WHEREAS, the Museum, founded in 1984, is a 30,000-square-foot facility that serves as the sole public repository for New Jersey’s agricultural heritage; and
WHEREAS, that building and surrounding facilities are in dire need of extensive, major repairs, including but not limited to: replacement of the building roof and heating system, and addressing a recurring problem with sink holes on the property; and
WHEREAS, more than two-thirds of the collection of agricultural artifacts maintained by the Museum were originally provided by Cook College, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, the mission of the Museum is to “communicate the vital relationship of agriculture to food and fiber, science and technology, the environment and everyday life through exhibits and educational programs connecting the past, present and future”; and
WHEREAS, the Museum has a vision to be “recognized as a premier destination and educational resource that fosters an appreciation of the dynamic and integral role of agriculture in all facets of life”; and
WHEREAS, the Museum has seen a steady increase in the number of school children visiting each year, from 5,277 visitors representing 98 schools in 2002 to 13,100 visitors representing 162 schools in 2008; and
WHEREAS, the expansion of the Museum’s remarkable education programs is a worthy goal as it increases the knowledge among our State’s residents about the value of agriculture in maintaining a high quality of life in New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, like many public institutions, lack of funding for the Museum remains a constant struggle, as well as a hindrance to the ability of the Museum to adequately convey its important message to the public; therefore, support from New Jersey’s agricultural industry, both financial and other, is needed to keep New Jersey’s agricultural story alive; and
WHEREAS, over the years, the Museum has experienced a drastic decrease in state funding from $300,000 to $90,000, resulting in staff cutbacks and the deferring of crucial maintenance projects.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 94th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on February 11, 2009, call on all New Jersey agricultural organizations to recognize the Museum’s financial plight, and renew their appreciation and financial support for the Museum.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (formerly Cook College), the Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture, to work cooperatively to implement the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture’s 2009 Action Plan, as attached to this resolution.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call upon the Governor and the Legislature to immediately address this dire situation by identifying a stable funding source for Museum operations, capable of providing the Museum with sufficient financial resources to cover both the operational costs and promotional costs to ensure the public is aware that this invaluable institution exists.
New Jersey Museum of Agriculture
P.O. Box 7788, North Brunswick, NJ 08902
Phone: 732-249-2077 * Fax: 732-247-1035
New Jersey Museum of Agriculture
2009 Action Plan
- Mission of the Museum
To communicate the vital relationship of agriculture to food and fiber, science and technology, the environment and everyday life through exhibits and educational programs connecting the past, present and future.
To be recognized as a premier destination and educational resource that fosters an appreciation of the dynamic and integral role of agriculture in all facets of life.
- Outline of Programs and Exhibitions
- The New Jersey Museum of Agriculture offers several programs for children and adults throughout the year.
- School programs offer children in grades Pre-K to 8 the opportunity to learn about agriculture through a fun, hands-on experience.
- School tour topics include “Dear Dairy Diary”, “All About Wheat”, “Little Red Hen”, “Lenape Indians”, “All About Wool”, “Let’s Meet the Sheep”, “Pig Tales”, and “Farm Chores Tour.”
- Over 13,000 school children from over 160 schools attended the museum in 2008.
- This number increases each year due to word of mouth, advertising, media interest, and participation at the New Jersey Education Association Teacher’s Convention.
- Outreach Education Program brings two of the school tour topics (All About Milk and Let’s Meet the Sheep) to schools and institutions that are unable to come to the museum due to transportation or other travel restrictions.
- During the summer months, the museum’s education department offers a “Summer Farm Chores Tour” that area day camps, recreation departments, and summer school systems can participate in.
- This thematic tour includes a guided visit to the Cook Campus animal barns and two hands-on learning stations in the museum.
- The popularity of these tours continues to grow every summer, and it is through the development, implementation, and promotion of these programs that the museum attracts visitors.
- Weekend events are held at least once a month at the museum.
- These programs are thematic in nature, and focus on harvests, processes, and traditions in agriculture.
- Weekend events are developed for families with children.
- Popular weekend events include “All About Maple Syrup”, “Dairy Day”, “Pig Tales”, “National Ice Cream Day”, “Peter Rabbit Garden”, “Barnyard Buddies”, “Fall Fun”, and “Winter Celebration”.
- Addition of new weekend workshop “Allure of Chocolate”, a program that is co-sponsored by the Historic Village of Old Bridge and Birnn Chocolates.
- The museum offers day camps for children ages 6-11 during the summer break.
- Attendance at these camps has grown progressively over the years.
- Camps offer children an in-depth look at agriculture through lessons, crafts, games and other activities.
- The close relationship with Cook Animal Care Department and the close proximity to their animal barns is an attractive factor to visiting the museum and participating in one of the programs offered.
- Staff members feel that it is the joy of interacting with a wide array of barnyard animals and their offspring that truly attracts children and families to the programs offered by the museum.
- The museum houses five permanent display areas within the building.
- The Hall of Machines displays several pieces of large agricultural machinery. Two large quilts that were made by various agricultural organizations during a Farmland Preservation campaign in 1990 flank the room.
- The Hall of Transportation houses wagons, carriages, sleighs, tractors, ice harvesting tools, and household items from the Wabun C. Krueger Collection of Household Artifacts.
- Upstairs in the Hall of Crops, the museum has a Lenape Indians wigwam replica, Lenape Indian artifacts, and tools and machinery of five of New Jersey’s top crops; corn, wheat, hay, potatoes, and poultry.
- Across the catwalk area, the museum displays several plows, including the renowned Deats Number 6 plow.
- Tucked inside the Hall of Trades are a fully appointed general store, a tin shop, and a horse collar shop. Also on display are “tools of the trade” for making split rail fencing, blacksmithing, broom making, and a large display of spinning wheels, yarn winders, and belt lathes.
- The Jersey Fresh Wing boasts a large variety of artifacts related to some of New Jersey’s favorite fruits and vegetables; apples, cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and potatoes. Also on display is a large observation beehive and beekeeping artifacts to communicate the relationship that honeybees have in pollinating New Jersey crops.
- The Bristol-Myers Squibb Exhibit Hall is dedicated to displaying changing exhibits.
- In October 2008, a new exhibit, “25 Years and Still Growing – Celebrating Jersey Fresh”, was installed in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Exhibit Hall. This exhibit showcases the creation of the Jersey Fresh marketing program, the way the Jersey Fresh grading program is utilized, the way the program has expanded over the last twenty-five years, and how the program influenced other States to create similar programs of their own.
- Membership Report and Development Plan
Museum membership is vital to the economic growth and development of the museum. Currently, approximately 384 members are on the membership database. Visitors are encouraged to sign-up to become a member. Member benefits are free admission to the Museum, a quarterly newsletter, a 10% discount on special events, programs, and Museum Store merchandise. New members are recruited by encouraging visitors to sign-up for membership and by word of mouth encouragement from the current members.
The museum’s membership development plan is currently being reviewed for expansion possibilities. The museum’s Board of Trustees and Staff continue to work on a new strategic plan, which would address new initiatives in membership development.
- Fundraising Programs and Activities
The museum holds several fundraising activities throughout the year. In addition to the educational programs and weekend events, the museum offers thematic birthday parties and room rentals to generate non-traditional revenue. Two major fundraising events are held each year. The annual “Plant and Landscape Auction” is traditionally held on the first Saturday of May and the “Annual Dinner – A Jersey Fresh Evening” is held in late September/early October. Additionally, a “Tricky Tray Auction” was held in November 2008. The Museum Staff implemented a small book sale fundraiser in 2008 and will hold another book sale in 2009. Smaller fundraising events are held with, or by, other agricultural organizations such as the New Jersey State Grange and the New Jersey Farm Bureau.
The museum’s fundraising plan is currently being reviewed for expansion possibilities.
- Personnel and Volunteer Status
The museum currently employs two full time and ten part time employees. Of the 17 part time employees, four follow a permanent schedule of hours while the remaining 13 employees follow a flexible schedule of hours.
The museum currently has two dedicated volunteers who oversee the Archives and Collections Departments. In addition to these two volunteers, the museum has a roster of over 20 volunteers who help with school tours, weekend events, and fundraising activities.
The museum’s Board of Trustees and Staff are working on a new strategic plan, which would address new initiatives in recruiting new volunteers and expanding the staff to accommodate new programs and services.
- Collection Maintenance and Development
Two dedicated volunteers maintain the Archives and Collections Departments. Each volunteer works at the museum at least one day a week. Anyone who wishes to donate an artifact to the museum can contact the museum office and leave their contact information. The museum office staff will relay the message to the volunteer curators. Both curators will return the prospective donor’s telephone call and arrangements will be made for the artifact(s) to be delivered to the museum.
Any new items donated to the museum are cataloged and entered into the collections database. If the new item is suitable for immediate viewing by the general public, the artifact is placed into the current display in the museum. Other artifacts are stored in one of the three storage buildings that the museum uses.
- Meaningful and Measurable Performance Indicators to Guide, Direct and Evaluate the Growth of the Museum.
- 2009 Admission Count sheet will be calculated.
- 2007 Financial Audit
- The 2008 audit will be conducted in late May or early June of 2009. Reporting of the audit is scheduled for August 2009.
- 2008-2009 Board of Trustees Minutes (July 2008 to June 2009)
- Any Other Major Management Report from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009
- Museum Manager Reports
- Board of Trustees related paperwork