FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: 1LT Jarrett Feldman, Curator
National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey
PO Box 277
Sea Girt, NJ 08750-0277
The National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey, located at the Sea Girt National Guard Training Center, Sea Girt Avenue, Sea Girt NJ, is proud to announce its new exhibit “Sea Girt, the National Guard and New Jersey 1885-1945.” The exhibit will open to the public beginning July 1, 2007. Museum hours are 10:00 AM -3:00 PM, Tuesday through Thursday and on selected weekends throughout the summer. For more details on hours, or to schedule tours, please call 732-974-5966 or check our internet site at www.nj.gov/military/museum/.
Throughout its existence, the National Guard Training Center has played a significant role in the military, political and social history of the state of New Jersey. The current museum exhibit celebrates that history from the time of Governor Leon Abbett through that of Governor Charles Edison. It includes a photographic history of the Training Center, a series of aerial views detailing the dramatic landscape changes in the area from 1926 through 2005, artifacts unearthed at the site and a display of 19th century New Jersey National Guard arms and equipment.
The history of the New Jersey National Guard’s service at Sea Girt began when the state initially leased the land from the Sea Girt Land Improvement Company with the intent to purchase it in 1885. Beginning in that year, the Sea Girt property served the National Guard for summer training and target practice at ranges up to 1,000 yards, as well as a venue for international civilian and military target shooting matches. New Jersey Guardsmen were mobilized at the camp for service in the Spanish American War, the Mexican Border Campaign of 1916 and World Wars I and II and active National Guard units still drill at Sea Girt on a monthly basis.
In addition to its primary military function, the National Guard Training Center at Sea Girt also played a vital role in New Jersey’s political history, since it was an attractive location for New Jersey governors eager to avoid the summer heat of Trenton, and the exhibit tells that story as well. The governor’s “summer cottage” which once stood near the gate was the New Jersey exhibit hall at the Saint Louis World’s Fair of 1904, disassembled and then reassembled at the New Jersey shore. In 1928 and 1932, three-time Governor A. Harry Moore and his political mentor, Frank Hague, the mayor of Jersey City and a national political power player, held huge rallies for Presidential candidates Al Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt at Sea Girt.
The exhibit is part of an ongoing museum series on the role of the Militia and National Guard in the larger history of New Jersey, which will include permanent and topical temporary exhibits. In addition to its exhibits, the museum serves as a source of information on New Jersey’s military history for public and scholarly research and is an active participant in the Library of Congress veterans’ oral history program, with over 300 interviews in its video archives.
Museum admission is free, although donations are appreciated. Admission to the Training Center requires a photo ID for adults.