Bordentown museum will reopen to the public, feature new Bonaparte exhibit

Land in the City of Bordentown once occupied by Joseph Bonaparte, king of Spain and of Naples, has been preserved.

The Bordentown Historical Society (BHS) will reopen the Bordentown Friends Meetinghouse Museum and present its new Joseph Bonaparte exhibit.

The launch of the exhibit marks the first public opening of the meetinghouse in more than two years, according to information provided by BHS. Guests will be hosted in the space following the most significant renovation inside the meetinghouse in more than 20 years.

Starting May 1, the meetinghouse will be open twice a month for visitation, in addition to special events throughout 2022 to educate the public on Joseph Bonaparte, the former King of Naples and Spain.

The doors of the Friends Meetinghouse closed in March of 2020 with the onset of the COVID pandemic. Meanwhile, BHS pursued virtual and outdoor or off-site opportunities to bring Bordentown’s history to the public, according to the statement. Now, two years later, the Bordentown Friends Meetinghouse Museum, the oldest Quaker meetinghouse in Burlington County still located on its original foundation, is reopening. Visitors to the space will notice a cleaned-up appearance and refinished floors funded through a grant from the Society of Colonial Wars of New Jersey.

“We’re extremely excited to welcome guests into the meetinghouse and offer them a first-class experience,” BHS co-President Dr. Steven Lederman said in the statement.

The first exhibit to grace the space will feature Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte, the eldest brother of and advisor to Napoleon Bonaparte.

Co-incident with the recent preservation of the former Point Breeze property once owned by Joseph Bonaparte in Bordentown, the BHS has assembled an exhibit and will present a series of events to explore this famous resident’s impact on America and Bordentown, according to the statement.

Peter Tucci, a BHS director and the world’s largest private collector of Joseph Bonaparte letters and memorabilia, has been hands-on with helping to assemble the exhibit and series, according to the statement.

Experts will offer narratives on the furniture that came from the mansion on display at the Friends meetinghouse, an archaeologist’s perspective of life on the property, a review of artworks that were on display in Joseph’s mansions, and more.

Additional details will be announced in the coming months.

“Joseph Bonaparte was happy to open his land and share his resources with the people of Bordentown when he lived here. It’s fitting that spirit should live on there today,” Tucci said in the statement.

The Friends Meetinghouse Museum reopening and grand opening of the Joseph Bonaparte Exhibit is scheduled for May 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 302 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown.

Visitors are welcome to stop by to view the Bonaparte exhibit.

“We are honored to have with us noted author, Patricia Tyson Stroud, who will be signing copies of her updated paperback version of her book, ‘The Man Who Had Been King,’ ” co-President Bonnie Goldman said in the statement. T

hereafter, the Meetinghouse is currently scheduled to be open on the first and third Saturdays monthly from May to December, or by appointment.

For more information, visit www.BordentownHistoricalSociety.com.

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