Public Info

Four Centuries in a Weekend offers hands-on History

The Union County Board of County Commissioners, in coordination with the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, is proud to announce the return of “Four Centuries in a Weekend,” this Saturday and Sunday, October 21st and 22nd. Throughout the weekend, more than 30 historic sites are open, free to the public, showcasing aspects of life here over the course of four centuries. 

“There will be an abundance of activities this weekend, for adults and children alike” said Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados. “On behalf of my fellow commissioners, we invite you to come take a look at earlier times. Enjoy the tours, special events, exhibits and demonstrations. There’s no better way to learn about our history than seeing it come to life through hands-on demonstrations.”

Demonstrations taking place include: 

Westfield – Miller-Cory House Museum – 614 Mountain Avenue
·         Felt-making; authentic colonial-era open-hearth cooking (on Saturday) using period recipes and techniques

Kenilworth – Oswald J. Nitschke House – 49 South 21 Street
·         Multicultural garden-to-table demonstration

Rahway – Merchants & Drovers Tavern Museum – 1632 St. George Avenue
·         On Sunday: Open-hearth cooking demonstration in the tavern kitchen

New Providence – Salt Box Museum – 1350 Springfield Avenue
·         Spinning wheel demo

Clark –  Dr. William Robinson Plantation Museum – 593 Madison Hill Road
·         Open-hearth cooking and other demonstrations

Rahway, Union County Performing Arts Center – 1601 Irving Street
·         Guided tours of theater, including a demonstration of the historic Wurlitzer organ and explanation of the projection and movie system

Explore aspects of Black History at these sites:

Elizabeth, Siloam Hope First Presbyterian Church & Snyder Academy – 42 Broad Street
·         “Oh Freedom,” an exhibit about the effects of the American Revolution on people of African descent

Plainfield, Drake House Museum – 602 West Front Street
·         Reenactor from Living History Co., a Black-owned company providing living-history experiences for a diverse variety of eras and topics, specializing in Black history and culture

Rahway – African-American History & Heritage Learning Center – 261 Central Avenue
·         Saturday only: Guided tours of this site, where an 1800s one-room schoolhouse once stood — the first public school for “colored children” in Rahway

Scotch Plains – Shady Rest Country Club – 820 Jerusalem Road
·         Tours of this historic site, which was the first black-owned country club in the United States

Summit – Wallace Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church – 138-142 Broad Street
·         Lecture by Rev. Dr. Denison D. Harrield, Jr. (Saturday at 12, Sunday at 1) about the history of the Chapel and Dr. Florence S. Randolph, who advocated for justice, equality, equity, civil rights and women’s suffrage

Crafts and other activities for kids include:

Berkeley Heights – Deserted Village of Feltville / Glenside Park – 1 Cataract Hollow Rd
·         Archaeological activity and old-fashioned children’s games

Scotch Plains – Shady Rest Country Club – 820 Jerusalem Road
·         Mini-golf both days, horseback-riding on Saturday

Scotch Plains – Osborn Cannonball House Museum – 1840 Front Street
·         Make a ghost doll

Union – Caldwell Parsonage – 909 Caldwell Avenue
·         Create tricorn hats and colonial-style bonnets, make “church” dolls, and play colonial and Native American games

“Whether you’re a parent looking to spend quality time with your children, a group of friends seeking something unique, or a history-lover, there is something for you this weekend,” said Commissioner Bette Jane Kowalski, who serves on the Cultural and Heritage Programs Advisory Board.

For details about the tours, exhibits and special activities at each site, including updates or late-breaking changes, visit or contact the individual site.

Four Centuries in a Weekend is funded in part by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, part of the Division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State, and is organized by the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, in collaboration with staff and volunteers at the sites and is sponsored by the Union County Board of County Commissioners. The Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs is a division of the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. For information about all Cultural and Heritage programs, including grant opportunities, visit For information about all programs and activities