Historic Gem Fights to Survive for 3rd Time

Metlar-Bodine has battened down the hatches in the face of its latest challenge: COVID-19! 

FORCED…to close to the public, cancel its major fundraising event and all educational programs, and cut expenses ruthlessly, its newest challenge and unique opportunity, too, is postponed. We need your financial support NOW!

Metlar-Bodine is the custodian of the relic, a National Treasure of the American Revolution: The Ross Hall Wall - once the parlour wall from a neighboring 18th century mansion, Ross Hall. In July 1778, George Washington hosted a celebratory event at Ross Hall. Among the notable guests were Alexander Hamilton, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Baron von Steuben. It was from this parlour that the pen of George Washington wrote the military order for the first official celebration of July 4th as "Independence Day!" Proclaiming the 3-hour event to occur along the Raritan River, within steps of Metlar-Bodine, his 11,000 patriots followed his orders for a massive feu-de-joie (fire of joy). Sadly, Ross Hall met the wrecker's ball, but The Ross Hall Wall was rescued and placed under the watchful eye of Metlar-Bodine.  The goal of restoring, interpreting and exhibiting The Wall has long been a major objective of the museum. Now this, too, is at a standstill. Thankfully, before the pandemic, The Wall was transported to and remains under the secure protection of a renowned firm of restorers/conservators. The costs for moving is unpaid and start-up conservation costs are now not available.  

The Metlar-Bodine House Museum, dating to 1728, serves as the official historical museum of Piscataway, New Jersey, one of the 50 oldest towns in the United States. The house and the museum it contains have shown exceptional resilience: surviving the rigors of time, a scheduled but avoided demolition in the path of highway construction (1979), and a devastating fire (2003). Through it all, the institution persevered, grew and kept its focus on a clearly defined mission: "to interpret the development of Raritan Valley from prehistoric time to the present, utilizing transportation as the connecting theme."

Concurrently… the Museum is engaged in curatorial "triage": identifying activities critical to the protection of the Museum's collection, held in trust for current and future generations. Thousands of unique artifacts of local and national significance must be conserved, repaired, and stored in a secure, climate-controlled environment, with the oversight of the knowledgeable, professional staff.

And SO…this has become the newest crucial challenge to the Metlar-Bodine House Museum: once again to face and withstand a current threat, while looking to the future with a reverence and appreciation of our nation’s past. To this end, Metlar-Bodine seeks the critical, generous support of like-minded students of history, through the unique vehicle GoFundMe. $25,000 specifically for, utilities, security, maintenance, curatorial supplies and materials, is the wholly practical pathway forward and at least $40,000 for moving and start-up conservation costs. All of those associated with and dedicated to this special place believe that, this, too, shall pass. And that, as it has for nearly three centuries, the house shall stand, grow


Sherry Hope
Piscataway, NJ

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