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 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
- woodworking tools
- metalworking tools
- other tools
- food processing/serving
- science & technology
- agricultural & animal husbandry
- distribution & transportation
- personal artifacts
Most Common Artifacts
- last, shoe & boot
- iron, clothing & fabric
- gauge, marking