The Practice & The Patent

Current Exhibit

The Practice & The Patent


Healthcare in the Early 20th Century


This exhibition examines the topic of healthcare in the Meadowlands region, from around 1900-1950. New Jersey has a history of being a significant center of health care and pharmaceutical companies. One such medical supply company, Becton Dickinson, was located in Rutherford, the same town as the museum, and had a large impact on many facets of healthcare, from eradicating contagious diseases to treating serious ailments. Amidst these larger changes, doctor’s practices may seem unfamiliar compared to our contemporary visits. Many performed house-calls, and treatments were more domestic. The exhibit will follow the practice of one well-known doctor, William Carlos Williams, who is widely recognized for his poetry. He ran his office out of his home in Rutherford, as well as worked at Passaic General Hospital (now St. Mary’s General Hospital).



The first floor gallery will show items on loan from the Estate of William Carlos Williams and William Eric Williams, by Daphne, as well as items on loan courtesy of the BD Archives Collection. Visitors will be able to see items from Williams’ doctor’s practice, including his examining table for babies. Also on displayed will be various syringes and thermometers, manufactured by Becton Dickinson, showing the progression of their design, accompanied by historic photographs of the manufacturing process.



The second floor gallery will focus more on medicines and pharmacies, from the Meadowlands region, as well as nursing and the Red Cross. (Photo credits: Doctor’s Bag. From the Estate of William Carlos Williams and William Eric Williams by Daphne Williams Fox. Photo courtesy of Tom Bivin. Yale Insulin Syringe. From the BD Archives Collection. Photo courtesy of Tom Bivin.)




 Past Exhibits

Rutherford Civil Rights Commission: 1964-2014

Celebrating 50 Years of Civil Rights

February 2015 – May 2015


Civil Rights Flyer


In honor of African American history month in February, and women’s history month in March, The Meadowlands Museum presents on Civil Rights, sponsored by the Rutherford Civil Rights Commission. A combination of objects from the Meadowlands Museum’s own collection and loans from the Rutherford Civil Rights Commission are on view. New Jersey has a rich and progressive history of allowing freedoms to African Americans and women that were not contemporarily found in other areas of the United States.


The first floor gallery includes items representative of the women’s suffrage movement as well as many items from Rutherford and New Jersey’s Civil Rights movement from the 1960s. The exhibit includes original documents from this time. Visitors can also learn about several stories of local women, like that of Elizabeth Padgham, who led a Unitarian Congregation in Rutherford at the beginning of the twentieth century. Upstairs, the exhibit touches on Civil Rights today, and the many commendations the Rutherford Commission has received, including recognition from President Barack Obama, and visitors can watch Historical Narratives, created by the Rutherford Civil Rights Commission, with stories from William Galloway and Robert Wesp.


Around the World in 80 Days

Fall 2014


While focusing on the theme of the worldwide voyages of Phileas Fogg, the central character in the Jules Verne novel, Around the World in 80 Days and Nellie Bly, also known as Elizabeth Cochrane, newspaper reporter for the Cosmopolitan, we will display Victorian Era objects representing routes of these two travelers. Objects on display will include nineteenth century men and women’s clothing, and pieces from the museum collection that range from countries such as Italy, Egypt, Turkey, China, Hong Kong, and the United States.

The journey starts in the downstairs gallery on the first floor and continues onto the second floor with a special section on photography and travel using cameras from the museum’s collection, including a forerunner of the camera, the stereoscope. The first and second floor galleries will be transformed into a microcosm of the extraordinary travels, both real and fictional, that Phileas and Nellie made, telling the stories of how they completed their history-making journeys in the 1880s and 1890s.

Local history is also included in our main hall display, as we look at late nineteenth century travel in Bergen County.


Alternate Reality: Steampunk & the Victorian Age


Alternate Reality logo


Step into the world where history and fiction collide.

Drawing from its collection of Victorian era fashion and accessories, the Meadowlands Museum has paired with Jeff Mach Events to present a summer of gears, clockworks, top hats, and all things steampunk. The display includes Victorian pocket watches, top hats, jewelry, parasols, and a wedding dress from the museum’s collection, and objects on loan from steampunk crafters and makers, including Heather E. Hutsell’s “Time Jumper” dress, cameos by Corvus Creations, pocket watches and chainmail creations by Caruso Kith Kin & Co, and clothing loaned by Professor Adam Smasher. In addition, the photography of Jennifer Haggerty and John T. Riley are on display. Further programming is provided by Professor Adam Smasher, Baron Maximilian Von Zipple, Professor Scott Calvin, Professor Mark P. Donnelly, musical group The Eternal Frontier, and musician Jeff Mach.

This special exhibit is on view Wednesdays and Saturdays 10am – 4pm, and culminates in our annual Grand Victorian Tea on Sunday, September 28, 2014.


front gallery 2                                                                            front gallery 1