wall Township. From the first messages from Marconi, to WWII radar, the site also known as Camp Evans is home to where a lot of this history happened. But as a museum, it also features exhibits on much of that technology too, and how it shaped the world. Camp Evans was once the 1914 Marconi Belmar Trans-Atlantic Wireless station, opened world-wide wireless communications, played an important role in W.W.I trans-Atlantic communications, and so much more. Visit the campus, which houses many nonprofits, including The InfoAge Science History Learning Center and Museum and Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Visit https://infoage.org/

Sea Girt Light House — This historic, unique lighthouse has been guarding the shore for more than a century. In addition to seeing how it operated and how the lighthouse keeper lived, this is also a history of Sea Girt. Or, see some rare artifacts from the Morro Castle disaster — the cruise ship that burned offshore in 1934, prompting a heroic rescue, and disaster tourism. Tours are free; donations appreciated. Guided tours of Sea Girt Lighthouse are conducted Sundays 2-4 p.m. through November 18, except holiday weekends. Visit http://www.seagirtlighthouse.com/

Belmar Historical Society — Housed 900 E Street, Belmar, in the Annex of the Union Fire House, this treasure features memorabilia from Belmar’s history, but the group also puts on some interesting events around town. This year, look for ones feature WWI history with doughboy history. Visit https://www.belmarhistoricalsociety.org/

Bay Head Historical Society Museum — Also known as the Loveland Homestead, this site features an 1867 homestead and 1925 cottage. Named for the prominent family that helped develop much of what would become Bay Head, the Loveland Homestead is now transformed into a history of that town, featuring exhibits showing the heyday but also the natural history and sailing history of Bay Head. Be sure to roam the property to see the gardens and other corners of history thoughtfully maintained throughout. Hours are Friday & Saturday, 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Visit http://www.bayheadhistoricalsociety.com.

Silverball Museum — Not many museums allow you to get this hands-on with their exhibits. At Silverball on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, play for hours on pinball machines that represent a sizeable chunk of arcade history. Whether you want to enjoy Elvira or see how difficult the early pinball machines are to play, Silverball is a great arcade, but it’s also a museum. Each machine has thoughtful history that details the mechanics and art that went into developing pinball wizards throughout the years. Visit http://silverballmuseum.com/asbury-park/


Did we miss your favorite museum on the Jersey Shore? Write us with your faves!


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