Exhibits at METC


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Narrative Threads:
New Jersey Quilts and Textiles

September 25, 2018 – June 9, 2019

For centuries, people in New Jersey have been producing a stunning variety of textiles. From quilts to woven coverlets and clothing, textiles are often both decorative and practical, revealing a maker’s artistry while also serving vital functions for a family. Whether in front of the loom, around the hearth, or at church, friends and neighbors passed along traditions of community and technique through generations. They often worked with a freedom unknown in other parts of their lives.

Narrative Threads: New Jersey Quilts and Textiles showcases historic textiles from the collection of the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts. The exhibit also features pieces made by contemporary New Jersey textile artists who draw inspiration from the past, while continuing to forge an exciting new future for the craft.


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Are We There Yet? Stories of Travel by Stagecoach and Steam

March 9, 2018 – September 7, 2018

Travel connects people to each other. Today we take for granted the cars, trains, and planes we use to commute to work, visit family, and journey to exotic places. Americans living in the nineteenth century witnessed explosive growth in transportation networks–from stagecoach routes to railroads–that made connection to others easier than ever before.

Are We There Yet? Stories of Travel by Stagecoach and Steam examines this era of expansion, featuring personal accounts of the rigors of travel in 19th century New Jersey along with a brief look at how these transportation networks were built, including the surveyors’ compasses, railroaders’ equipment and other tools that helped connect these early travelers with their world.

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We take artificial light for granted in our modern world. Our homes, offices, classrooms, and even our cell phones provide us with almost instantaneous light. But there was a time when creating safe, affordable, and easily accessible light was a dangerous and dirty business.

SPARK! The Explosive and Dirty History of Light illuminates the 18th and 19th century experience with light and tells the story of the dirty and sometimes explosive fuels that created that light. It also explores the early electrical experiments that eventually led us to the safe and clean lighting of the 21st century.





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How far is the distance from farm to table? Most families in early New Jersey could measure it in inches. These farming families did not make their living “by bread alone.” They relied not only on wheat and corn, but also on bees, cows, apples, and vegetables to support themselves and their communities.

The Garden State: Living off the Land in Early New Jersey explores the odd assortment of tools, from bee smokers to cradle scythes, that farmers in 18th and 19th century New Jersey utilized in order to survive. The exhibit also features a new generation of Garden State farmers who are working to make the distance from farm to table a little bit shorter for today’s families.

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