Apple Tree House – Past Exhibitions and Events

Apple Tree House – Past Exhibitions and Events

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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! 

Read the full exhibition text here

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.

Read the full exhibition text here!

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.