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About The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills

Founded in 1928 originally as the Historical Society of Basking Ridge, the mission and name of the society was later changed to The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization including all five communities of the Somerset Hills region: Bedminster Township, Bernards Township, Bernardsville ,Far Hills, Peapack-Gladstone which are all located in Somerset County, New Jersey.

The mission of The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH) is to acquire, conserve and share local artifacts and information on matters of local historic interest; cultivate interest in local history; encourage the preservation of local historic resources; facilitate historic research; and preserve, operate, and interpret the Brick Academy.

Headquarters

The Historical Society’s headquarters is at the Brick Academy, formerly known as the “Old Academy” and the “Academy Building” in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township, where our collections of items of local historic interest are available to the public. Click Here to learn more about the history of the Brick Academy.

In the pages of this website you will find historical information, news, programming, research, online archives, and stories about our history, on current programs and upcoming events., . We hope you will visit us often – online and in person.


Special thanks to Bianca Pichamuthu, Ridge High School Class of 2010 for creating this overview video as part of our Young Historians community service efforts.

About THSSH

Founded in 1928 originally as the Basking Ridge Historical Society, the name was changed in 1988 to The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills to include the five communities of Bedminster Township, Bernards Township, Bernardsville, Far Hills, and Peapack-Gladstone.

THSSH’s mission is to acquire, conserve and share historic artifacts and information; cultivate interest in local history; encourage preservation; facilitate research; interpret the Brick Academy; and operate the local history museum. The By-laws of the non-profit organization calls for a Board of Trustees to govern the operation. The board meets monthly and conducts 2-4 General Membership Meetings annually.

Our committees, including Museum, Education, Publicity, Speaker Programs, Website/Social Media, Publicity, Membership and Clerical, are an excellent opportunity for volunteers to focus on a specific area of the organization that is of personal interest! The Historical Society is headquartered at the Brick Academy, in Basking Ridge town center. The 1809 Federal-style building was constructed by Reverend Dr. Robert Finley as a classical school that prepared young men for college. Through the years it has served as a public school, union meeting hall, and municipal building. Today, the Brick Academy, listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, comprises a museum of local artifacts, a 1890s schoolroom and a research center.

The Basking Ridge Historical Society (BRHS) was officially organized on October 23, 1928. The society was incorporated March 2, 1935. and continued with its name until October 10, 1988. The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH) restructured in 1988 – Present

Board of Trustees/Executive Committee

Based on the bylaws of THSSH – trustees are nominated by a Nominating Committee and elected to serve one year terms by THSSH members at their September Membership meeting. Based on those elected, the Trustees then nominate and elect the Executive Committee including the Chair, President, Treasurer, and Recording Secretary to serve the following year.

Paula Axt – Education
Brooks Betz – Programming Chair, Membership Chair, Online Communications
Cynthia Crosson – Research & Archivist Chair
Greg Gonzalez – Treasurer
Patricia Gray – Hospitality Co-Chair
Florence Hallgring – Advertising
Daniel Lincoln – Historic Preservation & Restoration
Robin Marion – Secretary
Marcella Miccolis – Newsletter
Margaret Skelly – Education Chair
Lawrence Terricone – Grounds Chair, Research
Meg Wastie – Education
Sue Zibelli – Chairman, Museum Curator, Publicity

Committees

Volunteering to serve on one of our committees is one of the most rewarding reasons for joining our organization. Be part of a group of dedicated volunteers and members that continue to work to educate, learn, and serve our community.

Museum

The Brick Academy serves as a museum of local artifacts and information, the only one of its kind in the Somerset Hills. The top floor is a restored 1890s period schoolroom with an authentic pot belly stove, period furniture and early education displays. The museum is open to the general public the first Sunday of each month.

Key responsibilities of the Museum Committee include:

  • Review and process artifacts for acquisition and de-acquisition in accordance with museum policies, and maintain the acquisition computer database
  • Source, identify, photograph, label, and display (or store) artifacts in the Brick Academy
  • Design, install and maintain Museum exhibits throughout the Brick Academy
  • Provide artifacts from THSSH collections on short-term, long term or permanent loan, and process relevant documentation in collaboration with other history organizations
  • Design, install and maintain exhibits at Somerset Hills libraries, partner museums and other venues upon request (e.g. Somerset County Administration Building)
  • Manage various projects to enrich the museum experience

Contact: Sue Zibelli Volunteens Program
Committee Members: Sylvia Gambony, Larry Terricone, Pat Gray

Education

The mission of the Education Committee is to carry out youth and adult educational programming; to share information on matters of local historic interest; and to cultivate interest in local history in support of the Historical Society’s mission.

  • Elementary School Programs – Currently offered to the five Bernards Township elementary schools. The Education Committee hopes to extend these programs to Bedminster, Bernardsville, Far Hills, and Peapack-Gladstone. – Basking Ridge History & Flag – Brick Academy & Walking Tour – How Children Played! – Early American Schoolhouse (sponsored by The Museum of Early Trades and Crafts)
  • The Adult School of the Chathams visits 2016 & 2017
  • Craft Sundays – A hands-on education program to engage young children in learning about history through early American crafts
  • Brick Academy Guides/Docents training
  • Young Historians Program
  • Scout Troops – Somerset Hills scouts visit the Brick Academy to fulfill the American Heritage Badge requirement

Contact: Margaret Skelly
Committee Members: Paula Axt, Meg Wastie,

Hospitality

Do you enjoy event planning? Decoration and activitie ideas? Then the Hospitality Committee is for you. Plan, purchase, setup, and cleanup for THSSH programs or functions with decorations, themes, food, and refreshments. Essentials include food, beverages, paper and plastic products, tablecloths, flower arrangements, and decorations.

Contacts: Robin Marion & Pat Gray

Research

The lower level of the Academy serves as a research room and contains books, photographs, documents, postcards, maps, deeds, family and street files and more. You can visit the Research Room during any of our open houses, or you can also make an appointment to schedule a personal visit.

Contact: Cynthia Crosson
Committee Members: Larry Terricone

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