Apple Tree House – Past Exhibitions and Events
History Fair 2021
We had our very first in-person event back at the Apple Tree House in early June 2021, honoring 24 student’s and their work from a year of remote school work. The Apple Tree House mounted 24 History research projects completed by students grades k-12 and hosted an awards ceremony. Each student was awarded a certificate as well as a “Votes for Women” Sash. The collection of student work will be up on view at the Apple Tree House throughout the summer of 2021.
Selections from the George Way Collection
Featured in the New York Times
In early 2020, the George Way estate generously donated a selection of antiques to the Apple Tree House. These items were chosen to illustrate early settlement life of the Dutch middle-class and highlight the labor it took to maintain a home, often performed by the women or enslaved people of a family. Tools for cooking, cleaning, and sewing are all featured and arranged around the hearth, or fireplace in today’s terms. The objects date between 1600-1900 and were preserved by George Way, a noted collector of Dutch, American & British antiques and furniture.
The City of Jersey City would like to thank the George Way estate for their kind donation to the Apple Tree House that will help illustrate history for years to come. We also would like to thank the New Jersey Room of the Jersey City Public Library for their help over the years in helping build and research exhibits for the Apple Tree House including archival images for this exhibition.
History Fair 2020
Rescheduled from March 2020, Exhibition of JCPS Social Studies Students
Join us in celebrating the research and efforts of social studies studies from across the city in our virtual exhibition format!
The work compiled by participating students was slated to go on view at the Apple Tree House in March 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic. The Office of Cultural Affairs collaborated with social studies teachers from Jersey City Public Schools to institute curriculum and projects that focused on research of women’s history, from local to internationally-known women. The winning student projects were to be displayed at the Apple Tree House along with a museum buildout- complete with women suffrage banner replicas, display of professional artwork centering female figures throughout history, and a Votes for Women sashes, buttons and hats! We also had lectures on women’s histories scheduled that you can view online at the exhibition website. Take a look through our virtual gallery to soak in all the rich components of the History Fair.
Votes for Women: Free Outdoor Summer Performances
Speranza Theatre Company brought back the production of Votes for Women in an outdoor, socially distanced format! The show was performed across the city in public parks. The Apple Tree House hosted a production as well as engaging the audience in a historically-inspired a community mosaic that depicted the New Jersey Chapter’s suffrage button.
Learn more about the Votes for Women Show here!
Histories of Black Jersey City: 1630-Present
January 2020, Exhibition and Panel Discussion
Histories of Black Jersey City: 1630- Present is an exhibition that was organized to commemorate 400 years since American slavery began and to honor the African-American presence in America by highlighting some of the rich history of African-Americans in our city, Jersey City. It was curated & researched by Martin Pierce, an independent historian in collaboration with Deborah Hairston (Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church), Neal Brunson Esq. (Director of the Jersey City Afro-American Historical Society Museum), Daisy DeCoster (Director of the Theresa and Edward O’Toole Library of Saint Peter’s University)and Mary Kinahan-Ockay (St. Peter’s University Archivist).
In conjunction with the exhibition, there was a panel discussion on Black history & legacy of Jersey City, moderated by Deborah Hairston (Co-Curator, Saint Peter’s University) and in conversation with Martin Pierce (Curator & Historian), Muriel D. Roberts (Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society Inc.-New Jersey Chapter), Dr. John Johnson (Assistant Professor of History St. Peters University) & Daoud-David Williams (Chairperson African Cultural Arts Festival, Community Awareness Series). The recording of the panel is forthcoming!
Poetry Readings, hosted by Rashad Wright (Poet Laureate)
November 2019- February 2020, NJ Council of the Humanities Action Grant
The Apple Tree House hosted two nights of poetry in collaboration with Jersey City Poet Laureate, Rashad Wright. These two engaging nights reflected on women’s rights past and present through the spoken word and featured numerous acts including Chante Stewart-Wallace of Jersey City Slam, Aaya Perez, PAVAN from St. Peters University’s Literary & Poetry group and also had poetry workshops.
Sponsored by the New Jersey Council of the Humanities
Bergen Square Apple Festival
October 2019, Bergen Square Historic Society
A day for the community to celebrate Bergen Square and its important role in the start of our country and our agriculture (particularly New Jersey’s famous apple orchards!). Features a community apple-dessert bakeoff (free tastings), kids’ activities, tours of the Apple Tree House and local history, music and food vendors. It takes place on the grounds of the Van Wagenen/Apple Tree House, one of the original lots of Bergen Village, formed in 1660, the oldest continuously-inhabited town in New Jersey and now a part of Jersey City. In fact, the four blocks that made up the original Bergen Village are still here as the four blocks of Bergen Square today!
Sponsored by C-Town at Bergen Square! In partnership with the Bergen Square Historic Society
Behind Lady Liberty’s Back: How the Vote Was Won
September 2019, Archival Exhibition from NJ Room at the Jersey City Free Public Library
Take a look at the riveting tales of Jersey City’s leading women in the Suffrage Movement. This exhibition text was the companion to an archival exhibition on display at the Apple Tree House in the Fall of 2019. From the day in 1851, when Dr.Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor awarded a medical degree in the US, saw and treated her first patient in Jersey City; through the day in 1895, when Mary Philbrook of Jersey City, the first woman admitted to the bar in the State of New Jersey, tried her first case here, to the day in 1906, when she became the first New Jersey woman admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States; to March 4, 1925, when Mary Norton of Jersey City was sworn in as a member of the 69th Congress, the first woman elected to represent New Jersey; the women of this city have asserted themselves in every constructive field of human endeavor. Our exhibit tells some of their stories.
Curated & Researched by Martin Pierce, Journal Square Community Association. Archival assistance provided by John Beekman & Cynthia Harris of Jersey City Free Public Library
History Alive: Votes For Women, Speranza Theater Company
September 7-9, 2019, Speranza Theater Company
Speranza Theater Company presented “History Alive: Votes for Women” at Apple Tree House, an original play by Jennie Contuzzi, in celebration of the centennial anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Taking place outside and throughout the house, this dynamic show brought history to life for all ages, showing the incredible fight for the ballot box. It’s 1913, and, thousands of women gather in Washington, D.C.. They are there to call for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. While the fight for suffrage has been going on for 60 years, this huge parade, spearheaded by Alice Paul and the National American Woman Suffrage Association, marks the first major national event for the movement. For a family audience of all ages, this emotional story is told from the perspective of the women who led the charge, and paved the way for the fight for equality.
History Alive: Votes for Women is made possible, in part, by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State, and administered by the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, Thomas A. DeGise, Hudson County Executive & the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Additional support provided by the City of Jersey City, the Jersey City Municipal Council, the Office of Cultural Affairs and BCB Bank.