As a center of cultural, educational, and scientific engagement, the New Jersey State Museum inspires innovation and lifelong learning through collections, research, exhibitions and programs in science, history and art. NJSM engages visitors of all ages and diverse backgrounds in an exploration of New Jersey’s cultural and natural history presented within a global context, fosters state pride, and serves as a cultivator of tomorrow’s leaders.
In 1895, the New Jersey State Legislature formally established the New Jersey State Museum in the capital city of Trenton with a mission to collect and exhibit specimens in natural history, archaeology, and industrial history. Original collections included natural history specimens amassed in the 19th century. Between 1900 and 1912, the State Museum strengthened its archaeology focus by initiating a field research program.
It adopted a statewide Education Extension Service in 1914 that lent models, lantern slides, and specimens to schools throughout the state. In 1929 expanded space in the newly-constructed State House Annex permitted extensive exhibitions of the natural history and New Jersey prehistory collections. Decorative arts became a third collection field at this time when the State Museum expanded its focus beyond industrial history to include the manufacture of ceramics.
The ethnographic collection was initiated in 1932 when the State Museum purchased part of an exhibition of North American Indian art. The collection was strengthened in the 1940s when noted anthropologist Frank Speck made field collections for the State Museum among the Delaware Indians of Oklahoma and Canada.
Exhibitions of these artifacts attracted the interest of New Jersey residents whose donations from private collections built the collection in the ensuing years.Growing interest in education and culture in the late 1950s resulted in the construction of a modern cultural complex near the State House that opened in 1965 and included a four-level Museum building, an adjoining planetarium, and an adjacent auditorium. At that time, fine art became the Museum's fourth collection area.
The State Museum was initially accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 1974. Since 1983 it has been a division of the New Jersey Department of State.
|1895||Museum is founded with Natural History specimens collected since the early 1800s.|
|1912||Archaeology is added as second collection area.|
|1922||Ethnography becomes a partner with Archaeology when Museum purchases North American Indian art.|
|1929||Decorative Arts is added as third collection area.|
|1964||Fine Art becomes fourth area of collecting, and Decorative Arts becomes Cultural History to better reflect collection.|
|1965||Museum moves to new Cultural Complex.|
|1968||Friends of the New Jersey State Museum (501)(c)(3) support group established.|
|1974||Museum is initially accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.|
|1983||Museum becomes a Division of the NJ Department of State.|
The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to announce “Fine Feathered Friends: Birds as Mainstay and Muse,” a new exhibition opening on Saturday, January 4, 2020.
The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to announce “Preserving the Pinelands: Albert Horner’s Portraits of a National Treasure,” a new exhibition opening Saturday, October 12.
Secretary of State Tahesha Way is pleased to announce that the New Jersey State Museum has been granted reaccreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.
The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to present the exhibition, Many Inspired Steps, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to announce the opening of “Jersey Crocs Rule!” on March 2.
The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to announce the opening of the new exhibition “Foundation@50: Celebrating Five Decades of Support” on September 22.
The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to announce the opening of “Objects Count: A Decade of Collecting at the New Jersey State Museum” on October 6.
The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to announce the Nikon “Small World” exhibition is on view through July 15, 2018.
Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno today announced that New Jersey State Museum Executive Director Anthony Gardner will leave state service to take on the role of Vice President of Community Engagement at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
The Trenton Downtown Association is having a festival to celebrate New Jersey’s 350th birthday and the State Museum is joining in the birthday fun. NJ350: A Capital Celebration, a free, family-friendly festival is being held on June 22nd from 11:00am-5:00pm, rain or shine, at the Capitol Complex on West State Street, Trenton.
In keeping with the NJ 350th Anniversary themes of diversity and innovation, a varied slate of programs and exhibits will explore New Jersey innovation and all things science at the New Jersey State Museum’s Super Science Saturday on Saturday, May 3, 2014, 10am to 4pm.
The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to announce the opening of New Jersey on Display, an exciting new exhibition chronicling New Jersey’s involvement in seven world’s fairs held between 1876 and 1964.
The New Jersey State Museum will once again participate in the Blue Star Museum program, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2014.
“As soon as those two halves came together, like puzzle pieces, you knew it,” said Ted Daeschler, PhD , associate curator of vertebrate zoology and vice president for collections at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
The New Jersey State Museum is honored to present the exhibition, “Aljira at 30, Dream and Reality,” in the Museum's first floor East Gallery from March 29 through September 28, 2014.
The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to announce the return of Hadrosaurus foulkii to New Jersey in the new exhibit Drawn To Dinosaurs: Hadrosaurus foulkii opening on Saturday, March 22 in the Museum’s Natural History Hall.
The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to present the New Jersey Artist Series exhibition, “Artists of Roosevelt,” in the Museum’s second floor Riverside Gallery from February 15 through May 25, 2014.
The Friends of the New Jersey State Museum has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to teach area children lessons in spending, sharing and saving while providing parents with resources to reinforce the lessons at home.
Further your education, career, and interests by interning at the New Jersey State Museum!
The State Museum has numerous opportunities for students who want to learn more about their fields of study, gain valuable experience, or to broaden their interests.
Multiple intern opportunities exist throughout the Museum (Archaeology/Ethnography, Cultural History, Education/Planetarium, Fine Art, Natural History, Marketing and Public Relations, and Rentals).
Duties may include working in a bureau’s office, laboratory, collections management, library, or helping with research, exhibitions, education and field work, developing social media.
Recent interns have aided in the cataloging of fossil specimens, served as docents in the Museum’s exhibitions, aided in the preparations for a major exhibition, and helped to develop educational programs, services and curricula. Interns have also worked on projects that were published in scientific journals. Project ideas initiated by the interns will be considered.
Interns work under the supervision of the professional staff. Contact between the student, the academic advisor, and the Museum staff is encouraged.
An interview with the appropriate staff member and approval by the Bureau’s Curator is required.
Interns should be able to work with a high degree of independence, self-motivation, and accuracy. Please note: the NJSM cannot offer paid internships at this time, however, we will work with your educational institution to assist you in gaining credit (where possible) for the internship.
If you are interested in interning at the New Jersey State Museum, or if you would like more information, please contact one of the curators below: