The New Jersey State Museum is an interdisciplinary museum offering collections, exhibitions and programs in science, history and art. The museum has a small number of artifacts and artworks that relate to the American Revolution. The exhibition Remembering the Revolution explores how artists and artisans in the 19th and 20th centuries used New Jersey’s Revolutionary War past as inspiration for their creative works in the fine and decorative arts. The highlights of the exhibition are Thomas Eakins’ original bronze panels depicting Washington Crossing the Delaware and the opening of the Battle of Trenton. These magnificent panels were installed in 1895 on the Trenton Battle Monument, but in 1970 were removed to protect them from corrosion and transferred to the State Museum.
Remembering the Revolution also exhibits an array of ceramics made in Trenton – the Staffordshire of America – that depict George Washington and other Revolutionary War heroes and leaders. Most notable among these ceramics is the much-heralded Washington Tea Set by Trenton porcelain artist Isaac Broome. The piece was exhibited at the 1876 Centennial International Exposition, a world’s fair held in Philadelphia to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Another Revolutionary-war themed piece can be found on the third floor of the Museum. In 1881, the United States commemorated the centennial anniversary of the 1781 Battle of Yorktown with a grand military encampment. There, New Jersey’s “Yorktown Battalion” defeated military units from fifteen states to earn top honors for their proficiency in dress, drill and discipline. Their trophy was a magnificent silver urn made by Tiffany & Company and decorated with scenes of the battle and other patriotic motifs. This so-called Yorktown Cup is on long-term view at the State Museum.
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