Morris County Historical Society’s recently completed $1.5 million Exterior Restoration of Acorn Hall illustrates our commitment to the preservation and promotion of Morris County’s rich history. The Society operates Acorn Hall as a historic house museum, produces exhibitions on local history, and provides public programming on Morris County history.
The Morristown Sewing School:
Students, Teachers & Their Shared Community
February 12 – Mid-May 2023
This little-known and little-recorded facet of Morris County history was run on a volunteer basis by some of the most prominent women in Morristown throughout the 1880s. On Saturdays mornings, the school taught local young girls, most the daughters of tradesmen, practical sewing skills from darning to hemming. However, despite over 500 students attending between November 1879 and May 1889, little documentation on the school exists. What is known comes predominantly from two years of research based on the 45 teachers books donated to MCHS in 2018. Fortuitously, the books are a gold mine of information and with their assistance, the 47 known students and their 60 teachers were traced via the census and other records, providing fascinating insight into two very distinct strata of Morristown society.
From the Waist Up:
Bodices, Vests & Jackets, 1840-1920
April 3, 2022-January 29, 2023
This exhibit features nearly 50 never-before-seen bodices, vests, jackets, and shirtwaists (1840-1920) from skillfully handmade garments to those crafted by renowned European fashion houses. Presented in two phases, Spring/Summer styles on display through early August. Fall/Winter fashions will be highlighted beginning in September 2022.
Women frequently kept several bodices to match a particular skirt, such as a casual bodice for daytime and formal bodice for evening. Skirts also often received much more wear, and as pieces were handed down the generations, the bodice alone was preserved. Special-occasion attire for men such as silk vests and military dress uniforms were also often left comparatively untouched by the passage of time.
Alongside these remarkable fashions, From the Waist Up, will highlight a wide assortment of accessories from within MCHS’s collection including hats, hair pieces, watches, cufflinks, fans, purses, and jewelry that were all necessary to complete a look.
A Storied Past:
History That Made Morris County
March 29, 2021-February 13, 2022
2021 is a landmark year for MCHS, representing both the 75th anniversary of our incorporation and the 50th anniversary of Mary Crane Hone’s donation of Acorn Hall. To celebrate these milestones, A Storied Past will highlight Morris County’s vibrant history as told through the remarkable objects and images preserved within our collections and archives.
Cut from Different Cloth:
Material Gains in Women's Opportunities:
September 2020-January 2021
Between 1870 and 1930 a radical shift in women’s employment was spurred by developments in education, industrialization, and new technologies. In continuation of our celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the second phase of MCHS’s women’s exhibit, Cut from Different Cloth, explores these decades when women first entered the workforce en masse and carved out their own niches in it.
Cut from Different Cloth:
The Art of Women’s Handwork, 1865-1925
To honor the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 2020, MCHS presents the exhibition series Cut from Different Cloth exploring various facets of women’s history. The first exhibition, The Art of Women’s Handwork, 1865-1925, delves into the evolution of women’s role as a home-based, family clothier with the advent and availability of the sewing machine. From seamstresses to piece workers, garment maker, and factory workers, occupations open to women during the Industrial Revolution often revolved around the needle, and machine sewing changed both the nature and perception of handwork.
These trailblazing female craftswomen brought both changes in the workforce, and legislation that guided their professions. Tragedies such as the fires at Wolf Muslin Undergarment Factory and Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, as well as the radium poisoning at Radium Luminous Materials Corp., poignantly illustrate how women workers shaped workplace safety in their increasingly modern manufacturing world.
Plan Your Visit
MCHS Office: Mon-Fri 8am-4pm
Acorn Hall Museum: Sun 1pm-4pm
Tues., Wed. & Thurs. 11am-4pm
Become an Intern
The Morris County Historical Society hosts a volunteer internship program for high school and college students.
Become a Volunteer
The programs and activities of the Morris County Historical Society would not be possible without the time and talents of our volunteers.
Become a Member
Membership to the Society is available in a variety of categories from student memberships to lifetime memberships.
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New & Events
by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections June 6, 2023 When noted local artist Edward Kranich moved to Morristown, he was likely following in the footsteps of his brother-in-law twice over, […]
by Noël Grabow, Collections Assistant May 30, 2023 Top photo: Replica drape (left) and historic drape (right) in Acorn Hall’s front parlor. As stewards of one of the most remarkable […]
by Amy Curry, Executive Director May 23, 2023 When Augustus Crane purchased the house and property that became Acorn Hall and his gentleman’s farm in 1857, he no doubt was […]