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.
As the season has changed to autumn and mostly cooler temperatures, we have adjusted out programming schedule (with afternoon tours and mini talks in the barn added). Please note that the historic house remains closed to the public as do the restrooms.
We hope you can join us on a tour, in the barn and/or just exploring the grounds and look forward to seeing your sunny faces (or at least your bright, beautiful eyes)!
Dutch Barn Open House & Show-and-Tell
The Dutch barn continues being open with a chance to see the late 18th-century frame reconstruction and to ask questions about our historic property and its history. Now we have also added “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):
Fridays, 1:15 – 2:45 pm*
Saturdays, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon/1:15 – 2:45 pm*
Sundays, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
* will be open later if no one has signed up for Evolution tour that day
No reservation required, but occupancy limits will be maintained as needed and face masks are REQUIRED to enter!
Pre-registration is required for both of the following outdoor tours.
Please make your reservation by 4 pm the day before the tour at the latest,
by emailing and including:
your last name
tour name and date
# of people in your group
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.
Thursdays @ 11:00 am & 2:00 pm – Oct. 1, 8, (none on the 15th), 22, 29
Saturdays @ 11:00 am & 2:00 pm – Oct. 3, 10, (none on the 17th), 24, 31
Meet in kitchen garden on south side (front) of house
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.
Fridays @ 11:00 am & 3:00 pm – Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Saturdays @ 3:00 pm – Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
Sundays @ 11:00 am - Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25 & Nov. 1
Meet in barn
PLEASE NOTE: The garden tour is limited to 10 people and the architecture tour is limited to 15 people. Masks are required when social distancing is not possible, so make sure to bring them along. Also, since the tours are held outdoors, please dress for the weather and wear closed-toed shoes as part of the tours will be off walkways. On sunny days we recommend bringing a hat or sunshade, sunscreen and water. Steady rain and/or lightening will cancel a tour.
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.