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November 21, 2003

Contact: Elaine Makatura (609) 292-2994
Dana Loschiavo (609) 984-1423



(03/171) MANALAPAN - The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will unveil Caught in the Crossfire: Churches, Taverns and the Revolution in New Jersey, at the Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitor's Center, on Sunday, November 23, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

"New Jersey has an incredible inventory of American Revolutionary War sites and a fascinating history that accompanies them," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "As we continue to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the American Revolution, this exhibit presents an ideal opportunity to highlight the state's heritage and its contributions to the cause of American liberty."

"The New Jersey State Museum is honored and proud to join with Commissioner Campbell and the Monmouth Battlefield State Park to share this traveling exhibition with the residents of Monmouth County and the citizens of the State," said Secretary of State Regena Thomas. "New Jersey is the Crossroads of the Revolution. Through exhibitions such as Caught in the Crossfire, we can share with new generations the story of our great State and its people."

Caught in the Crossfire: Churches, Taverns and Revolution in New Jersey explores the role of churches and taverns during the American Revolution with insights into the sacred and secular spirit of the time when the nation was founded. The traveling exhibit features a selection of images, documents and reproduction artifacts on view at the Monmouth Battlefield State Park's Visitor Center through February 1, 2004.

The opening of this exhibit also includes an illustrated lecture on the 1778 geography of the battlefield presented by Garry Stone, State Park Historian, a discussion by author David Martin and a guided hike to the hedgerow and parsonage sites. The historic Craig House, located within Monmouth Battlefield also will be open to visitors until 4:00 p.m.

From late 1776 through 1781, New Jersey was a war zone. With official public buildings few and far between, New Jerseyans sought out other places to debate and discuss America's future. Churches and taverns located throughout the colony became venues for expression and reflected the diversity of opinion that characterized New Jersey on the eve of Revolution. Tavern keepers and patrons, clergymen and congregants often found themselves caught in the crossfire as war raged around and about them.

Organized by the New Jersey State Museum, the traveling exhibit is an adaptation of a larger exhibition of the same title at the Museum's Auditorium Galleries in Trenton. This project is supported by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission in the New Jersey Department of State. Additional support is provided by the Friends of the New Jersey State Museum.



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