New Jersey State Museum is open online with new digital programming 


Even though the New Jersey State Museum has been closed for the past four months due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the staff has been working from home to bring museum experiences to the public.

In addition to the museum’s regular social media posts, several digital programs have been created to help people continue to engage with the museum’s programs and exhibitions, according to a press release from the museum.

All of the programs mentioned below (except the Summer Evening Zoom Series) can be found on the museum’s website,, the Facebook (@NJStateMuseum) and Instagram (nj_statemuseum) pages.

The museum’s newest program, Summer Evening Zoom Series, was introduced July 16. It will be held at 8 p.m. Aug. 13 and Aug. 27, and presents conversations between museum curators and staff about a range of topics, with each program featuring a thematic drink creation, spirited dialogue and a round of trivia, according to the press release.

The sessions are free, but participants must register in order to be sent the private Zoom link. Visit the museum’s Facebook page and go to the Events section for the Summer Evening Zoom Series registration link.

Curator Nicholas Ciotola and Assistant Curator Dana Ehret wanted to find a way for the public to enjoy their latest exhibition, “Fine Feathered Friends, Birds as Mainstay and Muse.”

The exhibition, which opened in January, features a collection of Boehm porcelain bird sculptures juxtaposed with taxidermy birds from the Natural History collection, original Audubon etchings and related bird objects, according to the press release.

Using images taken before the exhibition opened, they created a virtual exhibit catalogue on Flickr. In addition, Ciotola has produced a series of 10 short videos that are inspired by objects and birds in the exhibition.

The series can be found on the museum’s website under the Exhibits tab or on the Facebook and Instagram pages, according to the press release.

Assistant Curator of Education Diane Watson created the museum’s Maker Space program, which is normally offered weekly during the summer months and school breaks.

Watson, ably assisted by her children, demonstrates a series of 15 projects that expand on museum collections and related topics. The projects mostly use commonly found household craft items and recycled materials.

The Maker Space programs can be accessed from the link on the museum home page and on the Facebook or Instagram pages.

The Small Explorers monthly program was likewise taken online with a series of videos by Early Learning Coordinator Kerry Scott. The program is intended for children from 6 months to 5 years old and their caregivers.

Each video features a topic inspired by a museum object or artwork. Some are longer videos that are meant to simulate the in-person experience and other videos are shorter story times.

The Small Explorers series can be accessed from a link on the museum home page or on the Facebook page, according to the press release.

Virtual sky talks are being created by the museum’s planetarium staff. There are five videos discussing summer constellations and stars, with additional talks being added every two weeks. The sky talks can be accessed from the museum website or the Facebook or Instagram pages.

The New Jersey State Museum is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, work is taking place to ready the museum for reopening with reduced capacity, additional cleaning protocols, social distancing and masks required, according to the press release.