Saturday, September 1, 2018

Morven Museum Redesign Telling Full Stories of Ancestors Opens September 7 in Princeton

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Grand Reopening festivities feature exclusive public viewing of Richard Stockton's Oath of Abjuration & Allegiance & other rare historical documents and programs

Historic Morven: A Window into America’s Past
WHEN: Morven’s Grand Reopening weekend takes place September 7 through 9, from 10:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. each day
Morven, 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, New Jersey

PRINCETON - “With the grand reopening of our newly imagined first floor permanent galleries, more than 200 years of American stories are being told and shared at Morven,” Jill Barry, Morven Museum & Garden’s Executive Director said recently.  “Morven tells a uniquely American story through the people that have walked through its halls.”

Morven Museum & Garden, a National Historic Landmark, was home to many notable Americans including one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Stockton, Robert Wood Johnson, Jr., as well as five New Jersey governors. A museum since 2004, Morven has, until now, focused on the patriarchs who led on the national scene.  

“Looking at America through the lens of Morven, our new exhibition expands our narrative by adding the voices of the many people who lived and worked at Morven, including women, children, generations of enslaved men and women, immigrant servants, and later, employees,” Barry revealed.

Several of the weekend’s highlights revolve around Richard Stockton, the signer, and his legacy:

  • Richard Stockton’s signed Oath of Abjuration & Allegiance, renouncing allegiance to King George III, recently conserved and on public view for the first time and only on loan this weekend.
  • Renowned historian Maxine Lurie, in conversation with Morven’s Curator of Collections & Exhibitions Elizabeth Allan, will discuss Richard Stockton’s actions during the Revolutionary War, in an illustrated talk  Richard Stockton: Turncoat or Patriot? in Morven’s Stockton Education Center at  2:00 p.m. Saturday, September 8; tickets $16 for public; $8 for Friends of Morven.
  • Children’s “Family Crest” take-home craft on September 8 and 9 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each day.

Historic Morven: A Window into America’s Past, as the exhibition is known, chronicles America’s history from the 18th through 20th centuries by telling the stories of those who helped shape it while living, working, and visiting this very special home.  It is the first major reinterpretation of the museum’s permanent history galleries since Morven first opened as a museum in 2004,

“Our research in this endeavor spanned centuries while developing closer ties within our contemporary community,” Barry added.  “We collected oral histories from people who lived and worked at Morven, including Governor Byrne before he passed, to gain first hand information.  We invited community members, notably those from the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, to help us envision the exhibition’s presentation, especially around the topic of slavery.”

Morven’s Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Elizabeth Allan, Registrar Jesse Gordon, museum interns, and volunteers pored over hundreds of years of information, papers and artifacts, to develop the exhibition, learning many new facts to include in the narrative. Isometric Studios of Brooklyn, NY designers of Morven’s award-winning 2015 Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh exhibition, developed and executed the exhibit concept and design. 

Morven’s Tales told both Inside and Out

“In addition to the beautiful new galleries, visitors to Morven this Fall will see a renovated landscape featuring many new plantings, and historic garden displays designed to be enjoyed from both inside, and outside, of Morven.  Horticulturist Pam Ruch and Garden Designer Peter Ham worked over the past year to create this more robust interpretation, melding the garden, historic home, and its grounds to create a more immersive and multifaceted visitor experience” Barry added.

Garden Tours will be held on September 7, 8, and 9 at 11:00  a.m. and 1:00 p.m. led by Morven’s Horticulturists and gardeners. 

For complete details on the weekend’s programs email Curator of Education and Public Programs Debra Lampert-Rudman at or visit

To register for tickets email, or call 609.924.8144 x. 113

Funding for the exhibition provided by Robert N. Wilson and Michele Plante, Liza and Schuyler Morehouse, New Jersey Council for the Humanities, New Jersey Historical Commission, Valerie and Jim McKinney, Ann and Steve West, Ruth and Nick Wilson, Daphne A. Townsend, Richard Lounsbery Foundation, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Jill M. Barry, Carol and Richard Hanson, Eileen and Bob O’Neil, Barbara and J. Richard Pierce, The Thomas & Agnes Carvel Foundation, Holly Pyne Connor & The Helen R. Buck Foundation, and Georgia T. Schley.