Exhibitions

In addition to the works permanently on display, new exhibitions drawn from the Museum's Thomas Nast Collection, Historic Archives, and fine and decorative arts collections are organized annually. 

Current Exhibitions

Living, Learning, Working, Serving: The Women of Macculloch Hall

March 1, 2020-August 2, 2021

portrait of Mrs. Macculloch

Portrait of Louisa Macculloch, circa 1840

On August 26, 1920, the U.S. officially adopted the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Loving, Learning, Working, Serving commemorates this centennial anniversary by celebrating the Macculloch/Miller women who combined a dedication to family with a commitment to charity, community and ultimately, women’s suffrage.

Loving, Learning, Working, Serving explores the lives and works of Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863), Mary Louisa Macculloch Miller (1804-1888), Alice Duer Miller (1874-1942), Dorothea Miller Post (1878-1947) and Charlotte Miller Bowler (1880-1942) as well as the enslaved women and female servants who lived and worked at Macculloch Hall.

The letters, documents, photographs, and objects on display record these women’s lives as they raised families, founded organizations, played music, wrote literature, and supported the political and civic organizations of their day through social activism. These materials reflect the everyday details that give us a bridge to the past and bring the previous generations to life.


All the Creatures Were Stirring, Even the Mouse! Thomas Nast's Furry Christmas

November 1, 2020-January 30, 2021

Thomas Nast (1840-1902) illustrated the figure of Santa Claus and Christmas images throughout his career. Nast was inspired by the famous poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas, popularly known as 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822. Nast included many elements from Moore’s poem in his illustrations.

Through a selection of the artist’s work, this exhibition explores how Nast developed the image of Santa Claus as a jolly, round-bellied, white-bearded, gnome-like figure that immediately captured the imagination of both children and adults throughout the United States when first published and that continues to delight audiences to this day.

Children's Exhibition
Upcoming Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions

Franchise, Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Engraving, Harper’s Weekly, August 5, 1865

February 2-July 5, 2020

Columbia, the allegorical figure of the United States of America, was a powerful image that Thomas Nast (1840-1902) used in his political cartoons published in Harper’s Weekly. Columbia represented the ideals of democracy, equality, and moral justice in the United States. She was interpreted as a protector of the country and its national ideals.

Nast created political cartoons featuring Columbia more than 120 times for Harper’s Weekly from the early 1860s through the mid-1880s. Though the figure of Columbia existed before Nast began to draw her, he popularized the symbol just as he did with the Democratic Donkey, the Republican Elephant, Uncle Sam, and Santa Claus.

As the images on display demonstrate, Nast depicted Columbia as the champion of the American Ideal or as a figure injured by an assault on the nation’s moral ideologies. Nast never depicted Columbia as silly or as part of a joke as he would sometimes illustrate Uncle Sam. While Uncle Sam also symbolized the United States, he represented the everyman with all his attendant strengths and faults. Columbia, however, was the protector of the nation’s ideals and not a figure ever to be taken lightly.

Birdcage Vase (one of a pair), Meissen Porcelain Manufactory,
Germany, Hard-paste porcelain,
c. 1730

October 13, 2019-February 9, 2020

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum’s founder W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976) was a discerning collector of porcelain. He collected porcelain made in China, England, France, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands. Some of the objects he acquired, like the Meissen Birdcage vases dating to 1730, are very rare. He also collected porcelain that celebrated United States Presidential history.

Todd purchased very fine work in porcelain. His collecting was generously augmented by the gifts of rose medallion by Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Fletcher in the 1970s, the Blue and White Chinese Export given by Philip Keeler in the 1990s, and most recently by Blue and White Chinese Export donated by Rev. Canon James Elliott Lindsley. MHHM’s collection not only offers insight into Todd’s tastes, but mirrors larger collections found at other larger museums like the Peabody Essex in Salem, MA, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and galleries in the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. We’re very lucky to have such a collection so close to home.

February-September 2019

The Navy has played a significant role in the Macculloch family’s history.

A grandson of George and Louisa Macculloch, Henry William Miller (1836-1904), a graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1853, served on the USS Mohican at the battle of Port Royal and participated in the blockade of Charleston, South Carolina during the Civil War. He resigned from the Navy in 1866 with the rank of lieutenant commander.

Henry’s younger brother, Jacob William Miller (1847-1918), graduated the Naval Academy in 1867. As a lieutenant, he was sent to Nicaragua to explore a possible canal route, and in 1877 he served on the USS Vandalia where he was assigned to escort President Grant and his wife on their tour of the Mediterranean. He later helped found the New York State Naval Reserve and became its commodore.

After purchasing Macculloch Hall in 1949, W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976) added many items related to the Navy to its collection. This interest may have sparked by the memory of his uncle, Henry Davis Todd (1838-1907), who graduated the Naval Academy with Henry William Miller and served with him on the USS Minnesota during its cruise to China.

This naval tradition is part of Morristown’s history. In a speech given by Jacob William Miller at Macculloch Hall for the first meeting of the Admiral Radford Section of the Navy League in 1906, he declared that “if a circle of less than one mile were described around the place we are now sitting, it would embrace the homes, or former residences, of over 40 naval offices who have lived among us.”

Can the Law Reach Him?- The Dwarf and the Giant Thief
Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Engraving, Harper’s Weekly,
January 6, 1872

July 15, 2018-January 2019

Includes children’s exhibition, To Catch a Thief.

Thomas Nast (1840-1902) carried out a relentless campaign against the corruption of the Tammany Ring of New York beginning in 1871. Nast focused on William Magear Tweed (1823-1878), boss of New York City’s Tammany Hall, who had worked his way up from ward politician to become the top power broker in the city and state of New York. As head of the city’s Commission of Public Works, Boss Tweed handed out lucrative contracts to his cronies who then “kicked back” money to the Ring. Tweed defrauded the City of New York of millions dollars from 1865-1871, emptied the treasury and added millions of dollars to the public debt. Appointing his Tammany Hall associates to key public offices, Tweed kept his fraudulent activities quiet… for a time.

Nast was barely 30 years old when he learned of the Tammany Ring’s activities. The young, idealistic cartoonist attacked the corruption through vivid caricatures of Boss Tweed and members of the Ring. Nast’s cartoons enraged Tweed. Most of his constituents could not read the damning published reports, but they could see “them damn pictures!”

In 1873, the New-York Times reported that Tweed’s cronies tried to bribe Nast to stop him from publishing, offering him money to “go to Europe for three years for his health”. Nast laughingly turned down the offer, but the very real threats resulted in Nast’s move to Macculloch Avenue in Morristown to insure his family’s safety. Ultimately all the members of the Ring were tried, but Tweed escaped to Cuba and Spain, where he was recognized because of a Nast cartoon. Tweed was extradited to the United States and imprisoned. He died in the Ludlow Street Jail in New York City in 1878.

February 18-June 24, 2018

Including children’s exhibit Finding Your Way

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum’s small but mighty map collection includes over 50 maps and atlases. The majority of these maps are of Morristown, Morris County and New Jersey although the collection also contains a few national and international maps. Navigating New Jersey focuses on the Maccullochs and their descendants featuring maps of New Jersey, Morristown, the property surrounding Macculloch Hall, and George Macculloch’s most prized technical innovation, the Morris Canal.

Early cartography, the art of making maps, was often very difficult. Many map makers were not from the places they mapped and had to rely upon reports and drawings from sea captains and navigators. William Faden (1749-1836), an English cartographer, used the drawings of explorers for his New Jersey maps made in 1777 and 1778. Many cartographers like Faden never even visited the cities, states or countries that they mapped. The earlier maps sometimes only included the outline of the territory and a selection of images thought to best illustrate the area maps. These various depictions included types of animals that lived there, bodies of water and important buildings. As towns and states evolved in the United States, so did the maps of them. Gradually over time roads, railroads, highways, and canals, like the Morris Canal, were added to maps among other landmarks. Some of the atlases on display trace the Morris Canal’s route.

The maps of Morris County and Morristown illustrate the county’s and town’s transformation over the years. Streets which did not exist on some of the earlier maps appear in later maps and some streets change names from one generation of maps to the next. The maps and atlases exhibited show the evolution of Morristown’s roads surrounding Macculloch Hall from the last quarter of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century making clear just how central Macculloch Hall has always been to Morristown.

Portrait of George Washington, Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), American,
Oil on Canvas, circa1795

September 17, 2017-January 28, 2018

Dorothy “Dolley” Payne Todd Madison (1768-1849) was the great-great-aunt, by marriage, of Macculloch Hall Historical Museum’s founder, W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976). Although this relationship seems rather stretched, Todd was proud of his link to early United States history, which reinforced his personal ideas of patriotism. Todd’s presidential memorabilia collection reflects his heroes among the traditional “founding fathers” of Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. These artifacts add a sense of glamour and vitality to his Museum as the First Lady herself had once touched the nation’s capital.

The exhibition also anticipates the interest of children in history, and includes a special children’s component titled Eating & Working in the President’s House. Through interactive displays, children learn about the day-to-day lives of famous presidents and their families.

May 14-August 27, 2017

George Macculloch, a Scotsman born in Bombay, emigrated from London to America with his wife and two children in 1806. Settling in Morristown in 1810, Macculloch built a Federal-style brick mansion on a 26-acre gentleman’s farm. A businessman, scholar, and visionary, Macculloch is best known as the “father” of the Morris Canal, an international engineering marvel. Generations of the Macculloch family influenced education, economics, politics and cultural events of their day.

The “Old House,” as it was known to Macculloch’s descendants, was acquired by Morristown philanthropist W. Parsons Todd in 1949 to house his collections.

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, The Death of Qasim, Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Watercolor,
circa1866

February 16- May 25, 2017

One Thousand and One Nights or the Arabian Nights has captivated audiences since antiquity. Set in exotic locations throughout the Middle East and South Asia these exciting folk tales, deeply rooted in oral tradition, were compiled into Arabic from the eighth through the thirteenth centuries. By the eighteenth century, the Arabian Nights were entertaining western audiences through various translations in French (1704-1717) and English (1706).

Though over time stories were added and omitted, the frame story or organizing principle remained the same: over 1,001 nights Scheherazade told a story to her husband, King Shahryar. Scheherazade either did not finish the night’s story or began a new story stopping midway to pick it up the next evening in order to hold the king’s attention and ultimately to save her life.

Interest in The Arabian Nights continued through the nineteenth century. Thomas Nast painted the series of watercolors on display for an edition that was never published. Nast was a prolific Book illustrator whose work appeared in more than 125 books on topics ranging from politics and the military to children’s and Christmas books, among others.

This exhibition features the 16 watercolors Nast created for the Arabian Nights together with a selection of books enriched by Nast’s illustrations and includes a special children’s section

Side Chair (one of a pair), England
Mahogany, upholstered in Utrecht velvet, ca. 1765

September 18, 2016-February 5, 2017

Like many collectors at the time, W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976) delighted in objects made in China and Japan and those created in Europe inspired by Asian design during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This exhibition traced the popularity among early twentieth century collectors for decorative objects made in or inspired by the East through a selection of carpets and porcelain in the Museum’s collection. Objects displayed included the fine antique carpets woven in China, the Rose Medallion china made in China for export to the West, a pair of monumental Satsuma Vases urns made in Japan, and a pair of monumental vases created in an Asian style in Dresden, Germany.

May 15-September 1, 2016

This exhibition traced the history of the gardens established at 45 Macculloch Ave. George Macculloch (1775-1858) was an avid gardener who cultivated his 26 acres to feed his family and as a form of creative expression. Credited with growing the first New Jersey tomato, Macculloch kept a detailed journal and notes on successes and failures. Through photographs, design plans and journals, this exhibition traced the history of the gardens from the nineteenth-century kitchen garden and farm, to the Victorian and early-twentieth century gardens favored by later generations of the Miller Family. The exhibition focused particularly on the history of the mid-twentieth-century design created at the bequest of W. Parsons Todd by the Garden Club of Morristown.

Star Ushak Carpet, Late 16th- early 17th century, Western Anatolia, Turkey, Wool

Through May 1, 2016

This exhibition featured 17 carpets, rarely on display, from the Museum’s collection, with a selection of books and photographs that informed serious collectors during the first half of the twentieth century. W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976), founder of Macculloch Hall, was an esteemed carpet collector who had an eye for fine rugs. Todd was an early member and served as an officer of the Hajji Baba Club, a group of collectors and scholars dedicated to the study of fine textiles. During the course of his collecting, Todd amassed a library of fine books including, Oriental Carpets, a portfolio of photographs published in 1891 by the Imperial Royal Austrian Commercial Museum, Vienna, Austria, dedicated to antique carpet connoisseurship. Beautiful in their own right, these books and photographs are invaluable for the information they offer into patterns of collecting early in the twentieth century.

Antique Carpets Through the Eyes of W. Parsons Todd was made possible, in part, by the generous support of J&S Designer Flooring, Morristown, NJ.

This exhibition was supported, in part, by the F.M. Kirby Foundation. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is a nonprofit educational affiliate of the W. Parsons Todd Foundation and received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the New Jersey Department of State.

Christmas Fancies-“Don’t you wish you wore stockings?,” Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Artist’s Proof, Harper’s Weekly, December 24, 1881

December 4, 2019-January 12, 2020

Thomas Nast (1840-1902) illustrated the figure of Santa Claus and Christmas images throughout his career. Nast was inspired by the famous poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas, popularly known as Twas The Night Before Christmas, written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822. Nast included many elements from Moore’s poem in his illustrations. Through a selection of the artist’s work, this exhibition explores how Nast developed the image of Santa Claus as a jolly, round-bellied, white-bearded, gnome-like figure that immediately captured the imagination of both children and adults throughout the United States when first published and that continue to delight audiences to this day.

August 4-November 3, 2019

2020 marks the 160th anniversary of Thomas Nast’s coverage of Giuseppe Garibaldi’s military campaign to bring Sicily under Italian rule. Embedded with Garibaldi’s army of “Redshirts” was 19-year-old Thomas Nast (1840-1902), sent to Italy in 1860 to cover Garibaldi’s exploits.

Working as a reporting artist for The Illustrated London News and the New-York Illustrated News, Nast gained invaluable experience as a battlefield correspondent in Sicily. Applying his formal artistic training from the National Academy of Design, Nast created dynamic illustrations that brought to life Garibaldi’s fight to liberate and unify Sicily and the southern Italian sates.

Nast’s battlefield reporting abroad would serve him well upon his return to the United States. Harper’s Weekly appointed the artist a Civil War reporter in 1861. The sketches Nast created of Garibaldi’s campaign prepared him for the challenge of visually recording Civil War battles. Nast’s successful Civil War coverage ultimately led national acclaim.

The Lightning Speed of Honesty, Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Engraving
Harper’s Weekly, November 24, 1877

February-July 2019

Thomas Nast (1840-1902) is credited with popularizing the image of Uncle Sam. Decades before James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960) created the “I Want You” image of Uncle Sam for United States Army recruiting posters in 1917, Nast had drawn this iconic symbol of the United States more than 160 times for Harper’s Weekly.

Like his Democratic Donkey and Republican Elephant, Nast’s Uncle Sam is adapted from earlier examples. In the late eighteenth and through the nineteenth centuries, Americans identified with “everyman” characters known as Brother Jonathan and Yankee Doodle. Brother Jonathan was depicted typically as portly and wearing a brown homespun suit, while Yankee Doodle wore stars and stripes.

During the War of 1812, government supplies marked “U.S.” were nicknamed Uncle Sam. Sam Wilson, a meatpacker from Troy, New York known locally as “Uncle Sam,” sold beef to the Army. Wilson’s supplies were also stamped “U.S.,” which is how, according to popular legend, he became the original Uncle Sam. There is evidence, however, that Uncle Sam “lived” before Wilson. In a journal at the U.S.S Constitution Museum in Charlestown, Massachusetts, Uncle Sam is mention in an entry dating to 1810, two years before Wilson began selling his wares to the Army.

Nast portrayed Uncle Sam as a tall, gaunt Lincolnesque figure with a wispy beard, top hat, striped trousers and boots. Occasionally, Nast’s image of Uncle Sam was used to convey a negative aspect of government.

Merry Old Santa Claus, Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Proof, Harper’s Weekly, January 1, 1881

November 2018-January 24, 2018

Though famous for his political cartoons, Thomas Nast (1840-1902) was most proud of the popularized image of Santa Claus that he created. In 1863, Nast published his first image of Santa Claus in Harper’s Weekly and he drew the jolly old elf for the publication almost every Christmas season for more than 20 years. Nast continued to create images of Santa for other publications and for his family throughout his lifetime. Some of his images of Santa were political cartoons while others were festive and celebratory seasonal images of the jolly old elf. Sometimes Nast drew Santa as small and elf-like, while at other times the artist drew the grand figure that we know and love today.

Nast was inspired by the famous poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas, more popularly known as Twas The Night Before Christmas, written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822. Elements from Moore’s poem are illustrated in many of Nast’s Christmas drawings. Nast’s image of Santa Claus as a jolly, round-bellied, white-bearded, gnome-like figure immediately captured the imagination of both children and adults throughout the United States and eventually the world and they continue to delight audiences to this day.

A brass wall sconce witha decorative shell plaque that hangs on the wall. Two curved candlestick arms protrude from it.

Two-Light Georgian Shell Sconce, c. 1730,
Brass, English

May 20-August 29, 2018

Artificial lighting devices served as luxuries from the mid-17th through the mid-19th centuries. People’s lives revolved around sunlight; the day began with sunrise and ended with sunset. A lighting device was not lit upon entering a room, as we would turn on an electric light switch today. On the rare occasions that a lighting device was used in the home, the family would gather around and share the minimal light that was emitted. These lighting devices such as candlesticks, oil lamps, rush light holders, among others were often expensive, even hazardous, and did not produce sufficient light. There were various types of each of these devices. As time went on advancements were made to improve upon the current form of lighting.

In addition to those devices that were used to emit light, there were many other objects used to maximize the little light that most of these devices produced. Water lenses were used in artisans’ shops to magnify the flame, looking glasses (mirrors) were used in the home to reflect the light of the fireplace, and mirrored or metal sconces were used to reflect the light of a candle. Snuffers, extinguishers, screens, globes and other devices were also among the necessary accessories for candles and lamps.

Photograph, Alice Duer Miller and her son Denning, circa1905

February 11-May 6, 2018

In 1810, George Perrot Macculloch and his wife Louisa purchased 25 acres of land in rural Morristown and began construction of a large Federal-style brick home which became known as Macculloch Hall. Five generations of the Macculloch, Miller, and Post families lived there continuously until the death of George and Louisa’s great granddaughter in 1947. The “Old House” was purchased b W. Parsons Todd and became a museum in 1950.

This Macculloch/Miller/Post family included canal builders, explorers, educators, poets, musicians, architects, writers, a bank president, a mayor, U.S. Senator, Naval Commodore, and two Civil War heroes. Besides being accomplished in their own right, they had wide ranging contacts with the rich and famous. Among this group can be found Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, U.S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Edward Everett, Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, Stanford White, the Astors, the Vanderbilts, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and the Whitneys.

Through the prism of this most remarkable family’s letters, photographs and artifacts, one may view the seminal events of the 19th and 20th centuries such as the building of the Morris Canal, Lafayette’s visit, Whigs vs. Jacksonians, the Mexican War, slavery, Manifest Destiny, the Civil War, New York Draft Riots, Nicaragua canal exploration, the Gilded Age, Women Suffrage, and two World Wars.

The Christmas Station
(Santa Claus Stop Here Please), Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Engraving,
Harper’s Young People, December 22, 1885

December 2, 2017-January 14, 2018

Thomas Nast (1840-1902) enjoyed drawing Santa Claus and Christmas images throughout his career. He often drew the rooftops and chimneys of the homes Santa Claus would visit. Many of the rooftops and church spires seen in the images were the ones Nast was most familiar with, the ones he saw everyday here in Morristown, New Jersey.

While Thomas Nast was primarily a political cartoonist, he was most proud of his popularized image of Santa Claus that he drew for the children of the world. Nast’s Christmas drawings gave him the opportunity to devote his talent to subjects very close to his heart, children and family. In his holiday drawings, the artist intimately conveyed the traditions, customs and tales of the magic and spirit of Christmas.

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum’s recent preservation of the house’s four antique chimneys this past summer inspired this exhibit of Thomas Nast’s Christmas images. In them Nast depicts Santa Claus flying by and on rooftops, going down chimneys to deliver presents to good girls and boys and illustrates Santa emerging from fireplaces to fill stockings hung by the fireplace with care. It is possible that Nast copied some of the chimneys in these images from the chimneys here at Macculloch Hall, since the artist and his family lived across the street from 1872 through 1902. For the last half of his life Nast could look out of his window at Macculloch Hall.

King Andy I, Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Engraving, Harper’s Weekly, November 3, 1866

October 1-November 12, 2017

February 24, 2018 will mark the 150th anniversary of the impeachment proceedings for President Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) by the United States House of Representatives. Johnson removed Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton from office, without the permission of Congress, thus breaking the Tenure of Office Act. This was the last straw for the radical republicans who were opposed to the President’s plans for Reconstruction. Johnson himself narrowly escaped being removed from office. In May of 1868 the Senate was a single vote shy of reaching the two-thirds majority needed for a conviction, allowing Johnson to finish his term in office.

Johnson had become President in April of 1865 after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Johnson, a Democrat, was Lincoln’s choice for vice president when he ran for re-election in 1864. Johnson, a “war democrat”, was chosen over Hannibal Hamlin, Lincoln’s vice president during his first term.

Though Thomas Nast was a strong Lincoln supporter, the artist was no fan of Johnson. Nast’s political cartoons of Johnson, savagely caricaturing him during this time, mark the beginning of artist’s career as a political cartoonist. The images on display are drawn for the first time in the artist’s signature caricature style.

Button, Woman’s Land Army of America, 1918

(February 5-May 1, 2017) Extended through May 25!

Inspired by the British “Land Girls”, the Woman’s Land Army (WLA) was a civilian organization created during World War I to ensure that the country had an adequate food supply. Over 20,000 women in 42 states were recruited to work on farms to replace male workers who went to war. The WLA primarily consisted of college students, teachers, secretaries, and those with seasonal jobs or occupations which allowed summer vacation. These “farmerettes” were paid equally with male farm laborers and had an eight-hour workday. The WLA did not receive government funding or assistance. Instead, it functioned with the help of non-profit organizations, universities, and colleges.

Dorothea Miller Post (1878-1947), great granddaughter of George and Louisa Macculloch, became chair of the Morris County unit of the WLA. In addition under her direction, the Garden Club of Morristown, provided moral and financial support with each member contributing five dollars to the WLA.

The work done by women of the WLA was described by a Morristown Garden Club member… “The girls who worked in the Land Army were many who knew nothing about country or farm work, but they did very good work…taking care of chickens, milking cows, and pitching hay.” Like “Rosie the Riveter” a generation later, the Land Army “farmerette” of 1917 became a wartime icon.

This exhibition features a selection of letters, ephemera, photographs from the collection of Macculloch Hall Historical Museum’s archives detailing Dorothea Miller Post’s work with the WLA and a selection of graphics made from photographs in the collection of The Morristown and Morris Township Free Public Library.

December 1, 2016-January 29, 2017

Christmas at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum

“Keep Cool!” Ten Days After The Election, Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Engraving, Harper’s Weekly, December 2, 1876

September 22-November 20, 2016

The 1876 Presidential Election was certainly one for the history books. Hard fought by Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes and Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden, the winner was not decided upon until days before the inauguration in early March of 1877 because of election irregularities in four states. Nast, who supported Hayes, participated wholeheartedly in this particular election controversy. The exhibition presented the controversy and its outcome through the vivid illustrations Nast created to keep the American public informed.

 

Left: Sketches of Our National Game — Base Ball, Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Pencil on Paper, 1893
Right: Humors of the Great National Game,
Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Engraving, Once a Week: An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper, July 15, 1893

June-September 18, 2016

This in-depth analysis explores how Thomas Nast (1840-1902) planned and created two of his complex illustrations: Who Goes There?-A Friend, an engraving published in Harper’s Weekly on August 27, 1870; and the considerably more lighthearted Humors of the Great National Game, an engraving published in Once a Week: An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper on July 15, 1893. The finished works were displayed together with preparatory sketches and drawings made by Nast.

Sheridan’s Ride, Thomas Buchanan Read (1822-1872), American, circa 1869, Oil on Canvas

February 22-June 12, 2016

General Philip H. Sheridan’s determination to secure a Union victory at the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley on October 19, 1864 was well known during the second half of the nineteenth century. Relatively short in stature, General Sheridan (1831-1888) became larger than life through popular accounts of his heroic exploits during battle astride his stallion, Rienzi. As one account reported, “On he rode, his famous warhorse covered with foam and dirt, cheered at every stop by men in whom new courage was now kindled.” The subject of “Sheridan’s Ride” became immensely popular in art and illustration.

The Battle of Cedar Creek was decisive for the Union Army. General William Tecumseh Sherman had taken Atlanta on September 2, 1864. Sheridan’s victory in the Shenandoah Valley a month later helped solidify the Union’s hold over the South and propelled President Abraham Lincoln to re-election.

Capitalizing on the sensation of Sheridan’s victory in the popular press, poet and artist Thomas Buchanan Read (1822-1872) penned Sheridan’s Ride. Often read at political rallies, this poem and innumerable images of “Sheridan’s Ride” were used by the Republican Party to inspire patriotic sentiment. Read’s stirring poetry and his famous equestrian painting of General Sheridan spurred artists like Thomas Nast (1840-1902) and James E. Kelly (1855-1933) to create inspired images of this Union Civil War hero.

W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976), the founder of Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, was deeply interested in American History. Todd focused much of his collecting on historically significant artifacts, like the works on display.

A Gallant Color-Bearer, Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Engraving, Harper’s Weekly, September 20, 1862

Before radio, TV, or the internet, there were the images Thomas Nast (1840-1902). Nast illustrated battles, Union and Confederate troop movements, and their activities throughout the Civil War. He also captured the poignancy of those back home, who worried about family members in combat. Nast’s illustrations were the primary source of information about the war for many people. Published in magazines like Harper’s Weekly, his work brought what was happening on the front into the homes of the American public, much the way mass media does today. Mounted to commemorate the final year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial (2011-2015), this exhibition was on view through December 23, 2015.

Past Children's Exhibitions

October 13, 2019-February 9, 2020

Porcelain was one considered so valuable that it was called white gold. When Italian explorer, Marco Polo traveled and lived in China from 1271-1295, he saw porcelain for the first time. He brought porcelain back to Europe. Everyone marveled at it, but no one knew the secret of how to make it.

For hundreds of years, Europeans continued to buy porcelain from China. By the early 1700s, Europeans had discovered the secret and made porcelain for themselves. We think porcelain was first made in Germany and then in France, England and the Netherlands. Manufacturers collected raw materials, built kilns and created various types of porcelain like the objects on display in this gallery.

Each object in this exhibition has been on a journey since it was first made. Like the products we buy today, most have traveled a great distance to reach us. Some parts of an object’s journey we know about while some parts remain a mystery.

Consider the journey an object has made and how many people have handled it along the way:  the makers, the transporters, the traders, the buyers and the collectors.  hey are all part of an object’s story.

It was not just a journey from land to land for these objects, but also from hand to hand.

On view with W. Parsons Todd’s Collection of Ceramics and other Elegant Breakables.

February-September 2019

In this very room over 130 years ago, Henry W. Miller gathered with fellow Civil War veterans to share wartime experiences.  Within these walls, at these meetings, there were celebrations, times of consolation, and most likely some tears.  We probably will never know all the reasons why brothers Henry and Jacob W. Miller made the decision to serve their country by joining the United States Navy, but because they did, they brought honor to their family and became eyewitnesses to remarkable moments in American history.

On view in conjunction with Anchors Aweigh: Macculloch Hall and U.S. Naval History.

July 15, 2018-January 2019

Boss Tweed was a thief with power, money and connections. He controlled the police, the courts, local and state government and most of the city’s newspapers. How could you stop a thief that had that much control? Thomas Nast would probably have said “one image at a time”.  Nast’s carefully constructed cartoons in Harper’s Weekly:

  • Posed questions to the public
  • Followed the “paper trail” to gather evidence
  • Pointed out suspects and identified their methods
  • Asked for help to end the corruption

The New-York Times ended up joining forces with Harper’s Weekly to stop the unstoppable Boss Tweed. Rejecting bribery, ignoring threats and suffering consequences these organizations took the brunt of the fight but also benefited by selling more newspapers.

With the 1871 election, Boss Tweed’s fall began and included three trials, two prison terms, one escape, one year on the run and ended with his death in Ludlow Street Jail in 1878.

On view with Bringing Down Boss Tweed: Thomas Nast Takes on Tweed and Tammany Hall.

February 18-June 24, 2018

How much time do you spend on the road—in a car, on a bicycle, on a bus or train? How does the weather or the season influence how far you will travel?

200 years ago George Macculloch contemplated similar questions about travel time, influence of weather, safety, and cost concerning transportation. He was witness to two simultaneous revolutions—a revolution in transportation and revolution in industry.

Building for the new nation’s future required land surveys, mapmaking, and construction of roads, canals and railways which were all achieved using the most basic tools of the nineteenth century.  

On view with Navigating New Jersey: Maps at Macculloch Hall.

September 17, 2017-January 28, 2018

While neither the oldest nor the grandest house in America, for over 200 years the White House has been the residence where the President of the United States lives and works. On November 1, 1800 the second president, John Adams, became the first president to call the White House home. George Washington, while never a resident of the White House, was instrumental in its design. He selected the architect, James Hoban, and made design recommendations.

Although a home and workplace, the White House also welcomes thousands of guests every month from dignitaries and representatives from other nations to everyday American citizens.

In this exhibition, we examined the Presidential seal, the menus and dinner preparations for historic state dinners hosted at the White House, and explore the lives of four White House residents who made decisions that changed the course of American history.

And yes, the White House has always been white but it only became known officially as the White House in 1903. Until then it was known as the President’s House or the Executive Mansion.

On view with Presidential History: W. Parsons Todd Collects Washington, Lincoln, and More!

May 14-August 27, 2017

Buildings are places made for and by people. By their design, buildings reveal the technologies and popular tastes of a specific time. They are structures also defined by their purpose, environment and budget. As technology improves design changes. Architects and builders constantly study new ways of fighting gravity and the forces of tension and compression.

Come explore past architectural styles to see how building materials and technologies have changed. Enjoy testing structures you design and discover how people today build on the past!

On view with From Homestead to Historic House: The Architectural History of Macculloch Hall.

February 16- May 25, 2017

Rather than “Once upon a time”, our exhibition begins with “I have heard it told that there was once..”

A king named Shahryar wanted a bedtime story every night. For exactly 1,001 nights (more than 2 ½ year), Queen Scheherazade told the king a new and exciting story. The characters in her tales were brave princes and princesses, kind and wicked genies, and everyday merchants and fishermen. Scheherazade’s tales were retold through the generations and eventually written down. Today we know them as the One Thousand and One Nights or The Arabian Nights.

While they are remembered for their magic and exotic settings, many of the stories in The Arabian Nights are in fact very scary. One of the most chilling is the frame story, the thread that holds the tales together, of Scheherazade and the King. Scheherazade must tell her tales to give the King time to get to know her and grow to love her. Until he married Scheherazade, the King had taken a new wife every day and killed her the following morning.

Nonetheless, these tales are full of beauty, and Thomas Nast, who lived right across the street, painted scenes from The Arabian Nights in the 1860s. His illustrations are on display in this gallery. How did Nast portray the scenes and characters from The Arabian Nights? What do you think the artist wanted to convey about these stories? How would you paint them?

On view with The Art of the Book: Thomas Nast Paints The Arabian Nights.

September 18, 2016-February 5, 2017

Each object in this exhibit has been on a journey since it was first made. Like the products we buy today, most have traveled a great distance to reach us. Some parts of an object’s journey we know about while some parts remain a mystery. 

Consider the journey an object has made and how many people have handled it along the way: the makers, the transporters, the traders, the buyers and the collectors.

They are all part of an object’s story. 

It was not just a journey from land to land for these objects but also a journey from hand to hand.

 

On view with Fashion for the Far East: Collecting Chinoiserie at Macculloch Hall.

May 15-September 1, 2016

In the garden plants, animals and other living things work together. In New Jersey, plants grow, flower and fruit from spring to late fall. For plants to fruit and produce seeds they must be pollinated.

Pollination happens when the pollen from one flower is transferred to another flower. The wind can carry pollen from flower to flower, but most pollination is done by insects and birds. Known as pollinators, these animals are very important to our gardens.

On view with Two Centuries of Cultivating Green Space: The History of Macculloch Hall’s Gardens.