Trenton’s museums are a treasure of the city, marking the city’s past and present significance as a historical, industrial and cultural center. Trenton’s unique role in the Revolutionary War history makes for exciting museum experiences, recalling 18th century American life and the time war that changed America forever. At one time, Trenton was one of the nation’s largest and most important industrial centers, and this significance is noted at our city’s museums. Trenton continues to draw creative personalities and an enthusiasm for the arts, and our city’s museums highlight this as well. Some of our favorite Trenton museums include:
Trent House Museum – The William Trent House, constructed between 1716 and 1719, is a National historic landmark. The Trent House is the oldest building in Trenton and was constructed for William Trent, the wealthy Philadelphia merchant from which Trenton gets its name. History comes alive at the Trent House, offering interpretive programs, tours and more.
Old Barracks Museum – The Old Barracks Museum is the oldest remaining barracks used for any war in the U.S. Built between 1758 and 1759, it housed British, Hessian, and Continental troops during the Revolutionary War. The soldiers who were defeated in the Battles of Trenton were housed at this barracks. Visitors will learn how Washington turned the tide of the Revolution, how the officers and enlisted men lived, and how people lived in 18th century America.
Trenton City Museum - The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion houses a fine collection of art and artifacts related to Trenton's historical and cultural past and present. On permanent display are tableware, sanitary ware and artware produced in the 19th and 20th centuries by Trenton's prolific ceramics industry. Also on display is a period Victorian room representing an Ellarslie parlor as it may have looked when the building was a private residence in the 1860s. The museum also boasts a fascinating collection of fine arts, decorative arts, industrial memorabilia and historical objects.
New Jersey State Museum - The New Jersey State Museum contains exhibits from such diverse categories as natural history, cultural history, archaeology, ethnology, and fine art. Active participation is encouraged through hands-on workshops, gallery walks, planetarium sky shows, and demonstrations. The museum also holds annual special events and programs for children.
Grounds for Sculpture - Originally part of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds, Grounds for Sculpture opened in 1992. This major sculpture park occupies some thirty-five acres of landscaped sites, with more than 2,000 rose bushes, 1,000 trees, and numerous other flowers and shrubs planted to provide a beautiful setting for art. The sculptures include unique works, some quite large, by some of the greatest artists in their fields. Isaac Witkin, Anthony Caro, George Segal, Magdalena Abakanowicz, and J. Seward Johnson Jr. (a key figure in establishing the park) are among the many artists whose works may be enjoyed here.