MONTVILLE, NJ – After several years of being closed, the Montville Township museum had its grand reopening on May 21. Township administrators opened the building for the afternoon and at least 30 visitors stopped in. Residents were able to see artifacts and photographs from around the township.
“We received many inquiries about the status of the museum which had been shuttered for several years,” Township Committee Member Deb Nielson said. “The Township Committee made re-opening of this historic landmark a priority for 2017. Thanks to the efforts of administration, staff and DPW workers, the museum doors opened to the public on April 11th, the official incorporation date for Montville Township's 150th anniversary celebration.”
The museum opened for several Friday afternoons following the 150th celebration, followed by the May 21 "grand reopening." It is being staffed by township employees.
Museum visitor Flo Greco said it was nice seeing relics from so far back in time.
“It was wonderful to see these things and the history,” said the 19-year township resident.
Visitor Virginia Cook said her husband’s family has been in Montville Township since the 1700s.
“My brother-in-law and his family started this museum,” she recalled. “I used to be a hostess here. So many things are different.”
The building that houses the museum was once a school and later a post office.
“My father-in-law attended the school and he and his schoolmates would pee on the coal so that they could have the day off,” Cook said with a laugh.
Cook spotted a small bell in a display case and knew that it was part of the Montville Reformed Church bell.
“The Reformed Church burned down in 1938 due to an electrical fire and the bell fell to the ground,” Cook said. “So they melted it down and sold these small bells in order to pay for building the new church.”
Joe Mancuso and his wife came out to see the museum, too.
“I’ve been meaning to come out for so long,” Mancuso said. “I wanted to see the old farm artifacts.”
Lynda Virkler Justnes brought her husband and four grown sons. Justnes grew up in Towaco and attended the Towaco School on Waughaw Road.
“My parents moved to Towaco in 1964,” she said. “I was one of the last classes at the Towaco School, and went there for first, second and third grade.”
Justnes said she loves history and was excited when she saw the township’s marquee advertising that the museum would be open on the 21st. She enjoyed being in the building, she said, because it was the first Montville school. Her husband, David, said he really appreciated seeing the old map of Montville on the wall.
The Montville Township Museum will be open Friday afternoons throughout the summer from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.