Step into the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts, and it's as if the Industrial Revolution never happened. The museum focuses on the life of farmers, builders, and other tradesman of the United State's pre-industrial age. The main floor thrusts visitors into the world of New Jersey farming families from the early 1800s to provide in-depth information about these peoples' lives as well as showcase woodworkers' planks and various hand tools. The lower level, meanwhile, celebrates the working lives of four tradesman from 1850, including a shoemaker and a distiller. While these permanent displays stand as time capsules of a bygone area, a special exhibit space rotates its features regularly. Only a small portion of the museum's artifacts is on display at a time, but visitors can make an appointment to see items from the full collection, which totals more than 8800 artifacts from 21 different trades.
Even without the artifacts, the museum stands as a piece of history, as it's housed within The James Library Building. The building was finished in 1900 and contains stained glass windows, carved stone and wood detailing, and vaulted ceilings that make it the perfect setting to imagine life before Henry Ford invented his flying car.
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CBL Fine Art upgrades abodes with custom artwork, décor, and sundries honed by the keen eye of founder Connie Lior. For more than a quarter-century, the boutique has supported artists while cultivating a wide selection of uncommon gifts, including the Lillo Studio glass heart box($35), which ably stores jewelry or sets of gold dentures. The shop also specializes in Judaica, from frosted glass Shabbat candlesticks etched with the phrase Shabbat Shalom ($30), to Kiddush cups in materials such as stainless steel, pewter, and glass ($38+). Shoppers can frame an engagement photo or cake-topper portrait within a 4"x6" wedding frame($25) and finally learn Roman numerals with a stained-glass table clock ($55). Accommodating staffers happily provide complimentary shopping counsel or gift-wrapping services, saving customers the inconvenience of wrapping presents in newspaper or old graduate dissertations.
The beastmasters of Turtle Back Zoo fill the troughs of their squawking menagerie with the help of donations through the Adopt-an-Animal program. A framable adoption certificate commemorates the adoption of Turtle Back Zoo's endangered African penguins⎯the noble butlers of the Southern Hemisphere⎯and the donation funds fish reserves, maintenance, and medical needs. Bird-benefactors also receive a photograph of the newest, most feathered member of their family and a bumper sticker with which to emblazon vehicles with a message championing the plight of penguin expatriates. Lodged near the entrance to the zoo, the Adopt-an-Animal Honor Roll Board proclaims the names of trans-species foster parents to visitors and those studious penguins who have learned to read.
Before the archivists of Art and Framing Gallery begin a project, they slip on pairs of cotton gloves. By sheathing their hands, they guard against fingerprints and finger-paints. Their dedication to museum-quality workmanship shines through each project, whether it's a same-day framing job or a standard three- to seven-day order.
In Art and Framing Gallery's showrooms, walls display more than 3,000 frame samples and acre upon acre of mats. Ready-made framed mirrors and artwork also share this space, which connects to in-house workshops. Here, craftsmen cut custom glass and piece together each project. They skillfully preserve artwork and portraits and excel with projects that require special care. They encase delicate antiques in UV-protective glass and display sports jerseys in cases that ward off wrinkling and grass stains.