Celebrating Holidays

Munchie Monday: The Night Before National Cupcake Day

Do you love cupcakes and any size will do—mini, classic, or giant? Are you ready for tomorrow, December 15th—National Cupcake Day? Well, here are a few cupcakes facts to munch on: one of the earliest published recipes for cupcakes date to Elisa Leslie’s 1828 cookbook, Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats. There might be an even earlier reference dating to the 1796 cookbook, American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons when she mentions “tiny cakes”.

Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) has at least three cupcake recipes in her 19th-century cookbook. The recipe below made a great cupcake, light and fluffy, with very little change needed from the original recipe. So celebrate cupcake history tomorrow on National Cupcake Day with a freshly baked cupcake or two!

Good Birthday Cake for Children—Cup Cakes
1 cup of white sugar
½ cup of butter
½ cup of sweet milk
2 eggs
1 ½ cups of flour
1 teaspoonful of baking powder
½ teaspoonful vanilla

Cream butter & sugar. Add yolks of eggs well beaten, then milk and flour (baking powder sifted in flour) and lastly the beaten whites of the eggs. Bake in tin with a hole in the center for about 45 minutes.

Adapted Recipe: Birthday Cake for Children—Cup Cakes
1 cup of white sugar
1 stick of butter, softened
½ cup of milk
2 eggs
1 ½ cups of sifted flour
1 teaspoonful of baking powder
½ teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add yolks of eggs, well beaten. Add milk alternately with flour and baking powder (sifted).  Add beaten egg whites. Grease cupcake pan or use paper cupcake liners and fill ¾ full. Bake 15-20 minutes. Let cool on baking rack. Makes one dozen cupcakes.


Discover more facts about cupcakes. 

Learn more about the 11 seasons (2009-2018) of Cupcake Wars on Food Network and try some of the winning recipes. 

Learn more about Elisa Leslie, author of Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats.

On and Under The Tree: Christmas Trimmings and Toys

We have decked the halls at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum and during December’s Storytime: Guess & Go we will be sharing timeless stories about Christmas and the special toys found under the tree.

One of the earliest records of an indoor Christmas tree in the United States dates to the 1830s with German settlers in Pennsylvania. But it was an 1848 image of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their family around a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, in the London Illustrated News, when this holiday tradition began to be fashionable in America.

Join us today on Facebook Live at noon to hear stories told by one of MHHM’s Christmas trees surrounded by 19th-century toys.

Thanksgiving Eve

Understanding the significance of Thanksgiving in American history does not end with the pilgrims in the autumn of 1621. There are hundreds of years of history that eventually led to the American tradition of slowing down for a bountiful meal, connecting with family and friends, and taking time to be thankful.

Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt all contributed to what we know as Thanksgiving today. On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation designating Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a national day of thanks. New Jersey representative Elias Boudinot (1740-1821) from Elizabeth, New Jersey played a role in Washington issuing this proclamation, considered the first national celebration of Thanksgiving. Nearly 75 years later in 1863 another president, President Abraham Lincoln, referring to Washington’s proclamation, set a day of national Thanksgiving on the final Thursday of November. Nineteenth century author and activist, Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879), was instrumental in influencing Lincoln on establishing a moment of thanksgiving even during a time of the Civil War. Finally, a change was made in 1939 concerning the date of Thanksgiving when President Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday in November to help the economy but Congress reversed this decision in 1941 and Thanksgiving returned to the fourth Thursday in November.

Join us for Storytime: Guess & Go today at noon on Facebook Live to see an original of Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation from MHHM’s collection and listen to two stories about Thanksgiving and why it is an important American holiday.


Examine George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation up close here.

Learn more about Sarah Josepha Hale. 

National Wildlife Day

Since 2005, National Wildlife Day (February 22nd and September 4th) has brought awareness to the challenges facing endangered animals on a national and global scale. This holiday educates the public about conservation and teaches us how we can help preserve our planet’s animals. 

Take time to enjoy the outdoors today by visiting the 2-acre historic garden at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum. Bring along a pencil and Garden Scavenger Hunt #3 for extra fun in the garden! What animals do you think you will find?


Garden Scavenger Hunt #3 (PDF Document

Learn more about National Wildlife Day. 

Feeling creative? Take a look at the over 60 coloring pages of the wildlife of New Jersey and print it out for a fun activity. 

World Watercolor Month

Watercolor work by artist Lisa Madson.

Dig out your old watercolor set, buy a new one, or make your own and spend some time “capturing” nature in color during World Watercolor Month. If you need some inspiration, the creators of World Watercolor Month have provided 31 prompts for watercolor painting, one for each day in July. 

Watercolor work by artist Lisa Madson.

MHHM summer 2020 teaching artist, Lisa Madson, incorporates watercolor into many of her prints from nature. As an artist and teacher, Lisa uses a technique called eco-dyeing that transfers impressions from leaves and flowers onto paper. She often brings additional color to a hand-printed work using watercolor in a later step. Her art has been on exhibit in many venues including recent exhibits at the Bernardsville Public Library and at Frontline Arts, formerly known as The Printmaking Council of New Jersey (PCNJ). MHHM looks forward to sharing the opportunity for free virtual art lessons led by Lisa in July and August for families and summer groups to create their own works of art. To find out more, email cwinslow@maccullochhall.org.


Learn how to make your own watercolor from food coloring.   

Register for a free virtual watercolor class at the Princeton University Art Museum scheduled for Sunday, July 12. The class will have closed captioning available in both English and Spanish. 

National Pollinator Week

Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes. Most often we think of insects like bees, butterflies, moths, flies and beetles as pollinators when we see them on flowering plants. Birds and mammals can also help as plant pollinators. While inside the flower, the pollinator gathers pollen from the stamen, the male portion, and transfers it to the pistil, the female part. It is believed one third of the world’s food supply is produced through pollination. Thanks to our pollinators we have gardens full of flowers, and fruit trees and bushes full of favorite fruits, and vegetable gardens teeming with the veggies we love to eat!

Metal bowl full of dark green dinosaur kale, bright lights swiss chard with red stems, and a bunch of plump fresh picked cucumbers from MHHM's garden.Some fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplant, and corn do not need pollinators. They can self-pollinate or are aided by the wind. Even carrots, potatoes, lettuce and broccoli can grow without pollinators. BUT if you love your fruit like watermelon, pears, plums, pumpkins, blueberries, raspberries, and apples, you will need to thank a pollinator! And what is a fresh salad of lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots without CUCUMBERS.  Cucumbers and squash are also among the vegetables that need the help of pollinators.  During your next meal take a moment to think about and thank a pollinator!

Stop by our gardens and take a look at the tomatoes and potatoes in MHHM’s teaching beds, and see how many pollinators you can spot. 


Visit kidsgrowingstrong.org to learn about pollinators and pollinatorlive.pwnet.org for free, family activities.  

Four images of birds, butterflies, flies and beetles with information on their importance as pollinators underneath each image.

Watch Storytime: Guess & Go! at noon today on Macculloch Hall Historical Museum’s Facebook Live to hear two stories and guess the connection. Today we will “bee” sharing the Refrigerator Pickle recipe that has created a “buzz” in the Museum’s historic garden for four years. 

National Red Rose Day

Although Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) and Empress Josephine of France (1763-1814) lived in completely different worlds during a shared time in history, they are connected through their love of roses.

When Louisa Macculloch moved into her new home in Morristown in 1810, one of the first changes she made to the garden was to add rose bushes. Today, visitors to Macculloch Hall Historical Museum’s historic garden can enjoy the beauty and pleasing scent of many varieties of roses.


While enjoying her garden, Mrs. Macculloch may not have known that Empress Josephine was enjoying the beauty of her rose garden at Chateau Malmaison thousands of miles away. Empress Josephine loved roses. She was actually called Rose by her family, her full name being Marie Josephe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie. She married Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796 and moved to Chateau Malmaison in 1799.

Drawn image of a single rose pink rose. Four buds border the rose. The petals are delicate, almost paper like, with darker pink to red highlights.

Rosa Gallica Versicolor; Rosier de France a fleurs panachees by PJ Redoute – from ‘Les Roses’ (1817) – The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library.

It was in this garden where Empress Josephine enjoyed the over 250 varieties of roses she collected. Her private gardeners helped create and grow a garden containing all known varieties of roses in the western world. Even ships in battle were known to cease fire to allow ships carrying rose plants and seeds to Empress Josephine to pass through unharmed.

Empress Josephine hired Pierre-Joseph Redoute (1759-1840), a botanical artist, to paint portraits of the flowers in her garden. Redoute’s paintings of roses were published in three volumes, Les Roses, allowing us a glimpse into the beauty of Empress Josephine’s rose garden today.


To learn more about botanical artist Pierre- Joseph Redoute (1759-1840), visit botanticalartandartists.com.

If you need a little help to start your work as a botanical artist, visit this website for drawing tips. 

National Strawberry Month

May is National Strawberry Month so it is time to pick a favorite family recipe and make plans for a special occasion. Strawberries are listed in George Macculloch’s (1775-1858) garden journal every year so it is likely strawberries were enjoyed by his family every spring.

Did you know that strawberries are grown in every single U.S. state and Canadian province? Or that the next full moon on June 5 is called the Strawberry Moon


DIY Paper Strawberry Garland by Kelly Lanza.

While you enjoy your strawberries, make a strawberry garland and read/listen to a story about strawberries listed here. 

The First Strawberries: A Cherokee Story retold by Joseph Bruchac
Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Strawberries Are Red by Petr Horacek
The Very Berry Counting Book by Jerry Pallotta
The Strawberry Garden by Lia Yaffe Talmar
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood (Read in English by Mister Kipley’s Classroom Learning Adventures and in Spanish by Storyteller/Lector Marvin J. Morazan) 

Visit a local farm, like Alstede Farms and Stony Hill Farms, for strawberry picking. 

Celebrating National Salad Month

During MHHM’s summer program Dig it! Plant it! Eat it!, visitors and staff pick fresh vegetables and herbs from the historic kitchen garden. We learn healthy recipes together.

To celebrate National Salad Month, we happily share a recipe that was a big hit in our “house” last summer, Roasted Beet and Apple Salad!

MHHM will soon share the plans for a virtual Dig it! Plant it! Eat it! this summer.

Recipe: Roasted Beet and Apple Salad


Roasted Beet and Apple Salad from www.todaysparent.com

1 lb. of beets (baked at 425 degrees for 1 hour with olive oil)
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar, divided
1 tbsp. finely chopped shallots
½ tsp. honey
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. coarse black pepper
6 cups torn crisp greens (romaine, kale, Swiss chard)
2 apples (quartered, cored and sliced)
½ cup flat-leaf parsley


Cut baked beets and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. vinegar and set aside. Combine remaining 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, shallot, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk in remaining 5 tbsp. of olive oil. Combine lettuce, apples, and parsley in a serving bowl, add beets and drizzle with dressing. Enjoy! 

Happy Earth Day!

Today marks the 50th celebration of Earth Day. In observation, Macculloch Hall Historical Museum celebrates its historic two-acre garden, located in downtown Morristown. This garden has been a dedicated green space for more than 200 years. Through responsible pesticide-free and environmentally friendly care, a refuge for living creatures both large and small has been created. Its use as a vibrant outdoor teaching space is stronger than ever.

Happy Earth Day!


Watch Earth Day Live or Take 24 Hours of Action at www.earthday.org.

The Newark Museum of Art:
On April 18th the Newark Museum of Art’s virtual Earth Day program engaged NJ-born artist Willie Cole in an Artist Conversation. The virtual chat featured a sculpture by Willie, and discussed his community water bottle projects. Watch it here.

In 1999 Willie Cole received the Recycling Award, now called the Environmental Excellence Award, from the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MCMUA). He recently worked with students in The Pingry School’s art program to create sculptures made of plastic water bottles. Take a look at the students’ work here.

Citizen Science Project: 
Want to celebrate Earth Day every day? Join Earth Challenge 2020! Download the app to gather important scientific data in your neighborhood.

Friendship Friday

Not every town is fortunate to have a national park site in their own backyard but Morristown is. Today, during National Park Week, MHHM recognizes the work of superintendents, park rangers, and other National Park Service staff around the country. We especially honor the work of our colleagues at Morristown National Historical Park, the country’s first national historical park, on this day, Friendship Friday.


Learn more about Morristown National Historical Park and its various programs throughout the year at the National Park Service website


Find your virtual park or share your national park memories on social media. Visit www.nps.gov for more information. 

Did you know…


Lloyd W. Smith (1870-1955)                                     W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976)

Lloyd W. Smith (1870-1955) and W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976) were from the same generation of collectors whose collections became the core resource for important public institutions in New Jersey.

Lloyd W. Smith’s collection of 12,000 printed works and 300,000 manuscripts is the cornerstone of Morristown National Historical Park’s archive. W. Parsons Todd’s vision and collections of American and European fine and decorative arts, presidential material, and the work of political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) established Macculloch Hall Historical Museum.

Both preserved the past so it could be enjoyed by the public for years to come!

International Museum Day

On International Museum Day we celebrate the opportunity Macculloch Hall Historical Museum has to share the lives of ordinary people who helped to accomplish extraordinary things!

In 1950, Museum founder and former Morristown mayor W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976) incorporated Macculloch Hall Historical Museum (MHHM) as a nonprofit museum. His vision for a historic house and garden in the center of his beloved Morristown saved a piece of New Jersey’s past and set the stage for a place of learning and growing in the future. At the Museum, we recognize how the actions of individuals can positively impact the community we live in.

Portraits of George and Louisa Macculloch

George Macculloch (1775-1858) and Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) each found ways to improve the lives of others through education and charitable works in their adopted country.

Captain Lindley Miller (1834-1864) served in the Civil War where he requested and received a commission to train and lead former slaves in the First Arkansas Colored Regiment. In January, 1864, he used his talent to write a marching song to inspire his men during the War.

Through the wit and words of Alice Duer Miller (1874-1942), women’s suffrage found another able champion to help promote the rights of women in the United States.

MHHM, as a historic house and garden, partners with a community of over twenty service organizations, honoring the 200-year history of community connection started by the Macculloch-Miller family. Our partners are The Allegro School, Assumption School, Child and Family Resources of Morris County, Children on the Green, Cornerstone Family Programs & Morristown Neighborhood House, F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA, Garden Club of Morristown, Garden State Garden Consortium, Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, Good Grief, Greater Morristown YMCA Blake Center, Head State Community Program Morris County, Inc., Morris County Tourism Bureau, Morristown Morris Township Library, Morristown Partnership, NationalInstitute for People with Disabilities of NJ, New Life Dream Academy, Nourish NJ(Church of the Redeemer), Patriots Path Council—Boy Scouts of America, P.R.I.D.E., St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Bilingual Vacation Bible School program), Shalom Yeladim Nursery School—The Judie Gerstein Early Learning Center, ShopRite of Greater Morristown, and The Salvation Army Morristown Corps (Child Care Center and Summer Camp Program). 


Listen to the marching song of first Arkansas regiment sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford and Pete Seeger

Read the work of Alice Duer Miller.

Everyday Arbor Day

From the Oaks to the Sassafras and the Beech to the Redbud, MHHM’s historic garden is a haven for tree lovers! During summer 2019, visitors of all ages explored the trees in MHHM’s garden and collected inspiring “poet-tree” for their garden journals. 


“Poet-tree” For Arbor Day

Federico Garcia Lorca

Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde veinto.
Verde ramas.

Green I love you green.
Green wind.
Green branches.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The wonder is
that we can see these trees
and not wonder more.                    

Lucy Larcom

He who plants a tree
plants a hope.


Visit the Arbor Day Foundation to learn about the history of Arbor Day, find ways to celebrate or to explore educational resources.

National Arbor Day is April 24, 2020. Visit the Arbor Day Foundation to find resources and ideas to celebrate.

Read or listen to Joanne Oppenheim’s Have You Seen Trees? to learn why trees are so important.

Visit www.gradeonederful.com to see some of the pages from the picture book and get inspiration for a tree art project.

Use the activity sheet below in the weeks ahead to identify trees in your neighborhood.