January 5, 2022

Historical Society of Princeton Reopens Updike Farmstead Museum

BACK IN BUSINESS: Now that Quaker Road is reopened, visitors are once again welcome to explore the Historical Society of Princeton’s Updike Farmstead Museum, inside and out.

By Anne Levin

After an extended shutdown due to the pandemic and the closure of Quaker Road, the Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) has reopened its museum at Updike Farmstead, 354 Quaker Road. The roadway, closed since last September due to damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, reopened December 22.

During the shutdown, the museum kept programs in play via digital media and virtual events.

“We’ve been so pleased to have been able to stay engaged with history learners of all ages throughout the pandemic via social media, digital exhibitions, digital tours, virtual lectures and workshops, and so much more. I’m very proud of the ways we’ve been able to innovate during this challenging time, and that we’ve still been able to inspire community members with stories from the past,” said Executive Director Izzy Kasdin. “But nothing beats being immersed in the timeless beauty of historical landscapes and being face-to-face with real historical material, like Albert Einstein’s pipe or an evocative photograph. We’re so looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Updike Farmstead, and hope it’s just the beginning of their history journey through all that Princeton has to offer.”

Einstein is the focus of the museum’s permanent exhibition, the Einstein Salon and Innovators Gallery. To celebrate the reopening, all visitors this month will get a free Albert Einstein tee-shirt, subject to availability.

Other exhibitions inside the museum include “Princeton’s Portrait,” which showcases vintage photographs of the area’s farming history. Works by painter/educator Rex Goreleigh, the A-Team Artists of Trenton, and the Princeton Photography Club are also on view. 

Outdoors, visitors can explore the Farmstead History Trail, which tells the stories of the Native Americans, Quakers, and family farmers that inhabited the area, and the Garden State History Garden, a multimedia interpretation of New Jersey’s agricultural past. 

Updike Farmstead was once part of a 1200-acre parcel purchased by Benjamin Clarke in 1696 to create the Quaker settlement at Stony Brook. Listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places, the property is along the route followed by Continental troops on their way to engage British soldiers at the neighboring Thomas Clarke farm on January 3, 1777, in what would become the Battle of Princeton.

A private, nonprofit organization, the Historical Society moved in 2014 to Updike Farmstead from Bainbridge House on Nassau Street, where it was located since 1967. The six-acre farmstead was purchased from the estate of Stanley Updike in 2004.

Upcoming activities sponsored by the Historical Society include walking tours on January 9, 16, 23, and 30; and a MLK Day Community Event on January 17.

Museum hours are Thursdays through Sundays, 12-4 p.m.; admission is $4 per person. At this time, masks are required of all guests, regardless of vaccination status. Visit princetonhistory.org for more information.