Museums and Historical Sites

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Hancock House

Hancock HouseA great place to start your exploration is the Salem County Historical Society Museum in Salem where you will find interpretive exhibits, period furnishings, decorative arts, textiles, Wistarburg glass, guided tours of historic buildings, and much more. You can also learn about the history of Jewish settlement in southern New Jersey in the late 1800s at the Alliance Heritage Center in Pittsgrove. The Center features a collection of historic homes and synagogues housing a number of interesting exhibits and artifacts. In addition to being a significant example of 18th century pattern brick architecture, The Hancock House in Hancock’s Bridge was the sight of a massacre of American patriots during the Revolutionary War. Today, it remains an active museum interpreting that infamous event, as well as lifestyles of 18th and 19th century Salem.
Finns Point Lighthouse

Finns Point LighthouseIf a relaxing day in the country and a glimpse into the homes of an earlier era are what you are looking for, Colonial, Federal, and Victorian architecture abounds in Salem County. See a variety of historic buildings and private residences listed on the National Register of Historic Places which date to the early 1700s and are unique to Salem County. One building of particular importance is the Old Salem County Courthouse in Salem City. John Fenwick laid out the first Courthouse lot himself in the 1690s, and the first part of the present brick structure was built in 1735, using brick made right here in Salem County. Other sites of interest include the Finns Point Lighthouse which was erected in 1875 to help vessels transition from the Delaware Bay into the Delaware River. It was constructed in Buffalo, New York and transported to Pennsville by trains and mule wagons. Or take a sidewalk tour of 12 architecturally significant houses located in the Woodstown Historic District, the earliest of which dates to the 1750s.
Fort Mott

Fort MottNo visit to Salem County would be complete without a trip to the Fort Mott State Park in Pennsville. The Fort was constructed in 1896 to protect industries and shipping along the Delaware River in anticipation of war with Spain. Start at the Welcome Center and then take a walking tour through the Fort’s old gun batteries following interpretive signs with detailed descriptions. When you are finished, catch the Three Forts Ferry (Memorial Day thru Labor Day) to Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island whose 32-foot tall, 30-foot thick granite walls held a total of 33,000 troops, officers, and political prisoners during the Civil War. Not far from Fort Mott is the Finns Point National Cemetery, a Civil War era burial ground for both Union and Confederate soldiers who served, or were imprisoned at Fort Delaware.

The Salem County Cultural Resources Guide offers an interactive listing of arts and history organizations in the County.

Salem County Museums and Historic Sites

Alliance Heritage CenterAlliance Heritage Center
973 Gershal Ave.
Alliance, NJ 08318
(856) 696-4445

A project of the Jewish Historical Society of Rural Southern New Jersey, the Center preserves and promotes the legacy of Jewish immigrants from Russia who established agricultural colonies in Salem, Cumberland, and Gloucester counties in the late 19th century. The site includes synagogues, an historic home and Holocaust memorial. Currently under development, the Center is open by appointment.

Alloway Municipal BuildingAlloway History Museum
Alloway Municipal Building
49 South Greenwich St.
Alloway, NJ 08001
856-935-4080

The museum focuses on the people and history of Alloway Township which dates to 1767. Special features include a diorama of Alloway Village as it appeared in the late 19th century. Open the 1st Saturday of the month, 9 am – 12 noon, and
by appointment.

Fort Mott State ParkFort Mott State Park
454 Fort Mott Rd.
Pennsville, NJ 08070
(856) 935-3218

The Fort was part of a coastal defense system designed for the Delaware River in the 1880s. The fortifications seen today at Fort Mott were erected between 1896 and 1900. Today, after visiting the Welcome Center, visitors can wander through the batteries following interpretive signs with detailed descriptions of the Fort. Just beyond the fortifications are spectacular views of the Delaware River. The shoreline offers good spots for walking, fishing and picnicking and the Park presents educational and enjoyable family-focused programs. In season enjoy a boating excursion on the Three Forts Ferry to Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island. Open daily, 8 am – dusk

Finn's Point CemeteryFinns Point National Cemetery
Ft. Mott Rd
Pennsville, NJ 08070
(609) 877-5460 or 880-0827

Entirely surrounded by Kilcohook National Wildlife Refuge, this picturesque cemetery is noted as the burial site of Confederate prisoners of war and Union soldiers stationed at Fort Delaware who died at the Fort during the Civil War. The Union Monument was installed in 1879; the Confederate Monumnet in 1910. The cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Finn's point rear range lighthouseFinns Point Rear Range Lighthouse
Fort Mott Rd. and Lighthouse Rd.
Pennsville, NJ 08070
(609) 463-0994

Constructed in Buffalo, NY, Finns Point Lighthouse was transported to Pennsville by trains and mule wagons. The Lighthouse was erected in 1875 as a navigational aide on the Delaware River and Bay. While the tower is open only occasionally for visitors, interpretive signage is available on-site. The site is maintained as part of Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Hancock HouseHancock House State Historic Site
3 Front Street
Hancock’s Bridge, NJ 08038
(856) 935-4373

The only 18th century patterned brick end manor house open to the public in the region, this handsome home was the site of a brutal massacre during the American Revolution. Interpretive staff share this tale of heroism and tragedy, as well as invite visitors to experience life in colonial times. The site includes a Swedish Cedar Plank Cabin where hearth cooking demonstrations take place. While in Hancock’s Bridge, take a short drive along Alloways Creek on Poplar Street to see two additional brick manor houses (private). This was the route taken by the Loyalist troops on the morning of the massacre. Open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 am – 12 noon & 1-4 pm; Sunday 1-4 pm (call to confirm hours)

Alloways Creek Friends Meeting HouseAlloways Creek Friends Meetinghouse
Buttonwood St.
Hancock’s Bridge, NJ 08038
(856) 935-4373

Founded in 1679, Alloways Creek was the third Friends Meeting established in West Jersey. The present meetinghouse was built in 1756and enlarged in 1784 on land deeded by William Hancock. This well-preserved building is maintained as an historic site by Salem Quarterly Meeting. Open by appointment by contacting Hancock House State Historic Site.

Historical Society of Penns GroveHistorical Society of Penns Grove, Carneys Point, and Oldmans
48 W. Main St.
Penns Grove, NJ 08069
(856) 299-1556

The museum offers a glimpse into the history of Upper Penns Neck, which encompassed the present-day communities of Penns Grove, Carneys Point and Oldmans. Changing exhibits feature local and family history and help visitors imagine the area’s storied past, when Penns Grove was the “Caviar Capital of the World” and the DuPont Company reigned supreme. Open Sunday, 1-3 pm, March-December.

Johan Printz Log CabinJohan Printz Park Log Cabin
Market St.
Salem, NJ 08079
(856) 678-5511

Open for special events and reenactments.
Located near the Fenwick Creek Bridge, this unusual log structure is a typical Swedish/Finnish log cabin of the 17th century. It was built in 1988 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of New Sweden Colony.

Lower Alloways Creek Historic Log Cabin MuseumLower Alloways Creek Historic Log Cabin Museum
736 Smick Rd.
Canton, NJ 08001
(856) 935-1549

Situated in a beautiful rural setting, the Log Cabin is retored in the same manner as the local Quakers lived in the 1700s. The site houses a barn full of antique farm implements as well as many items used in the local industries of Lower Alloways Creek. Salem County’s maritime history is documented in a unique floating cabin which is complimented with a colleciton of fishing and trapping memorabilia. The site also features an outhouse, carriage shed and the last canning house that was left in the Township and moved to this site. Open 3rd Sunday, March-May, September-November, 1-4 pm

New Sweden Heritage MonumentNew Sweden Heritage Monument
Riverview Beach Park
90 N. Broadway
Pennsville, NJ 08070

Dedicated in 2004, this massive granite monument commemorates the Swedish and Finnish settlers who established the New Sweden Colony along the Delaware River in 1638.

1722 Abel & Mary Nicholson House1722 Abel & Mary Nicholson House
127 Ft. Elfsborg Road
Elsinboro, Twp., NJ 08079

This historic brick mansion is Salem County’s only National Historic Landmark. Located down a .6 mile lane, the house is believed to be the best preserved patterned-brick structure in New Jersey and perhaps the United States. At the time of its construction, bricks with glazed (vitrified) ends were laid in a decorative fashion to form patterns and the date of construction. The Nicholson House is decorated on all four sides with a date in the east gable. The house was enlarged in 1839 with a brick addition on the western end. The house is maintained by the Salem Old House Foundation. Visitors are welcome to walk the rural lane back to admire the exterior. Interior open by appointment

Old Pittsgrove Presbyterian ChurchOld Pittsgrove Presbyterian Church and Pittsgrove Log College
Daretown Rd.
Daretown, NJ 08318
(856) 358-1104

Built in 1767, Old Pittsgrove Presbyterian Church is a beautiful example of Georgian architecture surrounded by an historic burial ground. Also on the grounds is a reconstruction of the Log College, a building used as a school to train young men for the ministry in the 18th century. Open for special events and by appointment

Photo by Diane Reichert

Pennsville Historical SocietyPennsville Township Historical Society, Church Landing Farm
86 Church Landing Rd.
Pennsville, NJ 08070
(856) 678-4453

Located on the Delaware River, the museum features a Victorian farmhouse and exhibits on Riverview Beach Park and the area’s maritime heritage.

Pilesgrove-Woodstown Historical SocietyPilesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society
42 N. Main St.
Woodstown, NJ 08098
856-769-4588

The 18th century Dickinson House contains artifacts and exhibits from that period and later focusing on the history of Woodstown and Pilesgrove Township. Collections include books and other materials that trace the history of area families. The one-room Eldridge’s Hill School House, which was moved to its present location behind the Dickinson House, is restored to its original appearance. Open Saturday, 10 am – 1 pm.

PSEG Energy & Environmental Resource Center
244 Chestnut St.
Salem, NJ 08079
(856) 339-3372

PSEG presents an exciting new learning center focused on building a greater understanding of energy, environmental challenges and strategies for balancing energy demand with environmental stewardship. Tours arranged by appointment.

Ranch Hope Carriage MuseumRanch Hope Carriage Museum
45 Sawmill Rd.
Alloway, NJ 08001
(856) 935-1555

Some of the most elegant carriages in South Jersey are displayed at the Ranch Hope Carriage Museum. You are invited to come and see this collection donated by Lavan G. Lippincott in memory of his wife, Grace Budd Lippincott. The Ranch Hope collection includes a carriage outfitted with a speaking tube used to communicate with the driver whose riding seat is flanked by two kerosene lanterns. All carriages have been beautifully restored. Every visitor admires the craftsmanship of the 1700s, 1800s and early 1900s. Featured carriages have plush interiors, fringed surreys and even some horse-drawn carts for general hauling that once served as early “pickup trucks.” There is also an assortment of sleighs. Related artifacts are also placed about the museum. Open by appointment, weekdays 8:30 am – 4:30 pm; groups welcome.

Salem City Fire MuseumSalem City Fire Museum
166 East Broadway
Salem, NJ 08079
(856) 362-1550

Salem City is home to the oldest entirely volunteer fire company in New Jersey, founded in 1749. The Museum is housed in Union Fire Company’s second firehouse, built in 1863, which has been restored to its original appearance. The Museum features a collection of historic firefighting equipment including Union’s antique pumper and other fire service artifacts. Open for special events and by appointment.

Salem County Historical MuseumSalem County Historical Society Museum
79-83 Market St.
Salem, NJ 08079
(856) 935-5004

The Museum offers interpretive exhibits focusing on the history and culture of Salem County. You will find period furnishings, decorative arts, textiles, wistarburg glass, guided tours of historic buildings including the Alexander Grant House, Stone Barn, Log Cabin Education Center, and Jones Law Office. The Society’s library contains extensive materials for genealogical and historical research. It maintains historic books, manuscripts, documents, scrapbooks, photographs, and a microfilm library of old newspapers from throughout the county. You will also find a complete file of the Historic American Buildings Survey of Salem County architecture, as well as an oral and pictorial history collection. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 12 noon – 4 pm.

Salem Oak treeSalem Oak
Friends Burial Ground
West Broadway opposite Oak St.
Salem, NJ 08079
(856) 935-3381

The Salem Oak – New Jersey’s most famous tree – is estimated to be more than 500 years old. Local tradition maintains that Salem’s Quaker founder, John Fenwick, first met with the native Lenni Lenape Indians under these branches upon his arrival in 1675 to establish peaceful relations and negotiate land rights. The surrounding burial ground contains the graves of many of the first Quaker colonists and their descendents, as well as that of Esther “Hetty” Saunders, noted early 19th century African-American poet. Her gravesite is included on the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail and a Trail Marker is located along the sidewalk near the tree. As a safety precaution, visitors are prohibited from walking underneath the tree’s massive branches.

Smith Burial GroundSmith Burial Ground
Jericho Rd.
Quinton, NJ 08072
(856) 935-7510 x 8532

A historic marker notes the location of Capt. William Smith’s Farm, where American militiamen killed at the Battle of Quinton’s Bridge, March 18, 1778. The burial ground is located at the end of a tree-lined grassy lane and features a commemorative memorial and graves largely marked by simple fieldstones.