2014 is the 350th
Anniversary of New Jersey!


The Millburn Free Public Library will celebrate with a year-long lineup of special events and guest speakers that will inform, entertain, and possibly intrigue you about the Garden State.  All progams are free and are about 1 hour in length. 



Sunday, April 6 at 2:00 p.m.
A History of the Garden State

The celebration begins on Sunday, April 6 at 2 p.m. with a visit by Dr. Maxine Lurie, professor emeritus from Seton Hall University. Dr. Lurie will speak about her newest book, New Jersey: A History of the Garden State, which was co-authored with Dr. Richard Veit.  The book is the first new overview of New Jersey history in more than 25 years.  Dr. Lurie will discuss the development of the book, its major themes and bring new understanding to this state we call home.


Sunday, April 27 at 2:00 p.m.
A Journey Through the Palisades

The series continues on Sunday, April 27 at 2 p.m. with “A Journey Through the Palisades” by regional historian Kevin Woyce.  Learn about this scenic and historic part of the state with an informative talk and slideshow covering trails, overlooks, the famous amusement park and more.  A native New Jerseyan, Woyce is an author, photographer, a lecturer and has written several books on New Jersey and New York regional history. 


Saturday, May 17 at 2:00 p.m.
Strawberry Fields in New Jersey

The series picks up again on Saturday, May 17 at 2 p.m. with “Strawberry Fields in New Jersey.”  Did you know that in the 19th century, strawberries from Bergen County were considered among the best in the nation?  Just in time for strawberry season, come and hear the history and the folklore of this fascinating berry by food historian Judith Krall-Russo.  Ms. Russo has enjoyed a lifelong love of foods, especially embracing the rich agricultural history of her home state, New Jersey. 


Saturday, June 14 at 2:00 p.m.
A History of the Jersey Shore

Get ready for summer on Saturday, June 14 at 2 p.m. with “A History of the Jersey Shore.”  Historian Kevin Woyce will return to the Millburn Free Public Library with a special lecture on this treasured region of our state.  Learn about pirates, shipwrecks, lighthouses, the rise of many popular summer resorts and more.  Take a trip down the shore without the traffic… re-live some memories of the past… perhaps even get some ideas of places you’d like to explore on your own.   


Saturday, September 20 at 11:00 a.m.
Famous Entertainers from New Jersey

After a short break for summer, this series resumes on Saturday, September 20 at 11 a.m. with “Famous Entertainers from New Jersey.”  New Jersey might be small but its influence on the entertainment industry has been mighty.  Marianne Mistretta will talk about some of the more famous New Jerseyans from various realms of the entertainment world, including musicians, actors and comedians.  Mistretta is an award-winning writer, journalist and public speaker with a special penchant for the New Jersey music scene.  Her work has appeared in a number of newspapers and magazines. 


Saturday, October 18 at 2:00 p.m.
Archaeology in New Jersey

The lineup continues on Saturday, October 18 at 2 p.m. with “Archaeology in New Jersey.”  New Jersey’s long and rich history makes it an especially important location for archaeological work.  Dr. Richard Veit will discuss some of the archaeological work that has occurred, or is currently happening, in New Jersey.  Dr. Veit is a Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Monmouth University.  He has authored or co-authored numerous articles and reviews and five books including the award-winning Digging New Jersey’s Past:  Historical Archaeology in the Garden State, New Jersey Cemeteries and Tombstones, History in the Landscape, and New Jersey:  A History of the Garden State.  He serves on the New Jersey Historical Commission and on the boards of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Council for Northeast Historical Archaeology, Crossroads of the American Revolution and the Archaeological Society of NJ. 


Saturday, November 1 at 2:00 p.m.
War of the Worlds

The series honors one of the most famous radio broadcasts of all time.  On Saturday, November 1 at 2 p.m. join us for “War of the Worlds.”  Originally narrated by radio bad boy Orson Welles, this provocative program first disturbed and spurred local listeners on October 30, 1938.  The play, set in Grover Mills, NJ, is a loose adaptation of the classic H. G. Wells novel, and begins as a musical broadcast intermittently interrupted by news flashes about strange explosions on Mars and the landing of cylindrical spacecraft on Earth.  The simulated “news bulletins” of the original broadcast suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion was currently in progress and, as a result, there were instances of panicked evacuation throughout the US, especially in NJ!  Join us for a thrilling hour of suspense and excitement.  Performed by Raconteur Radio and featuring theatrical lighting, costumes and extensive sound effects. 


Saturday, November 22 at 2:00 p.m.
The Wizard of Menlo Park

The MFPL's year-long celebration will conclude on Saturday, November 22 at 2 p.m. with a tribute to one of the most famous New Jerseyans of all.  Raconteur Radio will be back to present “The Wizard of Menlo Park.”  Thomas Alva Edison reflects back upon his long, dynamic career as an inventor, scientist and businessman, during which he opens an “invention factory” at Menlo Park, perfects the phonograph, and, with a Herculean trial-and-error effort, finally succeeds in inventing a practical electric light.  Featuring theatrical lighting, period costumes, extensive sound effects and vintage commercials.