HSP to Host Grand Opening for Garden State History Garden

The Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) will hold a family-friendly opening event on Sunday, May 19, between 1:00 and 4:00 PM, unveiling a brand-new exhibition in the Sipprelle Unity Garden at Updike Farmstead, the Garden State History Garden. Coinciding with National Public Gardens week, this event is free and open to the public.

The Garden State History Garden creates a living, growing display of Princeton and New Jersey’s agricultural history. The HSP mobile app will offer multimedia content to interpret the local agricultural histories represented by crops in each bed of the 520-square-foot organic garden at Updike Farmstead. These stories include farming during wartime, gentleman farmers, and the Poor Farm workhouse in northern Princeton, among many others. Visitors will be able to listen to narratives and explore photographs and documents from HSP’s collection within the app as they wander through the beds of the garden.

“Support from the Church & Dwight Employee Giving Fund was instrumental in transforming our beautiful 21-bed organic garden into a heritage-rich (as well as a fruit and veggie-rich!) space,” said Izzy Kasdin, Executive Director of the Historical Society of Princeton. “Agriculture is core to the historical identity of Princeton, and sparks important discussion about land use, food security, and the environment today. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to tell those stories here at Updike Farmstead, in view of one of the last remaining in-tact historic farms in Princeton.”

At 2:00, a screening of “Farming in New Jersey’s Millstone Valley: Past and Present,” will take place in the Wojciechowicz Barn. Produced by the Millstone Valley Preservation Coalition of Rocky Hill, in association with the Van Harlingen Historical Society of Montgomery, the 35-minute video documentary describes the 300-year agricultural history of the area, culminating with the local farm-to-table movement. MVP Coalition President Brad Fay will introduce the film, and a panel discussion will follow, featuring Fay, Terhune Orchards’ Pam Mount, and Tessa Lowinske Desmond, a Princeton University research scholar in the Program in American Studies. 

Ongoing activities during the day include a garden craft for children, a scavenger hunt around the property, and time to explore the garden and newly-launched app content. Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch or snack to enjoy on the property.