SHOWCASE

Past Exhibitions

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.

Morris County Through the Lens of Time:

A Photographic Journey by Xiomáro

July 9, 2023 – January 7, 2024

From the iconic to the little-known, Morris County is brimming with historic sites that spark the imagination. In this landmark exhibit, nationally acclaimed photographer Xiomáro captures eight of the county’s historic sites from new, exciting angles: “With my camera, I can compose a deeper view and understanding of these sites that cannot be seen in a tour or fully appreciated in a history book.” Through the never-before-seen works on display – shot especially for this exhibit – the artist explores the beauty to be found in the mundane and the poignant traces left behind by generations past. Artifacts generously provided by each site’s stewards will complement the powerful images as a tangible connection to the diverse histories reflected in Xiomáro’s lens.

Participating organizations:
Morris County Historical Society at Acorn Hall
National Park Service at Morristown National Historical Park
Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation, Denville
Canal Society of New Jersey
The Friends Meeting House and Cemetery Association, Randolph
Mount Tabor Historical Society
Orchard Street Cemetery Gatehouse Historical Association, Dover

Funding for this exhibit generously provided by MorrisArts.

The Morristown Sewing School:

Students, Teachers & Their Shared Community

February 12-July 2, 2023

This little-known and little-recorded facet of Morris County history was operated on a volunteer basis by some of the most prominent women in Morristown throughout the 1880s. On Saturday 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 teacher’s books donated to MCHS in 2018. Fortuitously, the books are gold mine of information and with their assistance, the 487 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.

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

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

2020

To honor the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, 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.