Morven was originally home to one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, then to five New Jersey governors. It was built by Richard Stockton in the 1750’s on land granted by William Penn. Stockton later went on to become a prominent lawyer and a member of the Continental Congress. Stockton’s wife Annis was one of America’s first published female poets, recognized for her works celebrating the heroes of the Revolution.

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© Morven Museum

The Stockton family lived in the home for four generations, then it was leased to Robert Johnson, then five New Jersey governors lived in the home after Morven became the state’s first Governor’s Mansion. In 1982 the Governor’s Mansion was relocated, allowing for Morven to be restored to its former glory.

An archaeological investigation and restoration project began after the Governor’s Mansion was relocated. In 1999, after the necessary archaeological work and restoration was finished, a massive renovation began in order to open the historical property to the public.Great care was taken to make sure the appearance of the buildings were as authentic as possible in order to provide guests with an exhibition that is as historically accurate as possible.

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2.Permanent Exhibition

Permanent Exhibition
© Morven Museum

The permanent exhibition at Morven includes collections from Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey State Museum, and family heirlooms that belong to the Stockton and Boudinot families. The house itself, and the grounds serve as exhibitions of their own, including a colonial revival garden and 18th century horse chestnut walk. Historical features like parquet floors were restored to the property, and the outward appearance of the buildings were returned to the way they would have looked when built. The portraits, furniture, and artifacts tell the history of the prominent families who lived in this home during its earlier days and the New Jersey governors who lived there after.

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3.Current Exhibitions

Current Exhibitions
© Morven Museum

There are five galleries on the second floor that display three alternating exhibitions throughout the year. Currently, there is a photographic collection from the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles featuring photos of music artist Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen is one of the most famous musicians from New Jersey, and his charisma is captured in 42 photographs taken by six different photographers. Bruce Springsteen is known for making music that reflects his pride in his home state, and the hardworking, independent sensibilities of his fellow statesmen.

Other exhibitions have included displays of excellent craftsmanship, as seen in the 19th century New Jersey Chairmaking Exhibit. This collection of 35 different chairs show how the craft has changed throughout history. Different styles are represented and techniques ranging from hand crafted specimens to factory made examples that became the norm after the civil war. The collection hails from all parts of New Jersey and includes chairs made by the famous Ware family, who produced furniture for four generations.

Online exhibitions are also available, and have featured the works of Richard Speedy and the collection of Joseph J. Felcone.Speedy is a Princeton native whose collection of photos of the New Jersey Pine Barrens are much appreciated. The online exhibition also includes background on the conservation project focused on the preservation of New Jersey Pinelands.Joseph Felcone is a bibliographer and collector of art who has graciously allowed the public to view 120 pieces of art made between 1761 and 1898.These works of art provide a history line of the shaping of New Jersey, as well as beautiful landscapes and portraits.

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© Morven Museum

Activities include the Festival of Trees, Morven in May, and Wednesday Tea and Tour.

The Festival of Trees- the museum’s galleries, porches, and halls are festively decorated by members of local garden clubs and businesses.

Morven in May- an arts and crafts fair featuring the works of 36 artists and craftsmen from all across the country. In addition to the arts and crafts, the Morven garden will offer a selection of heirloom perennials and annuals for sale.

Wednesday Tea and Tour- a traditional tea is served in Morven’s Garden Room, which overlooks the Colonial Revival Garden. A tour of the museum can be scheduled for before or after the tea.

The July 4th Jubilee is held every year to celebrate Independence Day. This free event features live music, food, historical talks, and crafts that children and adults can participate in.

There are also free yoga classes offered in Morven’s gardens during the months of June, July, August, and September. A yoga instructor from Princeton visits on these days to offer outdoor classes to visitors of all ages and fitness levels.

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55 Stockton St, Princeton, NJ 08540, Phone: 609-924-81

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Things to Do in Princeton, NJ: Morven Museum