The Hopewell Museum was incorporated in 1922 as “The Hopewell Free Public Library and Museum Funding and Building Association.” It was formed to raise funds for a building to house a collection of antiques offered to the community by Miss Sarah D. Stout. This collection would ultimately form the nucleus of the exhibits and collections of the now named “The Hopewell Museum.”
Shortly after its initial formation, the Museum purchased the red brick bank building which how houses the Hopewell Borough Public Library. For many years, the brownstone structure which forms the front portion of our present building, housed both the museum and the Public Library. During this period the museum owes much to the efforts of the Misses Susan and Eleanor Weart who not only worked long hours at both the Museum and the Library, but were tireless during those early years in their hunt for local items which they felt were worth preserving.
In 1965, the Library moved to its current location across the street. In 1967, a large two-story addition was made to the Museum Building through the generosity of Dr. David B. Hill. Dr. Hill was a former resident of Hopewell who, as a boy, lived a few doors from the museum. The additional space has enhanced our ability to display our expanding collections and, for many years, has housed Dr. Hill's superb collection of Native American artifacts.
The summer of 2018 saw a large undertaking of cleaning, streamlining, and reinterpreting the Museum's exhibit space and collection. A new “Fireman's Room” was arranged to show the rich history of firefighting service in Hopewell Borough and a newly developed Native American display, showing the broad archeological and anthropological history of area peoples stretching back to pre-colonial times, are just two of the new exhibits on offer to Museum visitors.
The mission of the Hopewell Museum is to preserve and display the artifacts that serve as an expression of village life in New Jersey and tell the story of Hopewell-area history from its pre-colonial beginnings to the present. Many of the outstanding items on display were used by the ancestors of today's residents. The history and traditions of a quiet industrious community and its people are presented in review.
Our exhibits and collections
Our many fine exhibits and collections include:
Delaware Indian artifacts
Early tools and farm implements
Colonial and Victorian furnishings and costumes
Antique china, glass, silver and pewter
Early kitchen utensils and spinning wheels
Deeds, documents, charters and pictures
Civil War artifacts, and antique weaponry
Photographs and maps of the area
Genealogical material - books and manuscripts
The Hopewell Museum offers an extensive archive of documents, photographs, and other ephemera stretching to the earliest history of the Hopewell Valley and Hopewell Borough. Research sessions can be conducted during normal Museum hours with the assistance of our Archivist for a fee of $25 per hour. Black and white photocopies of documents are available for $.50 per page. Scanning services for archive items are also available for $50 per scanned image/document which includes commercial use with attribution of high-resolution file. Commercial image use of scanned images is $25 for non-profit organizations.
Our Joint Long-Range Planning Committee (the Hopewell Museum and the Hopewell Valley Historical Society) held three public forums in the Fall of 2018, one in each of the municipalities of Hopewell Valley. The purpose of these forums was to receive feedback and ideas from the community at large in order to better craft museum programming and the interpretation of history in the Hopewell valley. The forums generated great ideas and feedback that will serve as a guide for future programming.
Click on the link below to learn more detail of the kinds of ideas generated by each forum.
The Hopewell Museum offers a gift shop to visitors with many historical books, maps, and decorative items. Do stop by and browse on your visit. See what the museum has on offer at the link below.