Past Exhibitions

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.

From the Waist Up

Bodices Vests & Jackets, 1840-1920

April 3, 2022-January 29, 2023

Featuring nearly 100 never-before-seen bodices, vests, jackets, and shirtwaists from within MCHS’s extensive costume collection, this exhibit also included hundreds of accessories from hats to hair pieces, watches, fans, purses, and jewelry that completed a look. Presented in two phases: spring/summer and fall/winter fashions.

A Storied Past

History That Made Morris County

March 29, 2021-February 13, 2022

To celebrate MCHS’s 75th anniversary, explore the 300 years of history  preserved within our archives and collections as the objects, documents, and photographs on display weave together a fascinating story of life in the county from 17th-century Dutch settlement to military service in the Vietnam War.

Cut from Different Cloth:

Material Gains in Women's Opportunities, 1870-1930

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.

Up in Smoke:

Northern NJ's Worst Man Made Disasters, 1910-1989

October 2019-March 2020

Join Morris County Historical Society as we feature some of the worst man-made disasters northern NJ has ever witnessed, including catastrophic explosions to national legislation-changing fires. Up In Smoke includes events still considered the worst in US history, as well as others that spurred significant and sweeping changes in workplace and first responder safety. Since first responders don’t stop at county lines, Up In Smoke highlights six disasters from Morris County and seven from contiguous counties.

Through this exhibit, which opened during Fire Prevention Week, 2019, MCHS honors our first responders who continue to keep us safe and answer the call each and every day.

Iconic Culture:

From Little Black Dress to Bell Bottoms

September 9, 2018-July 14, 2019

From the timeless designs of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel to the trend-setting bell bottoms of Sonny and Cher, Iconic Culture explores more than 50 years of cultural history through a retrospective featuring nearly 125 pieces from MCHS’s textile collection. Tours will illustrate how changes in clothing styles mirrored the social climate of the time and the seminal moments that defined the decade.

In addition to the fashions, Iconic Culture will highlight cultural milestones in local, state, and national history that coincided with the Roaring 20s, Great Depression, World War II, Civil Rights Movement, and Vietnam Era.

This multimedia exhibit features music, television shows, and radio broadcasts. Visitors will also have an opportunity to share personal recollections about significant events, such as the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King or the success of the Apollo Mission.