History @ Home

Digital initiatives and interactions for history lovers of all ages!

Even though our Updike Farmstead museum is closed and our events are suspended in order to preserve public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain committed to our mission to bring the past to life and explore its enduring relevance. We’ve compiled a number of history-related activities for you to do from the comfort and safety of your own home! Watch this space — we’ll be adding more content regularly.


Add YOUR Voice to the Historical Record

Help us capture history as it unfolds. The ongoing public health crisis is affecting the lives of people all over the world, including Princetonians. Your experience matters. Help us archive this historic pandemic’s impact in Princeton by documenting and sharing your perspectives. Your contribution will help tell the story to those in the future and aid them in understanding this challenging time. There are three ways to participate:

  • Collect: Collect photographs, documents, and other materials that show how you, your family, and Princeton have been impacted by COVID-19. Send them to share@princetonhistory.org. Guidelines here.
  • Document: Click here for a Google Form that asks questions to help you record your observations about the impact of COVID-19 on the Princeton community.
  • Journal: Follow our prompts to help you reflect on this historic moment over time. You will have the option to add your journal to the historical record, or keep it for yourself. You can write on paper, keep a vlog, record voice memos, save your Instagram stories — a journal can take many forms! Experts say journaling can help us all cope with feelings of anxiety and loneliness during this time, and it’s how people have documented their thoughts for centuries. Guidelines here.

Engage with Us on Social Media

We’ll be posting neat items from our collection and exciting history stories on our social media accounts regularly, under #historyathome. Make sure you’re following us:


Sundays: Fun facts and tidbits from our weekly Sunday Walking Tour route

Wednesdays: Stories and collections items showcasing Princeton’s women’s history

Fridays: Information and photos from our Albert Einstein collections

Go On a Virtual Walking Tour

While our acclaimed walking tours are on hold, be sure to explore Princeton’s history with our virtual walking tours.

Princeton’s African American History: Albert E. Hinds Memorial Tour: African-American Life in Princeton

Princeton’s 18th Century History and Architecture: “Green Oval” Tour: A Snapshot of 18th-Century Princeton

Some of Princeton’s Most Noted Historic Sites: Historic Sites

Explore a Digital Exhibition

Museums are closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t access fascinating exhibitions.

From HSP: Spring is here, and so is planting season! Check out HSP’s digital exhibition, Garden State History Garden, in which you can explore many aspects of Princeton and New Jersey’s agricultural history.

From Rutgers’ NJ Digital Highway: Click here to check out NJ history digital exhibitions developed by Rutgers University students and faculty.

Women’s History: In honor of the centennial of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote, explore these digital exhibitions:

    • Click here for the Old Barracks Museum’s digital exhibition about New Jersey’s anti-suffrage movement.
    • Click here to discover some of the artifacts and stories in the Museum of the American Revolution’s upcoming exhibition When Women Lost the Vote about New Jersey’s women voters from 1776-1807.
    • Click here for the National Archives’ Rightfully Hers digital exhibition content.
    • Click here for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s Creating Icons: How We Remember Woman Suffrage digital exhibition content.

Browse Digital Collections

Explore digitized photographs, documents, newspapers, and other historical material illuminating Princeton’s history on these websites:

Click here for the Historical Society of Princeton’s Digital Database.

Click here to search and read digitized local newspapers from 1842 onward.

Click here to explore essays and primary sources about the history of slavery at Princeton University and in town.

Participate in Transcription Initiatives

Transcription of historical materials is an important part of enhancing access to history, and many institutions rely on volunteers to transcribe documents from their own homes. Spend some of your time at home getting involved in these transcription initiatives:

Click here to help transcribe women’s suffrage-related documents at the Library of Congress (be patient – this website loads slowly!)

Click here to get involved in transcribing materials in the Smithsonian Institution’s collections.

Click here to become a Citizen Archivist at the National Archives, helping them tag, transcribe, and add comments to their records.

Click here to help the New York Public Library transcribe and review historic restaurant menus in their collection.

Incorporate Local History Projects Into Your Remote Learning

Are you a parent/caregiver or student doing remote learning from home? Here are two hands-on projects that you can do at home together to explore Princeton history:

Communication History: Discover Princeton’s old telegraph office, learn how to communicate in Morse code, and tap out a message about an event in Princeton’s history. Click here for instructions and historic photographs.

Town Development History: Did you know that over 200 houses were moved in Princeton to make way for new buildings? Build a house and try to find household items that will help you move it across a room – without it falling down! Click here for instructions and historic photographs.

We’ll be adding more remote learning projects soon – watch this space!