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.
Due to COVID-19 the historic house is closed to the public as are the site restrooms.
In lieu of this, we have been offering the following outdoor programming.
PLEASE CHECK EACH LISTING FOR CURRENT AVAILABILITY.
Dutch Barn Open House & Show-and-Tell
The Dutch barn, when open, offers the chance to see the late 18th-century frame reconstruction and to ask questions about our historic property and its history. We also offer “show-and-tell” in the barn. An item (or items) such as a book, picture, personal item, piece of clothing, furniture, etc. (or multiple items—most will be reproduction or representative of the 18th or 19th century) will be displayed and the historian can discuss the items with visitors who stop in (i.e., about their uses, period significance, ties to Rockingham or 18th or 19th century history, George Washington, how they were made and so on):
Sundays, 1 to 4 pm, unless otherwise posted on our information kiosk
in the parking lot site and on our phone message 609-683-7132.
No reservation required, but socially distanced occupancy limits will be maintained as needed
and face masks are REQUIRED to enter!
The following outdoor tours are available by pre-registration only.
Please contact the site no later than 12 pm (noon) the day before your requested tour
by emailing and including:
your last name
tour name and preferred date and time
# of people in your group
You are not registered until you receive an email back confirming your reservation.
The tours are free, but donations are gratefully accepted.
Rockingham’s Evolution: Architecture, History and Location
Rockingham did not just spring from the ground spontaneously and fully formed because George Washington needed a place to stay in 1783 and it certainly was not originally found at 84 Laurel Avenue. The property had multiple owners over its three-hundred-plus-years-long history, changed in size and scope and was moved three times. The house grew in stages from a small two-room-plus-lean-to home to its present size (with some reconstruction) and switched orientation. 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 tour is limited to 20 people and proper face coverings are required when social distancing is not possible, so make sure to bring one along with you. 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 canceled due to inclement weather.
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 and proper face coverings are required when social distancing is not possible, so make sure to bring one along with you. 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.
Currently not offered but will return later in the spring.
Rockingham History Scavenger Hunt
During the continuing pandemic, the historic house remains closed to the public. Since visitors can’t learn about the house and its history by taking an inside tour, in addition to our outdoor historian-guided Rockingham’s Evolution tour we have developed a history scavenger hunt that can be done on your own singly or as a group visiting the grounds anytime between dawn and dusk. As you walk from the parking lot around the buildings and garden and back to the parking lot, you search for clues in the form of words, pictures, objects, plants, architectural features, etc. with questions to go with them. We have also included a driving tour of the 3 previous locations of the historic house (all within 2 miles of the current location) if you wish to explore further and farther. Prior knowledge of Rockingham’s history is not necessary (but is a bonus!) as you will certainly
have a better understanding after you are done and also have fun along the way! Some questions are easy, and some take a little more thinking, so all ages can join in. You can follow in the order of numbering (easiest) or jump around at your pleasure! The hunt is meant to be either downloaded to a portable device or printed out to bring with you. Answers are included, but we hope you will try to figure out each question without skipping ahead.
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.
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.