SPECIAL EVENTS & PROGRAMMING
Rockingham offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year. Our largest annual events are the Holiday Candlelight Tour in early December and Children's Day in early May, both presented with the help of the volunteers from The Rockingham Association, the Montgomery High School Live Historians and the Stony Brook Garden Club.
Other programs focus on various aspects of Colonial life and may be more appropriate for adults only or may be of interest to children as well. Please see below for more information.
We are currently offering the following programming:
The following two tours are available by pre-registration only.
Please go to rockingham1783.eventbrite.com to see the dates and times that the tours are offered and to "buy" your tickets for the tours! Tickets must be purchased at least 24 hours ahead of tour time.
The tours are free, but donations are gratefully accepted at the time of the tours.
Rockingham served as General George Washington's final wartime headquarters in later 1783 but that is not the whole story. The property had multiple owners over its three-hundred-plus-years-long history, changed in size and scope and was moved three times. Come along on an exploration of Rockingham’s history, it’s changing architecture and address, varied owners and property lay-out with help from the exterior of the house itself, maps and period images. The, inside the house we will focus on General Washington's stay, including who accompanied him and what occurred at that time in the house's history!
The tour is limited to 10 people. Please be aware that the outdoor portion is on gravel and sand paths and grass, but no paved paths, so wear appropriate footwear for the season and weather. Outside portion may be shortened due to inclement weather. Facial coverings are REQUIRED in the house.
Fennel for Fleas: 18th-Century Kitchen Gardens, Plants and Their Uses
18th-century kitchen gardens can be thought of as the supermarkets of their times, but in one’s own backyard. They were filled with plants that provided food for the household (peas and carrots anyone?). But they also provided ingredients for household and personal use, such as for keeping fleas from your bed or cleaning your skin, as well as for medicinal use for ailments and injuries. Join us to learn more about kitchen gardens in colonial times and to explore the Rockingham kitchen garden to see what is growing as well as the uses of various plants.
The tour is limited to 15 people. Please be aware that the walk includes gravel and sand paths and grass, but no paved paths, so wear appropriate footwear for the season and weather. Tour may be cancelled due to inclement weather.
Virtual Children's Day
w/ Montgomery Township High School Live Historians
Children’s Day is an annual outdoor event at Rockingham, enjoyed by many over the years. It encourages children of all ages to explore the 18th-century era by playing with period games and toys, trying on clothes, sampling cookie recipes, making crafts, talking to Revolutionary-era soldiers and learning about what it may have been like to live in George Washington’s time. The Montgomery Township High School Live Historians club has been involved with this program over its many years, assisting Rockingham by basically running the show, dressing in period clothing and helping the visitors experience all that is offered.
In 2020, we could not hold our event due to COVID restrictions. This year, too, it was too soon to plan a larger event such as this for May when it usually takes place. But the Montgomery Docents, as they call themselves these days, decided they did not want another Children’s Day to pass by without some way to reach the young folk of the area and remind them what Children’s Day will be again in the future. So, they created six short videos (and an introduction) showing some of the activities that were part of the program in the past: clothing, games, crafts, baking cookies and even dancing! These videos can be viewed on their YouTube page here!
While we are sorry we can’t be together for Rockingham’s Children’s Day 2021, we hope you enjoy watching, maybe remembering having joined us in years past, and that the videos give you an incentive to (hopefully next year) experience Children’s Day once again in person!
We thank the Montgomery Docents who participated: Siya, Emily, Shriya, Catherine, Ashley, Skyler, Noa and Nikki (with the booster support of their advisor, Gene Porcelli) for their time, imagination and talents in creating these videos from start to finish!
For those who missed our Virtual VIP Tour of Mount Vernon, the historic home of General & President George Washington in Virginia, with an expert curator shown live on February 10, the recording is now available on the Discover DEP (New Jersey) YouTube page HERE!. This special two-hour presentation was made possible by the gracious sponsorship of The Rockingham Association, Batsto Citizens Committee, Friends of the Indian King Tavern and Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage.
Recent events have also included:
a workshop "From Fleece to Wool and Flax to Linen", explaining harvesting, preparing and spinning sheep's wool and flax in the 18th century; attendees were given the chance to card wool and spin yarn on a drop spindle.
a celebration of George Washington's birthday. Director Lisa Flick designed an afternoon of special Washington themed tours and trivia questions for which visitors--adult and children alike--could win prizes. Special birthday tri-corner hats, Washington cake and punch were provided to all those who attended.
"Anatomy of a Death: Death and Dying in the 18th Century" - Volunteer actors re-enacted the activities which occurred after a death in the colonial period. Participants then followed a trail along the Delaware and Raritan Canal to the Kingston Presbyterian Church Cemetery for a tour of the gravestones there.
entertainment by The Practitioners of Musick with English flute and harpsichord.
reenactments of the Berrien family and Revolutionary War artillery units
Please check the website regularly for announcements of future events and programs.
History to Go!
The Children's Museum at Rockingham sponsors an outreach history project: History to Go!. This program is an opportunity for your groups to prepare to come to Rockingham, or to have Rockingham come to them! This program enables groups to see and use some of the most popular items from our Children's Museum in the convenience of their own classroom, living room or civic center.
How did this program begin?
Rockingham, with the support of the New Jersey State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, realized that many people of all walks are interested in learning about American History. The most effective way of teaching is a "hands-on" approach where one can touch items, play games, and try on clothing from Colonial times. Rockingham wanted a program that would be available to all, regardless of their ability to come to our historic site.
Who can use this program?
Anyone who wants to learn! Classroom groups that are planning to come to Rockingham while studying the Revolutionary War may use History to Go! In preparation for their visit. Other schools who are unable to come to Rockingham may want to use this project to supplement textbook explanations of the Colonial period. Scout troops, church groups, community centers, clubs, families, or home school organizations and all interested parties are encouraged to contact the site office for further information.
What is included in the project?
The basic program consists of lesson plans, recipes, children's period-style clothing pieces, accessories, hats, personal items, games, books and craft projects all housed in three baskets. Extra quill pens with ink can be requested (must be ordered in advance) for an additional charge of $4.00 each.
What is the fee for?
There is a $35 fee for this program, to be paid at the time the baskets are picked up.
To Reserve the Program:
Call the Office (609) 683-7132 when the site is open to arrange a time to see the baskets and contents. We will help you to tailor the program to the needs of your group!
Rockingham State Historic Site
P.O. Box 496
Kingston, NJ 08528
This program was made possible by a generous donation of the New Jersey State Society of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Children of the American Revolution, Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission, and Forbes Newspapers.