What is so great about NJ, I am finding, is that like NYC, it has a lot of different neighborhoods, each with its own personality. Traveling into a different neighborhood can make for a nice list of varied experiences and opportunities to explore.
This weekend, we headed over to Morristown, known in history mainly for its strong military role in the war of independence from Britain. It has a larger downtown area with plenty of shops, bars, and eateries. Two main points of interest are the Mayo Performing Arts Center in the center of town and the Morristown National Historical Park, a historical site visitors can explore.
We were visiting the area to check out the Morris Museum, formerly known as the Morristown Children’s Museum, which has a variety of exhibits, some of which have been on display since 1913. It is New Jersey’s third largest museum and the only one with a professional theater often hosting events and performances year round.
It has quite an eclectic collection too, from fine art, to a geology and paleontology collection, to children’s toys from the 19th century.
We were there to check out the Trains and Railroad exhibit, which was nice and we enjoyed, especially on the lower level where the larger station was set up and the kids could watch the trains moving in and out of tunnels and press buttons to light up houses and open and close doors in the small village.
But I would have to say that what we enjoyed the most, and where we spent most of our time, was at the “Guinness Collection: Instruments and Automata” traveling exhibit. Through a series of videos and interactive displays, we were learned about the origin of the automatic musical instruments, such as music boxes and other items that were symbols of luxury and true works of art centuries ago.
There are plenty of opportunities for the children to take in the exhibits in a way that encourages participation and learning, and it made for a nice, lazy afternoon learning from one of New Jersey’s top cultural institutions.
Admission is $10 per adult/$7 per child. For more information please visit their site at http://www.morrismuseum.org/.