County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences now open

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In keeping with the historical use of the building, the Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences officially opened its doors last month, giving county residents an opportunity to discover the region’s history.

With 40 different historical societies over 40 municipalities in the county, the museum’s Curator of History Marisa Bozarth believes the Lyceum will help tie each community’s background together.

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“We don’t have anything like this in the county that tells the overall history of Burlington County,” Marisa Bozarth, the museum’s curator, said. “We have museums and other places that tell you the individual location’s story, but nothing that tells the whole story of what happened here.”

Built in the 1830’s, the Langstaff Mansion in Mount Holly now houses the museum and has become the county’s first general history and natural science museum. Before it was purchased by the county in 2013, the building was home to the Mount Holly Library, which was also the depository for 127 original volumes of the Library Company of Bridgetown.

In an effort to preserve and interpret the history of the county, the two-story building will host temporary exhibits and programs each month to study its various communities, their cultures and connections to the world both historically and modern.

“We’ll have temporary exhibits open on the first floor only, some of which will relate to the history of the building, the history of the library and some of it will relate to the history of the Rancocas Creek – transportation along the creek historically, and some of the natural features of it too,” said Bozarth.

With 13 newly renovated rooms throughout the building along with a main community room on the first floor that can seat over 50 people, Bozarth hopes to utilize each space for presentations, lectures and programs for youth and adults, and become a main source for researchers of the area.

“Eventually, the museum will be for permanent exhibits and a research library on the second floor – we’ll incorporate the whole building into it,” Bozarth said. “We’re also hoping to do camps, different types of programming for youth and other things like that you’d find at your typical museums.”

In addition to the installation of exhibits and visual demonstrations for the museum, the landscaping of the property will be restored as well to replicate the way the Langstaff Mansion looked from High Street in the 1800s.

As the museum continues to open its doors to help residents learn and reflect on the county’s history, Bozarth said she is excited for the Lyceum to not only become an educational center for the community, but to showcase the county’s global influence.

“One of our overarching goals when we tell the county’s history is to show people how the county fits into the rest of the world – how we’re not in our own little bubble here,” said Bozarth. “We want our programs to tie the greater picture with us individually.”

If you have an object, photograph or story to share, donate or loan to the Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences, email the facility at parks@co.burlington.nj.us or visit the location at 307 High St. Mount Holly, NJ.

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