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Haven’t had enough time to try out that latest Bon Appetit receipe? Tired of eating the same old snacks at home. Put on your apron and let’s get cooking! Why not try one of these recipes from the 1800s?

Homemade butter Recipe

You will need:

  • Heavy Cream
  • A small jar
  • Salt (optional)


  • Fill the jar about half way with the heavy cream (adding salt to taste if you would like)
  • Shake for about 15-20 minutes continuously or until you get a (relatively) solid blob of butter surrounded by butter milk
  • *In warmer weather, the butter may not ever fully separate from the butter milk and you will have something closer in consistency to a butter spread*

Ice Cream Mold, Courtesy of Ocean Grove Historical Society

Ice Cream Recipe

You will need:

  • 1 cup light cream or half and half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup salt (Kosher or rock salt)


  • Measure the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract into the quart-size bag. Zip it up tightly.
  • Fill the gallon-size bag with ice. Add the salt.
  • Put the sealed smaller bag inside. Now zip up the larger bag.
  • Shake and shake the bags to make ice cream! It will take about 10 minutes until the cream hardens.

Take the smaller bag out of the larger one. Eat the ice cream right out of the bag or scoop it into a bowl

Recipe courtesy of Kidstir.com

Mayan Hot Chocolate Recipe

You will need:

  • For best results, use Mexican chocolate (brands include Ibarra, Abuelita, and Morelia, among others). Mexican chocolate is darker than its American counterpart and frequently contains ground almonds or pine nuts and cinnamon.


  • Break 1 tablet of the chocolate and place into a deep pot
  • Add 1 cup water (You can also use milk but water is the more traditional ingredient).
  • Heat the water to boiling, stirring the chocolate until it melts. The result will be somewhat grittier than other chocolate drinks.
  • Add, to taste, cinnamon, a vanilla bean, and a small piece of chili.
  • Using a whisk or electric mixer to whisk the chocolate until a thick froth forms.

Recipe courtesy of the Penn Museum

Play Dough Recipe

You will need:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • A few drops of food coloring (optional)
  • Large bowl
  • Large spoon for mixing
  • Plastic or dull table knife
  • Rolling pin or soup can


  • Measure all ingredients into the bowl and mix thoroughly. Leave the dough to dry for a few minutes.
  • Put down wax paper and sprinkle some flour on it
  • Knead the dough until it’s smooth.
  • Roll out the dough until it is nice and flat
  • Press your cookie cutters into the dough
  • Leave the cutter in place while you use the knife to cut away the dough around the cutter
  • Leave the “cookie” to dry on the wax paper

Courtesy of PBS Kids

Preserving Your play dough “cookies”

You will need:

  • Baking sheet
  • Aluminum foil


  • Set your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and let it preheat for several minutes.
  • Cover the bottom of a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Set the play dough carefully in the middle of the foil covered baking sheet. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven.
  • Allow the play dough to bake for about 10 to 15 minutes. This helps pull the moisture from the dough, making it harden faster.
  • Turn the oven off and do not open the oven door or remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the play dough sit in the oven overnight.
  • Remove the hardened figure from the oven.

Courtesy of www.ehow.com

Old Sturbridge Village Historic Recipes

Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA is the largest outdoor history museum in the Northeast. They depict rural life in 1830s New England. Their historic interpreters have created a series of videos depicting how to create historic recipes.

Have you exhausted Playstation and Monopoly? Here are some games popular in the 1800s. Play these at home using everyday household items or play outside in your backyard!


Mount Clare Museum in Baltimore Maryland has a great resource to create your own Colonial whirligig toy.

Need some coloring sheets for littles? Maybe even some adults who just want to take a break and color? Here are some coloring sheets featuring the trades of METC, James Library Building, design your own stained glass window and more! Snap a picture and share with us on social media @metcnj.

Quilting Square, c. 1800

Teach yourself a new hobby or craft while you practice social distancing. Everything old becomes new again! Hobbies like needlepoint, quilting, and crocheting were just as popular in the 1800s as they are today. Have a virtual quilting bee with your friends via Skype or Facetime and share your creations.




Here is a reading list inspired by our latest Main Gallery exhibit, Surveying the New Jersey Landscape:

Mapping New Jersey: An Evolving Landscape, edited by Maxine N. Lurie and Peter O. Wacker

Geography of New Jersey: The City in the Garden by Charles A. Stansfield Jr.

Spirit of the Garden by Martha Brookes Hutcheson

Plant Communities of New Jersey: A Study in Landscape Diversity by Beryl Robichud Collins and Karl H. Anderson

Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England by William Cronon

Welcome to METC March Madness. 16 objects have been chosen from our collection to be pitted against each other. Vote for your favorites each day on Instagram stories. Only one will be crowned champion! Fill out your bracket and play along with us!

Click here for your METC March Madness Bracket!

Click here to view the full line up of competitors!

Griffins and gargoyles, oh my! METC’s home, the James Library Building is decorated with architectural features like gargoyles and the James Building, home of the Education Annex, was once topped with terracotta griffins. One of the terracotta griffins can be found in METC’s garden. Griffins are mythical creatures that are part eagle and part lion. Images of griffins can be found in ancient sculptures from Egypt and Mesopotamia and were extremely popular in Medieval imagery. Griffins symbolized strength and bravery.

Gargoyles served an architectural purpose as well as a decorative one. Many served as gutter systems that directed water away from the sides of the building. The gargoyles on the James Library building are just decoration.

Enjoy these coloring pages, puzzles, and activities all about griffins and gargoyles!

Take a tour of our new permanent exhibit, Working the Land: Life, Family & Change in Early 1800s New Jersey. Special thanks to Millwork and More and Wing Wong of Memories TTL for this 3-D walk through!