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About Us

The historical society was officially organized on October 23, 1928, and incorporated March 2, 1935, as the Basking Ridge Historical Society. The organization restructured in 1988 to include the five communities of the Somerset Hills: Bedminster Township, Bernards Township, Bernardsville, Far Hills, and Peapack-Gladstone, and changed its name to The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH).

THSSH’s mission is to acquire, conserve and share historic artifacts and information; cultivate interest in local history; encourage preservation; facilitate research; interpret the Brick Academy; and operate the local history museum. The by-laws of the non-profit organization calls for a board of trustees to govern the operation. The board meets monthly and conducts several general membership meetings annually. Our committees include: Advertising, Affiliations, Archives & Research, Bookstore, Building Maintenance, Clerical, Community Outreach, Education, Fund Raising, Gardens & Grounds, Hospitality, Membership, Museum, Newsletter & Publications, Public Relations, Publicity, Programs, and Website/Social Media.

The Historical Society is headquartered at the Brick Academy, in Basking Ridge town center. The 1809 Federal-style building was constructed by Reverend Dr. Robert Finley as a classical school that prepared young men for college. Through the years it has served as a public school, union meeting hall, and municipal building. Today, the Brick Academy, listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, comprises a museum of local artifacts, a 1890s schoolroom and a research center.

 

Our Mission

  • Acquire, conserve and share historic artifacts and information
  • Cultivate interest in local history
  • Encourage preservation; facilitate research
  • Interpret the Brick Academy
  • Operate the local history museum

The Brick Academy

Known also as the original Basking Ridge Classical School, the 1809 Federal-style Brick Academy located in the center of the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township has been a boys’ private preparatory school, a public school, a meeting hall for several fraternal and benevolent organizations, and the Bernards Township municipal building.

The Brick Academy is known also as the original Basking Ridge Classical School, the 1809 Federal-style Brick Academy located in the center of the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township. The structure has also served as a boys’ private preparatory school, a public school, a meeting hall for several fraternal and benevolent organizations, the Bernards Township Police Department, and the Bernards Township municipal building.

It currently serves as the headquarters of The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills, as well as a schoolhouse and museum to local history.

In 1976 the Brick Academy was leased by the Township to The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills, which uses the Brick Academy for its headquarters and public meetings, and operates a museum, a one room schoolhouse, and research library. Learn more

Committees

Raise Your Hand…Volunteer!

Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy.  When you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.

Volunteering to serve on one of our committees is one of the most rewarding reasons for joining our organization. Be part of a group of dedicated volunteers and members that continue to work to educate, learn, and serve our community.  Contact Us to learn more about how you can join The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills as a volunteer.

ADVERTISING

Are you a salesperson at heart?  Solicit local businesses to place advertisements in our newsletter, Inside the Brick Academy, and fundraiser print pieces.

AFFILIATIONS

THSSH is a current member of the Somerset County Historical Society; League of Historical Societies of New Jersey; National Trust for Historic Preservation; and Preservation New Jersey.

ARCHIVES & RESEARCH

Do you like to talk to people?  Our volunteers connect with the community to talk about how THSSH is working to enhance history in the Somerset Hills.

Advertising

Are you a salesperson at heart?  Solicit local businesses to place advertisements in our newsletter, Inside the Brick Academy, as well as fundraiser print pieces.

  • Visit local businesses to ask for their support of THSSH
  • Work with the local business to design their space-appropriate ads
  • Create invoices and oversee payment for advertising

Affiliations

THSSH is a current member of the Somerset County Historical Society; League of Historical Societies of New Jersey; National Trust for Historic Preservation; and Preservation New Jersey.

  • Identify and maintain memberships with affiliate organizations
  • Maintain relationships with affiliate organizations
  • Compose correspondences related to affiliate organizations

Archives & Research

We provide people who love history an opportunity to do important work with people, schools and organizations throughout the Somerset Hills. The lower level of the Academy serves as a research room and contains books, photographs, documents, postcards, maps, deeds, family and street files and more.

  • Provide telephone and face-to-face consultation on local history subjects
  • Set up and maintain library of general research, as all as rare and local books
  • Manage archival files
  • Review and catalog archival acquisitions
  • Photograph and digitize documents
  • Maintain digital catalog of archival materials
  • Compose correspondence related to research

BOOKSTORE

Our Bookstore is great place for books, many of which can’t be found anywhere else locally, as well as gift items related to the Somerset Hills.  As a volunteer in our Bookstore, you can decide what goes on our shelves.

BUILDING MAINTENANCE

As a member of this committee, you will be involved with keeping the Brick Academy in tip-top shape.

CLERICAL

Do you like things to be organized?  Getting to what you want when you want it is critical.  THSSH needs volunteers to help keep us organized.

Bookstore

Our Bookstore is great place for books, many of which can’t be found anywhere else locally, as well as gift items related to the Somerset Hills. As a volunteer in our Bookstore, you can decide what goes on our shelves.

  • Locate and acquire books and gift items of local interest
  • Price and display books and gift items on shelves
  • Maintain inventory of book and gift items

Building Maintenance

As a member of this committee, you will be involved with keeping the Brick Academy in tip-top shape.

  • Supervise maintenance of the Brick Academy
  • Contact Bernards Township for major building issues (e.g. heat, electricity) and repairs
  • Obtain cost estimates from professional contractors for small building issues and repairs
  • Oversee building projects to completion
  • Report on building projects to THSSH Board of Trustees
  • Schedule cleaning of the Brick Academy

Clerical

Getting to what you want when you want it is critical. THSSH needs volunteers to help keep us organized.

  • Maintain administrative files
  • Schedule meetings on the monthly calendar
  • Collect and record contributions and bookstore sales
  • Schedule museum docents

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

Do you like to talk to people?  Our volunteers connect with the community to talk about how THSSH is working to enhance history in the Somerset Hills.

EDUCATION

The mission of the Education Committee is to carry out youth and adult educational programs.

FUND RAISERS

Our premier fundraiser is the biennial Holiday House Tour in the Somerset Hills.  As a volunteer, you can also identify and organize other fundraiser opportunities.

Community Outreach

Do you like to talk to people? Our volunteers connect with the community to talk about how THSSH is working to enhance history in the Somerset Hills.

In order for the community to gain an understanding of our mission and to raise consciousness of the historical heritage of the Somerset Hills, THSSH participates in Somerset County and Somerset Hills history-related events. Some major events include:

Charter DayMay
Lord Stirling 1770s FestivalOctober
Weekend Journey through the PastOctober

Additional joint partnerships are formed with other local organizations for special community events.

GARDENS & GROUNDS

If landscape design and light garden maintenance brings you joy, come volunteer to work on our gardens and grounds.

HOSPITALITY

Do you enjoy event planning?  Are you creative and enjoy decorating?  Do you have ideas for activities that can be enjoyed by the public?

MEMBERSHIP

An important objective for the Historical Society is to constantly grow and maintain membership.

Gardens & Grounds

If landscape design and light garden maintenance brings you joy, come volunteer to work on our gardens and grounds.

  • Supervise the landscape design and seasonal maintenance of the Brick Academy gardens and grounds
  • Collaborate with the Basking Ridge Garden Club and local florist shops for special holiday and/or event decorations

Hospitality

Do you enjoy event planning? Are you creative and enjoy decorating? Do you have ideas for activities that can be enjoyed by the public?

  • Plan, purchase, set-up and clean-up during Brick Academy programs and events
  • Decorate the Brick Academy
  • Create invitations

Membership

An important objective for the Historical Society is to constantly grow and maintain membership. Developing membership recruitment drives and initiatives is a top goal for THSSH. Current membership initiatives are through the organizations website, at community events and at the Brick Academy.

  • Maintain the membership list
  • Update the membership directory
  • Compose general correspondence and eBlasts to members
  • Organize annual membership drive mailing

MUSEUM

The Brick Academy serves as a museum of local artifacts and information, the only one of its kind in the Somerset Hills.

NEWSLETTER & PUBLICATIONS

Work on stories for Inside the Brick Academy, THSSH’s newsletter, and interact with the local print shop.

PROGRAMS

An excited, and exciting group of volunteers dream up programs that will engage the public in the history of the Somerset Hills.

Museum

The Brick Academy serves as a museum of local artifacts and information, the only one of its kind in the Somerset Hills.

  • Review and process artifacts for acquisition and de-acquisition in accordance with museum policies
    Maintain the acquisition computer database
  • Add/delete items on the New Jersey Digital Highway (NJDH) site
  • Source, identify, photograph, label and display (or store) artifacts in the Brick Academy
  • Design, install and maintain museum exhibits throughout the building
  • Provide artifacts from THSSH collections on short-term, long-term, or permanent loan
  • Collaborate with other history organizations
  • Design, install and maintain exhibits at Somerset Hills libraries, partner museums and other venues upon request
  • Manage various project to enrich the museum experience

Newsletter & Publications

Work on stories for Inside the Brick Academy, THSSH’s newsletter, and interact with the local print shop.

  • Design and produce marketing literature, promotional pieces and office stationery

Programs

An excited, and exciting group of volunteers dream up programs that will engage the public in the history of the Somerset Hills.

  • Brainstorm ideas for programs
  • Develop program proposals to be presented to the Board of Trustees
  • Organize and manage programs
  • Write program recap, capturing data and information to guide future programs

PUBLIC RELATIONS

Be the face of THSSH!  If you like to get up in front of people and tell stories, we need you to be the person who makes announcements to the public.

PUBLICITY

THSSH utilizes an arrant of newspapers, magazines and websites to promote our activities.

WEBSITE/SOCIAL MEDIA

The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills maintains a high-profile online presence with a dedicated website – http://www.somersethillshistoricalsociety.org.

Public Relations

Be the face of THSSH! If you like to get up in front of people and tell stories, we need you to be the person who makes announcements to the public.

  • General membership meetings, program and events held at the Brick Academy
  • Represent THSSH at award ceremonies and other off-site activities

Publicity

THSSH utilizes an array of newspapers, magazines and websites to promote our activities.

  • create news articles for publication
  • distribute news articles to various publication outlets
  • set up street sign

Website/Social Media

The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills maintains a high-profile online presence with a dedicated website – http://www.somersethillshistoricalsociety.org. THSSH also participates in popular social networking sites including Facebook andTwitter.

Board of Trustees

Based on the bylaws of THSSH, Trustees are elected to serve three year terms.  Trustees meet once a month to conduct official business.

OFFICERS are elected annually by the Board of Trustees.

Paula Axt

Committees:
Education, Maintenance, Programs

Cynthia Crosson

Committees:
Archives & Research

Pat Gray



THSSH PRESIDENT

Florence Hallgring

Committees:
Advertising

Robin Marion

Committees:
Hospitality

THSSH RECORDING SECRETARY

Marcella Miccolis

Committees:
Affiliations, Newsletter & Publications

Larry Terricone

Committees:
Gardens & Grounds, Programs

Meg Wastie

Committees:
Education, Programs

THSSH VICE PRESIDENT

Sue Zibelli

Committees:
Membership, Website & Social Media

THSSH CHAIRMAN

Support Our History

THSSH is committed to supporting history alongside our fellow history centric organizations in our Somerset Hills area. We continue to work with them and support many of their efforts to share common goals, ideas, resources, and partnerships that strenghten our entire efforts. We hope you support them as well.

Learn more