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Ocean County Historical Society to open Exhibit Room

Close to 700 artifacts and 100 photographs will be available to view as the Ocean County Historical Society unveils the newly renovated Birdsall Room at the Ocean County Historical Museum.

​The grand opening event is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. on March 7, at the Historical Society, 26 Hadley Ave.

​For close to a year, a team of volunteers has worked with professional graphic artist and exhibit designer Stan Cain to completely overhaul the 950 square foot exhibit space, which had not been updated for many decades.

​“This exhibit renovation is a great opportunity to have a space that can highlight the many historical events that have occurred in Ocean County over the years,” said Ocean County Freeholder Virginia E. Haines. “I encourage everyone to come out and visit the Historical Society and learn about the county’s past.”

​The new exhibit will start with a focus on New Jersey’s first inhabitants, the Lenape, and will include other major areas to address the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World Wars, and the inter-war years in Ocean County, which will include a special emphasis on the famed, tragic Hindenburg disaster that occurred in Lakehurst. There will also be a section dedicated to Lacey Township’s Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, which is the oldest commercial reactor in the United States, and a section on the Jersey Shore.

​There will be close to 700 artifacts and 100 photographs in the newly renovated exhibit. One particularly significant artifact will be an extremely rare turtle shaped decorative soapstone piece, which is believed to have been a symbol of the Unami clan of the New Jersey Lenape. In addition, an oversized Ocean County map will show over 200 places where Native American artifacts were recorded.

​“This has turned out to be an exciting graphic and educational display of the impact of historical events experienced in Ocean County,” said Brian Bovasso who serves as the President of the Society Board of Trustees. “You will be both amazed and educated by the exhibits.

“Special thanks goes to Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station for its donation of beautiful glass display cases and to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly in bringing this renovation to fruition,” Bovasso said. “We know the public will be impressed when they visit.”

​For over 70 years, the all-volunteer Historical Society has been collecting, preserving, and interpreting stories, artifacts and archival resources that celebrate Ocean County’s distinct heritage. The Historical Society’s headquarters is located in the Elizabeth Sculthorp Force House, a Victorian house built in the mid-1800s, that was once the residence of a sea captain and then later of an innovative educator and social reformer. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the State Register of Historic Places, and the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail.

​The Richard L. Stickler Research Center, a contemporary addition to the house, is an extensive storeroom for a library of books, maps and historical and genealogical records that provide students, researchers, genealogists, and history enthusiasts with the essential resources necessary for telling the stores of Ocean County.

​The Elizabeth Sculthorp Force House museum is open for volunteer-led guided tours from 1 to 3 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday and on the first Saturday of each month. Tours are free, but donations are appreciated.

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