Current Exhibitions

Now Showing in Our Schoolroom Gallery

Navigating New Jersey: Maps at Macculloch Hall
February 18-June 24, 2018

Including children’s exhibit Finding Your Way

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum’s small but mighty map collection includes over 50 maps and atlases. The majority of these maps are of Morristown, Morris County and New Jersey although the collection also contains a few national and international maps. Navigating New Jersey focuses on the Maccullochs and their descendants featuring maps of New Jersey, Morristown, the property surrounding Macculloch Hall, and George Macculloch’s most prized technical innovation, the Morris Canal.

Early cartography, the art of making maps, was often very difficult. Many map makers were not from the places they mapped and had to rely upon reports and drawings from sea captains and navigators. William Faden (1749-1836), an English cartographer, used the drawings of explorers for his New Jersey maps made in 1777 and 1778.  Many cartographers like Faden never even visited the cities, states or countries that they mapped. The earlier maps sometimes only included the outline of the territory and a selection of images thought to best illustrate the area maps. These various depictions included types of animals that lived there, bodies of water and important buildings. As towns and states evolved in the United States, so did the maps of them.  Gradually over time roads, railroads, highways, and canals, like the Morris Canal, were added to maps among other landmarks. Some of the atlases on display trace the Morris Canal’s route.

The maps of Morris County and Morristown illustrate the county’s and town’s transformation over the years. Streets which did not exist on some of the earlier maps appear in later maps and some streets change names from one generation of maps to the next. The maps and atlases exhibited show the evolution of Morristown’s roads surrounding Macculloch Hall from the last quarter of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century making clear just how central Macculloch Hall has always been to Morristown.


Now Showing in Our Upstairs Gallery

From Flame to Filament: Historic Lighting at Macculloch Hall
May 20-August 29, 2018

Artificial lighting devices served as luxuries from the mid-17th through the mid-19th centuries.  People’s lives revolved around sunlight; the day began with sunrise and ended with sunset.  A lighting device was not lit upon entering a room, as we would turn on an electric light switch today.  On the rare occasions that a lighting device was used in the home, the family would gather around and share the minimal light that was emitted.  These lighting devices such as candlesticks, oil lamps, rush light holders, among others were often expensive, even hazardous, and did not produce sufficient light. There were various types of each of these devices.  As time went on advancements were made to improve upon the current form of lighting.

In addition to those devices that were used to emit light, there were many other objects used to maximize the little light that most of these devices produced.  Water lenses were used in artisans’ shops to magnify the flame, looking glasses (mirrors) were used in the home to reflect the light of the fireplace, and mirrored or metal sconces were used to reflect the light of a candle.  Snuffers, extinguishers, screens, globes and other devices were also among the necessary accessories for candles and lamps.