Glassboro museum dedicated to state’s history to close

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Museums provide a window into our history. They house a wealth of knowledge ranging from the history its artifacts hold, to the stories their staff can present to the public. For students, they are great resources that can be used to research or to provide backgrounds on certain topics.

Glassboro has been very fortunate to have three museums in town, all within close proximity to each other and to Rowan University. Inside Rowan’s Campbell Library sits The RCA Heritage Program Museum. In Downtown Glassboro, there are two museums within blocks of each other on High Street. One is the Heritage Glass Museum and the other is the South Jersey Museum of American History.

However, by the end of this month, Glassboro will lose one of its historic offerings. The South Jersey Museum of American History will be closing its doors to the public on Oct. 31.

“The borough decided they wanted to use the building for another purpose,” said Jeffrey Norcross, Curator and Archaeologist of the museum. “Our contract was such they could terminate at any time, and they did.”

In response to Norcross’ comments, borough representative Lavon Philips said about the museum’s closing: “we do have another use for the building, however we tried to coordinate other options [for the museum] as in the Glassboro library or a location in Woodbury. We held several meetings, however the museum decided against them.”

The South Jersey Museum of American History was established in 1993, and in 1996 it opened its first location in Berlin, New Jersey. Around 10 years later, the museum moved from Berlin to its current location in Glassboro.

In total, the museum claims to have over 100,000 items, displaying around 4,000 at a given time. The exhibits inside are based on elements of New Jersey’s history, including pre-Colombian, political, the Pine Barrens, farmsteads, antique tools and equipment, glass-making and the Colonial era.

Within the community, the museum has been an important fixture for Rowan students. The museum has hired students as interns for years in order to provide them with experience for their future careers. Currently, two such interns are working with the museum. Although it is set to close at the end of October, the museum will continue to provide work for its interns for the remainder of the fall semester.

On possible uses of the building after the museum’s departure, Norcross stated that “the fire company wants to use it to house men.”

According to Philips, “[the building] could potentially be offices for our police department, or the Boys and Girls Club of America.” 

Norcross added that while Glassboro was like a home for the museum, it will have to persevere and find a new location like it had in the past.

The South Jersey Museum of American History is located at 123 East High St. Exhibits will continue to be on display until the museum’s doors close for good at the end of the month.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I am sorry to read this. I am the chairman of the Mantua Township Historical Commission, and would like to know if there is anything that we can do to help. Is there contact information that can be shared. Thank you.

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