Madison, NJ – The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted our lives in so many ways, but The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts (METC) is continuing its 50-year mission of being a partner to the community; focusing on our members, visitors, students and families.  As a leader in providing educational programming that aligns with New Jersey curriculum standards, the museum has adapted a selection of our school programs to make them available digitally to teachers, school administrators and families who are seeking additional educational options for young people during this difficult time. 

The museum’s Executive Director, Deborah Farrar Starker noted that, “We started to turn our attention to upgrading technology, exploring digital options and becoming more familiar with long distance learning last year.  We had no idea that this research would need to be put on the fast track in order to accommodate our thousands of visitors during this pandemic.  But we are fortunate that we were able to get up to speed quickly.”

Currently, our education department is offering five video presentations that would traditionally have been presented in our history museum as part of a comprehensive field trip for students.  These videos are accompanied by lesson plans, activities for students, guidelines for teachers, and detailed images of the museum’s artifacts. We are offering them free to use at this time, simply by filling out an access form with contact information. In addition, we have the capability to provide live presentations to schools and other organizations via a variety of digital platforms.  To access these programs to share with your students, visit https://www.metc.org/digital-lessons/ and fill out the access form.  As we move forward through the summer and toward the new school year, we will be updating information on how to access programs and we are eager to work with schools to integrate these into the regular curriculum.

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And while we understand that summer plans are still tentative, our summer camps are scheduled to proceed at this time.  Parents are able to register with no financial obligation and we will monitor the situation over the next few weeks; but the plan is to offer some type of summer camp, either on site or virtual. We have created six different sessions for kids in Pre-K through 3rd grade featuring crafts, storytelling, mythical creatures, games and food - all touching on history and the humanities. For more information on our summer camps and to complete a no commitment registration, please visit www.metc.org/summer-camps-2/.

The museum’s website has added a page called “METC at Home” with a host of options and activities for kids, families, and adults, all embracing the educational mission of sharing the stories of the early settlers and immigrants of New Jersey, exploring their lives and the times they lived. To explore our activities with your families, visit www.metc.org/at-home.

We know life is difficult now, but we are here for you and hope that you will think of METC as a resource and a place to find a connection and comfort. Despite facing our own financial challenges that are the results of a complete cut off of revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis, METC has committed to its mission of inspiring a connection with New Jersey’s history, culture, trades, and crafts--all online. If you have enjoyed any of METC’s online content and programming, please consider donating to the museum, through this link: https://app.donorview.com/Aobp. Every donation, no matter the size, goes directly toward our mission.  

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Explore American history with a focus on the life and stories of 18th- and 19th- century craftsmen and artisans. Drawing on its rich collection, METC is connecting the lives of people and their stories, while providing a bridge from the past to the future. Housed in a stunning Richardsonian Romanesque Revival building donated by D. Willis James to the people of Madison, NJ in 1900, METC offers something for visitors of all ages.