Unique History Museums

20 Things to Do in New Jersey's Historical Museums & Sites
  • Thomas Edison Museum

All around New Jersey are historical attractions, fascinating historical museums and poignant sites in American history. Explore some unique history attractions with this roundup of 20 things to do in New Jersey.

  1. Walk through the historic underground Rainbow Tunnel, an illuminated zinc ore tunnel at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum, with mine galleries dating back to the 1830s.
  2. Marvel at everything from fossils to fine art at the New Jersey State Museum.
  3. Learn about the Women Airforce Service Pilots — or WASPs — of WWII at the Millville Army Air Field Museum, the location of “America’s First Defense Airport.”
  4. Get a glimpse into Colonial times at the Old Barracks Museum, built in 1758.
  5. View traditional sub-Saharan masks and artifacts at The African Art Museum.
  6. Tour 14 original historic structures dating back to the 19th century, including a general store, schoolhouse and cottages, at Double Trouble Village.
  7. Spot authentic Civil War soldier uniforms, weapons and equipment at The Civil War & Native American Museum.
  8. Stand in the very workspace where Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, storage battery and motion picture camera at the Thomas Edison National Historic Park.
  9. View the oldest house in Lawnside, New Jersey and the location of an Underground Railroad station at the Peter Mott House Underground Railroad Museum.
  10. Tour the 51-room manor house, filled with period furniture and artwork, at the Ringwood Manor at Ringwood State Park.
  11. Get an American history lesson at General George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters at the Rockingham State Historic Site.
  12. Sit in a 1934 log cabin that served as a dormitory and classroom, while learning about crime and law enforcement past at the New Jersey State Police Museum & Learning Center.
  13. Explore the home of H.B. Smith, a pioneer of the Industrial Revolution, at the Victorian Smithville Mansion.
  14. Go back in time to the 1800s at Historic Cold Spring Village, where interpreters in period clothing can guide you as you explore 26 restored, historic buildings.
  15. View opulent Victorian décor at the 1885 Ballantine House at Newark Museum. 
  16. See a rare 1911 American LaFrance Metropolitan Steam Engine at The Firehouse Museum, or venture to the on-site Liberty Hall Museum to tour a 1700s home.
  17. Sneak a peek into the daily life of a Victorian household at the Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian house museum.
  18. Recall the poetic musings of Walt Whitman and peruse his writings, photographs and memorabilia at the Walt Whitman House in Camden.
  19. Step back into 1836 as you explore a living history museum with costumed interpreters at Historic Allaire Village.
  20. Watch corn, wheat, rye and buckwheat being ground into meal or flour at the Cooper Gristmill, a restored 1826 mill and the only water-powered gristmill in the state of New Jersey.