President’s Message for Winter 2019

Welcome to 2019, the year we start celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Merchants and Drovers Tavern as a museum. Yes, it’s been 50 years since a group of Rahway residents, recognizing the historic importance of this site, formed the Rahway Historical Society to save it from demolition. They rallied the community and local businesses, including Merck and RSI Bank, to raise the funds which ultimately prevented this one-of-a-kind site from being razed and erased from living memory. Those early founders and contributors deserve our apprecia-tion and everlasting thanks for their hard work in ensuring our nation’s early roots are pre-served for generations to come. Some of them are still with us and continue on as members and volunteers. We salute you.

Naturally, the best way to show our appreciation of their dedication is to continue that work above and beyond the preservation of the site’s structures. Keeping these buildings standing straight and safe has been our primary objective these past 50 years, and as we come closer to reaching our goal both inside and out, it’s time to put more focus on how we are developing this museum as an educational resource to the community that has supported it for years. Therefore, we begin our next half century working to make sure this Museum is a place one wants to come to again and again for education, entertainment, and the simple pleasure of friendly communal gatherings with people who share an appreciation of history.

Last month we held our annual Member Potluck Dinner, and once again we filled the rooms to capacity. It was wonderful to kick off the 50th celebration year with members, staff and trustees. I believe events such as this are emblematic of the kind of organization we continue to build, one that not only serves this community through historic preservation, but also one that brings that community of people together, as friends and partners in this mission.

We have many events planned this anniversary year to celebrate our past and ongoing success in keeping this landmark open and thriving. Old favorites such and our cemetery tours and holiday evenings remain on the schedule, and we’ve added some new ones including our Wine Pairing Dinner event set for March 30th. Whether you choose to visit us for one of these events, or even if you stop by and hang out with Al in the office (he likes milk but no sugar in his coffee if you’re buying), we always want to see you. We can think of nothing better than celebrating this milestone with the very people who continue to make it possible, you our friends.

Thank you.

Annette Satkowski

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NJCH Awards the Merchants and Drovers an Incubation Grant!

The Merchants and Drovers Tavern Museum is proud to announce that we are one of nine recipients of a 2019 Incubation Grant from The New Jersey Council for the Humanities!

Incubation Grants “help organizations plan, research, develop, and prototype public humanities projects and events. From investigating potential components of a new program to learning more about audiences, NJCH funding supports projects in early stages of development.”

The museum’s $5,000 grant was awarded specifically to review our collections, convene focus groups, and develop a plan to update and expand the Museum’s historical interpretation and exhibits.

What does this mean to our members and future guests?  It means that we will be conducting studies within our membership to better understand what future exhibits and events will most appeal to you and to our greater local community.

If you are currently a member, please be on the lookout for information about upcoming opportunities to express your valuable opinion to us, and help us make our Museum experience the best it can be!

And if you are NOT yet a member, there’s never been a better time to join!

Read more about the NJCH and the Incubation Grants here!

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Wreathes Across America at the Historic Rahway Cemetery

On December 15, the Historic Rahway Cemetery was one of over 1200 sites to participate in the annual Wreathes Across America event, honoring 653 veterans, dating back to the Revolutionary War.

Coordinated by the New Jersey Freemasons, Lafayette Lodge #27, volunteers met at the Merchants and Drovers Museum on a chilly, rainy day to place the wreathes on the graves, and most importantly, to speak the name of the soldier in remembrance.

This annual event is always looking for volunteers – follow the Lafayette Lodge #27  or the Merchants and Drovers on Facebook for information on next year’s event.

And thank you to all who gave their lives in service.

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