Hoboken Historical Museum

Hoboken Historical Museum

Posted on 01. Aug, 2009 in Leisure

Anyone could say that the actual city of Hoboken is a museum in and of itself. We walk on ground that was once trekked on by the Lenape Indians, Henry Hudson, Colonel Stevens, Frank Sinatra and Gideon Sundback, the Swedish engineer who invented the first zipper. Yes! The zipper was invented in Hoboken! Everyday we pass historical landmarks, from Elysian Park, baseball’s birthplace to the first Blimpie establishment. Being a history buff myself, once in a while I like to take a step back and think how history is all interconnected and appreciate everything that has happened up until my existence in this beautiful city. Recently, I satisfied my craving for Hoboken history by visiting the Hoboken Historical Museum on 13th and Hudson Street.

Hoboken Museum

With Hoboken’s rich history, having a museum is a must to reflect the life of the city. The Hoboken Historical Museum educates by collecting, preserving,and interpreting artifacts and oral histories, both historic and contemporary. The museum does not compare to the the size of the typical New York museums, but it boasts just enough space to focus on one unique exhibition every couple of months.

Hoboken Museum

Up & Down the River: The History of the Hudson

To celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the voyage of Henry Hudson’s Half Moon ship and the discovery of the Hudson River, the museum has been dedicating their exhibition and lecture series on the history of the Hudson from March 1st till December 23rd.

Hoboken Museum

The main focus of this exhibition is tracing the discovery of the Hudson to the important roles the river has played in the life of the Mile Square City. Gorgeous historical maps and illustrations of Hudson’s journey depict Hudson’s adventure of discovery throughout the entire museum walls.

Hoboken Museum

The Lenni Lenape, the first inhabitants of Hoboken, camped seasonally on the island, and were not permanent residents of Hoboken. They called the spot “Hopoghan Hackingh,” or “Land of the Tobacco Pipe,” and used the green-colored serpentine rock abundant in the areas coast to carve pipes for smoking tobacco.

Hoboken’s modern history began when Henry Hudson’s navigator made note of the area’s green-veined rock during the 1609 voyage up the river that now bears the explorer’s name. The men on the ship Half Moon were the first Europeans known to have seen the island. They were followed by Dutchmen, who visited the future Hoboken in those early years calling it “Hoebuck,” meaning “high bluff.” Today we call the elevation Castle Point. The land was later purchased from the Lenape Indians in the mid 1600’s by Peter Stuyvesant for 80 fathoms of wampum(shells), 20 fathoms of cloth, 12 kettles, 6 guns, 2 blankets, 1 double kettle and half a barrel of beer.

Hoboken Museum

As early as 1820, Hoboken began transforming from a wild but beautiful waterfront into a recreation area, connecting 19th century New Yorkers and sailing enthusiasts to the Hoboken shoreline as a weekend getaway resort called “Elysian Fields” for Sunday picnics and home of the cup-winning yacht America. Throughout the years, the Hudson has also provided inspiring generations of students and professors at the Stevens Institute of Technology to contribute to the legacy of groundbreaking maritime research invention.

Hoboken Museum

A Passion for the River: Paintings and Pastels by Bill Curran

On the second floor of the museum, they had a small space dedicated to the beautiful paintings of Bill Curran. The painting gallery, called A Passion for the River, includes Bill’s various works dedicated to the views of the Hudson river and the Hoboken and New York City skylines. Although this gallery has ended as of July 18, Bill’s work has been featured in several group shows throughout New York City, including the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Leslie Lohman Gallery, The West Side Arts Coalition, and The Empire State Building.

Hoboken Museum

Bill’s portraits, still lifes, landscapes and figure paintings have earned him many awards. For the past three years his work has been featured in Hoboken’s Open Studio Tour Guide. This year, Bill’s work was featured on the October cover of the Hoboken Current, the Open Studio Tour issue. He was quoted as saying “I hope to help people see the beauty around them”. He has also been a guest lecturer on Pastels at the The Hoboken Public Library.

Hoboken Museum

Hoboken Photography Archives

My favorite part of the museum was the various binders of old historical photography spanning hundreds of years. Just by browsing through these albums of images, I had learned about the city itself. For example, did you know there used to be a movie theatre called The Fabian, which is currently today’s CVS Pharmacy and Barnes and Nobles in downtown Hoboken?

Hoboken Museum

Gift Shop

The museum also sells some awesome t-shirts and books at their gift shop. I bought this swag to sport and show some Hoboken pride when I’m walking around New York City. :)

Hoboken Museum


Location:1301 Hudson St (13th and Hudson) View Map
Hours: Tuesday – Thursdays 2:00pm – 7:00pm, Fridays 1:00pm – 5:00pm, Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 – 5:00pm
Phone Number: (201) 656-2240
Website: Hobokenmuseum.org

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  11. Bryan

    06. Aug, 2009

    Hello Ryan.

    This is Bryan from the Hoboken Progress newspaper. I was wondering if we could run this entry in our newspaper. Please let me know by e-mailing me at editor@hobokenprogress.com.

  12. Tom Koby

    01. Aug, 2009

    Nice blog Ryan, big history buff myslef! I have to go and check out the Henry Hudson exhibit.

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