NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -- Over the past two years, the partnership between the New Providence School District and the New Providence Historical Society has allowed more than 800 elementary school students to visit and explore the Salt Box museum. Students each year are able to connect the content of their United States History curriculum to the Salt Box museum’s extensive collection, providing students with a tangible link to the important history in their community.
This ongoing collaboration entered an exciting new phase this spring with Salt Box Museum artifact project. The museum has hundreds of artifacts in their collection, many of which have never been researched or archived. AP US History students from the high school chose items from the Salt Box museum’s extensive collection to research. The students photographed the objects, measured them, and looked for significant markings to help identify their origins.
They then researched the objects utilizing databases, historical records, and museum guides. So far, the research has uncovered fascinating information about the collection. Students identified interesting details about the construction and purpose of the Studebaker wagon outside the museum; they identified the manufacturer of a genuine Civil War officer’s hat in the collection, and determined that the coach trunk in the downstairs bedroom of the museum is most likely from the late 18th century.
This partnership is unique in the nation. School museum partnerships usually involve students visiting a museum and reporting on what the museum has in its collection. New Providence students are doing authentic field research on a collection that has been largely unstudied.
They will share their findings with the museum and provide historical context and fascinating back-stories for many objects in the museum’s diverse collection.
The Salt Box Museum at 1350 Springfield Ave. is near the center of New Providence. Appointments can be made by calling 908-665-1034.