Making Summer Memories with Kids at A Museum

Children love to learn, especially when it’s fun. Luckily, there are so many great museums in the area and nearby! Here are some popular northern New Jersey museums the whole family can enjoy.

Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey (400 Fred Wehran Drive, Teterboro)

Here’s one for those interested in air and space accomplishments! Visitors can learn about the aerospace industry through unique exhibits including aircraft, helicopters, planes, and more. The museum is home to the rocket engine that propelled the X-15, as well as the first American hovercraft. The interactive Fundamentals of Flight aerodynamics exhibit is a popular draw. The museum hosts Open Cockpit Weekends where visitors can sit in real aircrafts and rescue vehicles. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, with sessions from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM, 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM, and 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

Franklin Mineral Museum (32 Evans Street, Franklin)

This museum is dedicated to mineralogy and geology and is home to thousands of mineral specimens. Local minerals include willemite, franklinite, and zincite. There’s also a Fluorescent Room, a 32-foot display showcasing why New Jersey was declared the “Fluorescent Mineral Capital of the World.” Visitors can also view fossil trilobites, dinosaur footprints, a mastodon tusk, and coprolites, and more. There’s also mine replicas and artifacts, with life-size examples of mining methods used in the Franklin mines. The museum is open Wednesday through Friday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 Pm, Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Hoboken Historical Museum (1301 Hudson Street, Hoboken)

This museum collects and displays artifacts dedicated to the history of Hoboken and is housed in one of the oldest buildings on Hoboken’s waterfront, the former Bethlehem Steel machine shop, now known as the Shipyard. About one mile away sits the Fire Department Museum (213 Bloomfield Street, Hoboken), which houses fire gear, memorabilia, and a 1932 Ahrens Fox fire engine. The Hoboken Historical Museum is open Tuesday through Thursday from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Friday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The Fire Department Museum is open from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

Liberty Hall Museum (1003 Morris Avenue, Union)

This revolutionary-era home was once home to New Jersey’s first elected governor, William Livingston. It began as a 14-room Georgian-style home and evolved into the 50-room Victorian mansion it is today. It is full of furnishings, decorative arts, clothing, and more, telling the story of those who lived there. Also on the grounds are the Arboretum and Gardens. The museum hosts numerous events for children and families all year long. Tours are available Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Montclair Art Museum (3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair)

Montclair’s own treasure, this museum offers plenty of opportunities for kids to learn about art. The collection boasts over 12,000 works of Native American and American artwork in the form of sculpture, works on paper, ceramics, artifacts, and more. There’s also a Family Learning Lab featuring activity prompts, art supplies, and books. The museum also offers camps, classes, and family art-making studios. Family memberships are available. The museum is currently open Friday and Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Morris Museum (6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown)

The museum is home to five permanent galleries. The Native American Gallery features artifacts from American Indian tribes throughout the United States, including objects used in the daily lives of Native People. The Earth Science Gallery includes dinosaurs, fossils, rocks, and minerals. The Guinness Collection: Mechanical Music & Automata features more than 150 pieces such as music boxes, player pianos, and mechanical dolls. The Mega Model Train Gallery includes a nearly 300-square-foot train set where trains travel through a number of scenes and models. The Dodge Room is dedicated to Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge and includes paintings, sculpture, and other objects. Spark!Lab offers an informal approach to hands-on learning, harnessing a child’s natural creativity for a number of project stations. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Museum of Early Trades and Crafts (9 Main Street, Madison)

The museum was founded by Agnes and Edgar Law, who donated their personal collection of 18th and 19th century artifacts representing the lives of the early immigrants to New Jersey. Visitors can explore how people lived and worked from the colonial era through the age of industrialization. The collection has grown to nearly 9,000 pieces, including tools, textiles, pottery, and archival materials. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Sunday from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Newark Museum of Art (49 Washington Street, Newark)

This museum features collections of American art, decorative arts, contemporary art, and arts of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the ancient world. In addition, visitors can experience the planetarium, the Old Stone School House, the Fire Museum, and the Garden. The museum hosts numerous activities and programs for children and families throughout the year. NMOA is open Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park (211 Main Street, West Orange)

The park is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Children will recognize many of the things invented by Thomas Edison, making this museum a special treat. Visit Edison’s home and laboratory, roaming through his library, music room, machine shop and chemistry lab.

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