TRENTON, NJ - Even though the New Jersey State Museum has been closed for the past four months due to the pandemic, the staff has been working from home to bring Museum experiences to the public. In addition to our regular social media posts, five different digital programs have been created to help people continue to engage with Museum programs and exhibitions. All the programs mentioned below (except the Summer Evening Zoom Series) can be found on the Museum’s website, www.statemuseum.nj.gov, the Facebook (@NJStateMuseum) and Instagram (nj_statemuseum) pages.
The Museum’s newest program, Summer Evening Zoom Series, was introduced July 16. It will be held at 8 pm on July 30, August 13 and 27, and presents conversations between Museum curators and staff on a range of topics , with each program featuring a thematic drink creation, spirited dialogue, and a round of trivia. The sessions are free, but participants must register in order to be sent the private Zoom link. Visit the Museum Facebook page and go to the Events section for the Summer Evening Series registration link.
Curator Nicholas Ciotola and Assistant Curator Dana Ehret wanted to find a way for the public to enjoy their latest exhibition, “Fine Feathered Friends, Birds as Mainstay and Muse.” The exhibition, which opened in January, features a fabulous collection of Boehm porcelain bird sculptures juxtaposed with taxidermy birds from the Natural History collection, original Audubon etchings, and related bird objects. Utilizing images taken before the exhibition opened, they created a virtual exhibit catalogue on Flickr. In addition, Mr. Ciotola has produced a series of 10 short videos that are inspired by objects and birds in the exhibition. The series can be found on the Museum’s website under the Exhibits tab or the Facebook and Instagram pages.
Assistant Curator of Education Diane Watson created the Museum’s Maker Space program, which is normally offered weekly during the summer months and school breaks. Dr. Watson, ably assisted by her children, demonstrates a series of 15 different projects that expand on Museum collections and related topics. The projects mostly utilize commonly found household craft items and recycled materials. The Maker Space programs can accessed from the link on the Museum home page or Facebook or Instagram pages.
The Small Explorers monthly program was likewise taken online with a series of videos by Early Learning Coordinator Kerry Scott. The program is intended for children from 6 month to 5 years old and their caregivers. Each video features a topic inspired by a Museum object or artwork. Some are longer videos meant to simulate the in-person experience, others are shorter story times. The Small Explorers series can be accessed from a link on the Museum home page or on the Facebook page.
Virtual sky talks are also being created by our Planetarium staff. There are five videos discussing various summer constellations and stars, with additional ones being added every two weeks. The sky talks can be accessed from the Museum website or the Facebook or Instagram pages.
The New Jersey State Museum is currently closed due to the pandemic, staff continue working remotely to plan exhibitions and programs, answer research questions and provide identifications of archaeological and natural history specimens for the public. The Museum Shop, operated by the NJ State Museum Foundation, a non-government 501(c)3 organization which supports the Museum, is offering online shopping opportunities for those who miss visiting in person. The online Shop can be accessed from the Shop tab on the Museum website. In addition, work is taking place to ready the Museum for reopening, with reduced capacity, additional cleaning protocols, social distancing and masks required. For additional information, visit www.statemuseum.nj.gov, like the Museum’s Facebook page (@NJStateMuseum), follow us on Twitter (njstatemuseum), or Instagram (nj_statemuseum).
About the New Jersey State Museum
Located at 205 West State Street in Trenton, the New Jersey State Museum encompasses three buildings including a state-of-the-art Planetarium and holds over 2 million artifacts in its collections in Archaeology/Ethnography, Cultural History, Fine Art and Natural History. As a center of cultural, educational and scientific engagement, the Museum inspires innovation and lifelong learning through collections, exhibitions, programs and research in science, history and art. Established in 1895, the New Jersey State Museum fosters state pride, serves as a cultivator of tomorrow’s leaders, and engages visitors of all ages and diverse backgrounds in an exploration of New Jersey’s cultural and natural history presented within a global context.
About the New Jersey State Museum Foundation
The New Jersey State Museum Foundation was founded in 1968 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) to support the Museum's collections, exhibitions and programs through fundraising, volunteerism, advocacy and marketing. In recent years, the Foundation has received generous support from the PNC Foundation, NJM Insurance Group, Department of State/New Jersey Historical Commission, Henry Luce Foundation, Capstone Foundation and Princeton Area Community Foundation. The Foundation also operates the Museum membership program, as well as the Museum Shop which sells merchandise related to the Museum's exhibitions and collections, and New Jersey history and culture. Proceeds support the New Jersey State Museum's collections, exhibitions and programs.