Established in 1909, the Newark Museum gradually expanded from its two-room origins to the bountiful 80 galleries of today, with a campus comprising a one-room schoolhouse, sculpture garden, and planetarium, in addition to the main museum. Traipse through one of the many ongoing exhibits such as The Glitter and The Gold: Jewelry from the Newark Museum, which displays a glinting anthology of jewelry from the early 1700s to the present, including the "Butterfly Lady" brooch from Newark’s historic jewelry industry and a collection of colonial Rolexes. The impressively curated Tibetan Collection brings to life the Himalayan territory through exhibits such as the 15 biographical, narrative paintings of Tsongkhapa–The Life of a Tibetan Visionary, and Pots of Silver and Gold, replete with traditional Tibetan motifs of lotus buds and dragons.
A fresh take on seasonal celebrations, the first-annual Halloween Spooktacular at the Liberty Science Center features child-oriented scaretivities such as face painting, trick-or-treating, spine-chilling story telling, and Halloween craft making. Bipedal boo-kiddies can explore the creepy-crawly world of the outdoor "Arachnophobia” maze or take a seat by the stage for the chemistry-cauldron shows, short-film screenings, and children's costume contest. Regular admission is normally $11 for children ages 2–12, $13 for adults, and free for children under 2.
Splayed across the green lawns of historic Snug Harbor, Staten Island Children's Museum's main brick building houses a four-level wonderland of kid-friendly fun. Tykes learn about nature in exhibits such as Bugs & Other Insects, which lets explorers crawl through a human-size anthill, don shiny beetle carapaces, and sign peace treaties with hissing cockroaches. Portia's Playhouse puts visitors in charge of their own theatrical productions, complete with costumes, a working curtain, and an interactive soundboard, and House About It beckons youngsters over to pick up real drills and make boxes under careful supervision. Outside, a quiet garden offers visitors a place to wind down, and the Sea Of Boats gives life to nautical fantasies on a springy, outdoor play area that cushions inadvertent falls.
The Hoboken Historical Museum celebrates the history, culture, architecture, and overall coolness of the Hoboken area, with 2,000 square feet of photos and artifacts located within the former Bethlehem Steel shipyard. Currently, the main gallery exhibit Surveying the World: Keuffel & Esser + Hoboken, 1870–1968, running until December 23, serves up 500 engineering instruments manufactured by the firm Keuffel & Esser from 1870 to 1968. Visitors to the exhibit can interact with a slide rule or telepathically take apart a transit instrument to discover the goblins turning the gears within. The museum also has an upper gallery, which is a venue for local artists to exhibit work about Hoboken and its environs. Previous artists include popular cityscape artist Frank Hanavan, photographer Virginia Parrott, and the fifth-grade class at Wallace Elementary School. Support the Hoboken Historical Museum with a one-year individual or family membership—both membership packages include benefits such as free admission to the museum, discounts on select museum gift-shop items, a subscription to the museum's quarterly newsletter, and free copies of the museum's Oral History Project chapbooks.
Travel back to experience New York’s past as a home for dinosaurs, Native Americans, and eventually art critics at the Staten Island Museum. Founded in 1881, the museum encapsulates the area’s geological and cultural history with more than two million artifacts. Exhibits showcase relics from prehistoric Staten Island residents; fossil, geological, and wildlife taxidermy samples; and the spark that lit the Statue of Liberty’s torch. Art collections from historical painters and contemporary artists provide a workout for right brains and scan-happy eyes. As part of an ongoing dream to make the exhibits bigger and better, the museum is expanding into the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, a 19th century dormitory for “aged, worn out and retired seamen.”