LHS & Marshall Museum 2016 Year in Review

2016 Year in Review 

Lambertville Historical Society / James Wilson Marshall House Museum

Suzanne Gitomer, President, Lambertville Historical Society

The Marshall House Museum was open and staffed from May through October, Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm.  This 1816 facility is maintained solely with LHS funds and all proper documents, bills and tax accounts were filed.  The Museum was also open for extended hours for Shadfest Weekend in April and Winterfest Weekend in January, and by special request.  2016 Museum attendance (counted) was approximately 1270 visitors.

For 2016 the Lambertville Historical Society, a non-profit, had four officers and nine trustees for 13 total voting.  An advisory board (non-voting) had 7 members.  We have a full slate of trustees and officers for the 2017 Board for election at our next Annual Membership Meeting of Jan. 15th, 2017. Paid memberships total approximately 201.  Since many memberships are couples, and some are family memberships, the actual count of total members is about 300 people.

We continue to look at ADA accessibility issues regarding the Marshall House Museum.  Our public lectures, receptions and events are currently held at accessible sites. We have made professional connections for signing interpretation as needed. Studies were initiated for a possible ramp to improve access to the First Floor.

Major work was completed on the Marshall House with the portions of soft brick façade replaced and repointed. Wood window shutters and fence pieces were rebuilt. The building and trim were repainted. West and North foundations were repointed and the landscape adjusted to improve water drainage away from the foundation.  In 2016 we received a generous 1772  Foundation NJ Historical Commission Matching Grant of $15,000 for work on improving the Marshall House building foundation and dealing with these moisture issues. We also acknowledge our 2016 GOS grant of $6,636. from the State of New Jersey, Department of State, Historic Trust, for general operating expenses. Office materials were moved to other storage space and the room was switched to new exhibition space. The entry hall and displays were reconfigured to better serve visitors.

COMMUNITY PROGRAMS and SERVICES:

Our 2016 Annual Membership Meeting on Jan. 17th featured a presentation “New Jersey Quilts in the Context of Quilt History” by Dana Balsamo, featuring pieces from our collection.  Attendance was about 35 people.  Free and accessible.

Guided historical town tours were available 1st Sundays, June through October, and for Shadfest & Winterfest. Several additional custom town tours were given. Five tour leaders participated in the years’ tours. A Children’s Tour was conducted.  For Shadfest, we operated a booth with historical information and games.

On March 12th, 2016, an auction and reception was held at the Rago Arts and Auction Center for the en plein air paintings done live during the 2015 House Tour by about 32 local artists. Proceeds after expenses benefit the Lambertville Historical Society. Approximately 285 people were in attendance.

Our Summer Membership Social and members’ Historical Walking Tour was held in June with about 56 members and guests.

LHS sponsored a 5th Annual Holiday CD with many original songs from musicians of the community.  Community CD-release parties were held at the Elks Lodge and The Birdhouse Center for the Arts. Sales were excellent with proceeds to LHS.

Our 34th Annual Historic Lambertville House Tour on October 16, 2016, included 8 historic homes, the Marshall House Museum, the First Presbyterian Church and the Masonic Building, plus the City Hall mansion and an arts center in a historic barn. Ticket sales were strong at 705 paid. Approximately 140 volunteers and homeowners were involved and also toured. An informative program book with researched house histories was prepared. This event was a financial success with much local news coverage and great participation by local businesses as sponsors and purchasers of tour book ads. 30 regional artists were present at the house sites and painted en plein air. These paintings will be sold with the proceeds to benefit the Lambertville Historical Society at a show and reception on February 11th, 2017, at the Rago Art & Auction Center.

LHS initiated a friendly, web-posted competition for best photos of local scenes to draw interest to historical sites. The series honors John A. Anderson (1829-1917), Lambertville businessman and skilled, early photographer.

 Approximately 60 private requests were made for historical information or images. Topics included:

-multiple inquiries were answered concerning the history and family of James Marshall.

-many requests for information on local homes or businesses and on local families.

-information regarding renovations and original appearance of Holcombe Hall.

-bridge images supplied to an architect of the National Park Service were published in a book on covered bridges.

-information on our dated house plaques and organizational style was shared with fellow organizations.   

-copies of historical photos were selected and contributed to the new Lambertville/River Towns Chamber of Commerce office.

In collaboration with The Project Rooms at the Canal Music Studios in Lambertville, an exhibition was prepared with works of animation artist Simon Allen. He paired his works with historical images he selected from our LHS photo archive.

Work concluded on sorting and cataloging the new Yvonne Warren archives, a collection of 41 boxes of materials donated at the end of 2013.  Yvonne was a noted volunteer, leader and friend of LHS over four decades. The materials provide a rich history of town sites and buildings.  Approximately 160 volunteer hours were contributed for this project. All items were sorted into topic files for easy retrieval.

Significant improvements were also made on the archival database. An improved inventory of the supplemental documents and recent acquisitions was developed.

Seven historic registry plaques were requested from LHS for town residents for their homes; dozens of historical registry sheets on homes were given to requesters.

We continue to be active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and our website features an interactive map, an active calendar and historical and membership information.

For 2016, four editions of the LHS newsletter were published and sent to members and friends with stories of local history, items regarding James Wilson Marshall and news of member events.