Description of the Collection


In 1970, Agnes and Edgar Law Land founded the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts through the donation of their personal collection of hand tools and artifacts of the
Lands

Agnes and Edgar Land

pre-industrial age. This core collection has been supplemented over the years by gifts from many people, and now consists of over 8800 artifacts related to 21 different trades. The intention of the Museum is to preserve and interpret the tools used before the rise of industrialization in the United States.

The METC collection consists primarily of hand tools and the products that were produced by them. Nearly one quarter of the collection consists of tools used in the woodworking trades. Tools for working with metal, leather and textiles, together with artifacts classified as building fragments, account for another quarter. The remainder of the collection covers 26 additional categories.

Our interpretive exhibits are focused on the tools used and trades practiced in New Jersey. We believe that this familiar geographic setting makes it easier for our visitors to relate to the lives of those who lived and worked here over 150 years ago.

Since only a small portion of the collection can be exhibited at one time, serious students of early trades and crafts can call to make arrangements to study items not on display. A portion of the collection is kept in offsite storage, so advance notice may be required to retrieve specific items for study.

           Artifacts on Display                           Most Common Artifacts                
woodworking tools
metalworking tools
other tools
unclassifiable
food processing/serving
science & technology
agricultural & animal husbandry
communication
recreational
distribution & transportation
structures
personal artifacts
furnishings
plane
bit
book
punch
hammer
last, shoe & boot
awl
iron, clothing & fabric
auger
gauge, marking
box
screwdriver
gouge
bolt
chisel
basket
clamp
knife
mallet
wrench
saw


The Digital Photography Project    When the museum collection had to be moved to off-site storage during the 1996-1997 renovation of our building, we had a unique opportunity to photograph the entire collection as the artifacts were returned to their newly refurbished home. A team of volunteers developed a thorough and orderly process for returning the collection from storage, photographing each object, then cataloging and archiving the photographs.

As each object was photographed, the exposure and the artifact's accession number were logged. During processing, each frame was digitized and archived on a PhotoCD. Upon return from processing, compressed digital images were extracted from the high-resolution PhotoCD, entered into the METC master database, and linked into the complete record for each artifact. The original 35mm slides and PhotoCDs are also cataloged and filed so they are available for Museum staff and researchers as needed

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