Personal Artifacts

trunkbotGovernor’s Chest

This well-weathered chest has a broken lid and remnants of a marbleized paper lining. The chest is held together with hand-made nails. The inscription on the bottom of the chest reads “His Excellency Governor / Jersey / New England / Baggage.” This was no ordinary chest, but one that once belonged to a person of power, a governor no less.  The inscription leads us to believe that the owner was Jonathan Belcher, a governor in New England before becoming governor of New Jersey in 1747. The hand-made nails and lettering of the inscription indicates that this chest was most likely made in the 18th century.

1422openCabinetmaker’s Tool Chest

This cabinetmaker’s tool chest, given to the museum by Mr. Richard Wanmaker, was possibly made by J. M. Ackerman whose initials “JMA” are stamped on the lock plate and the tools that were left in the chest. Along with a beautiful veneer of walnut, the inside of the lid features a rectangle of plain wood, painted to represent fancy grain. This faux finish was a very popular form of interior decoration when the chest was made in the 1840s. These chests were often made during cabinetmakers’ apprenticeships and then later used to carry their personal tools.

Other personal artifacts that can be found in the museum: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, old photographs, tradesmen’s ledgers, letters, letters and other artifacts from the prominent merchant family, Nesbitt-Ralston.

Other Personal Artifacts