I like to drive. I especially love aimless drives with no specific destination. Sometimes I find or see something interesting and sometimes I don't. I recently drove through Madison NJ and saw the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts in what appeared to be an old church. I didn't stop in then, but I knew I would be checking it out and that was my destination today.
Originally the towns library, a wealthy summer resident D. Willis James had it built using all the best materials and it shows. It is a beautiful building. It opened in 1900 and until a replacement was built, which I think they said was in the 1960's. I was told that the building was left unlocked 24 hours a day so that people who worked odd hours and were unable to come in during the day, could come in anytime and read the newspapers, etc. I was also told that the childrens library was across the street in this building
Being old enough to use the big library was evidently a big deal. There is a bookstore now where the childrens library once was, on the bottom right of the photo.
There was a really interesting exhibit about the indians who had originally inhabited the area, the Lenape, also known as the Delaware. Here is a picture of the headman of the tribe, pretty much the equivalent of a king, there is also a war mallet. Imagine the damage that thing could do. It's very solid looking.
There were many interesting exhibits about early trades, such as blacksmiths, cabinet makers, shoe makers, farmers and apprentices. They also spoke about what both men and women did and at what ages. It looks like they do quite a few childrens programs as well.
The building is incredibly beautiful. Here are a couple of the windows
Here are a couple interior pictures
The second floor is actually thick glass which allows extra light through to the first floor. You can see the wrought iron railing up there, which is also beautiful. There is little in this building which is not. I spent a couple of hours here, browsing the exhibits and talking to the director. I was the only paying visitor while I was there, although I bet the place is much busier on weekends. I'm glad I checked it out.
I stopped in a toy store downtown on Main St. and picked up a couple of fun things for my grandsons and got a couple of cupcakes to go from Hey Cupcake! I ate one for dessert tonight and it was excellent! http://madison.injersey.com/2010/06/17/eating-out-in-madison-hey-cupcake/
When I went back to my car (free parking, no meters, yay!) and saw this little trap door open in front of a restaurant. I saw a man going in and out of it, and it just amused me. You just don't see this sort of thing in Michigan where I was raised!
Madison is a pleasant town. I'm glad I had a chance to check out some of what it has to offer.