NJ’s World-Class Art Museums: Provocative Paintings, Stunning Sculptures, Gorgeous Glasswork


Nana Wisdom by Kimberly Camp, Photo Courtesy of Noyes Museum of Art


When most art connoisseurs think about visiting world-class art museums, they probably imagine traveling to Manhattan, Washington D.C., or even Paris. But, in reality, that’s no need to leave the Garden State.

New Jersey is home to hundreds of renowned museums and galleries that showcase a wide array of genres including American, European African, Asian, Islamic and Ancient World art. From paintings and sculpture to glass, photography, and beyond, many local collections rival those housed inside the world’s most-visited museums.

Whether you’re a fan of Cubism, Traditional, Impressionism, Folk, Contemporary, Surrealism, or any other style, you can find it without leaving the state. Many museums also offer lectures, workshops, schools, and children’s camp — so you can learn more about what you’re seeing on the walls and maybe even try your hand at creating your own masterpiece.

New Jersey Next’s series on New Jersey museums begins with art museums. Here are 11 standouts.

Northern New Jersey

Montclair Art Museum, Photo Courtesy of Montclair Art Museum

Montclair

Montclair Art Museum has been in operation since 1914. It boasts over 12,000 works of art. MAM has an extensive collection of American artists’ works. It also offers an exhibit of traditional and contemporary American Indian art and artifacts. Montclair Art Museum’s has an art school called Vance Wall Art Education Center and another one named The Yard School of Art. MAM also has programs and children’s camp. Click here to see their e-Museum.

3 South Mountain Avenue

Montclair, NJ 07042

(973) 746-5555

Morristown

Brett King, detail of the Aetherologist, Photo Courtesy of Morris Museum

Morris Museum’s inception occurred when objects were collected from a curio at the Morristown Neighborhood House in 1913. It began as a children’s museum and continues to provide education in art, science, history, and the performing arts with programs and exhibits. Permanent exhibits include mechanical music and automata, American Indian, Dinosaur Den, mammals, and rocks and minerals. Morris Museum has a professional theater producing and presenting children’s theater, Jazz, Blues, musicals, dramas, comedies, and mysteries.

6 Normandy Heights Road

Morristown, NJ 07960

(973) 971-3700

Brooklyn Bridge by Joseph Stella, Photo Courtesy of Newark Museum

Newark

Newark Museum opened in 1909 in the Newark Public Library and is now New Jersey’s largest museum. Collections include American art, decorative arts, contemporary art, Asian art, African art, art from the Americas, and the ancient world in their 80 galleries. The museum also features a planetarium, films, live music performances, lectures, courses, and workshops. It offers a children’s camp.

49 Washington Street,

Newark, NJ 07102

(973) 596-6550

Oradell

Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum  is one of five wildlife museums in the United States. The Blauvelt Art Museum opened in 1957 as a natural history museum. Hiram Blauvelt was a conservationist and a philanthropist who sought to collect wildlife from nature and to display the animals for the public. In 1982 the Board of Directors redesigned the museum to exhibit contemporary artists’ depictions of wildlife. The museum now helps to preserve endangered species and their habitats.

705 Kinderkamack Road

Oradell, NJ 07649

(201) 261-0012

Central New Jersey

Hamilton

Philip Grausman “Leucantha” at Grounds for Sculpture. Photo, Elise Phillips Margulis

Grounds For Sculpture boasts 42 gorgeously landscaped acres of beautiful outdoor sculptures. Its 6 indoor galleries have rotating exhibitions. Grounds for Sculpture offers performing arts events and tours as well as classes, speakers, and community events. Try their fantastic gourmet restaurant, Rats. Lifelike sculptures lead the way to the museum when you enter the town.

80 Sculptors Way

Hamilton, NJ 08619

(609) 586-0616

Hunterdon

Hunterdon Art Museum resides in a former grist mill and became The Center for Arts in 1952. It exhibits contemporary art, crafts, and design. The permanent collect consists prints including drawings, paintings, and photography. Hunterdon Art Museum also offers art lessons, children’s camp, and workshops.

7 Lower Center Street

Clinton, New Jersey 08809

(908) 735-8415

Princeton

Princeton University Art Museum dates back to the 1750s. It is home to over 100,000 pieces in all media representing ancient to contemporary and the entire world. Princeton University art museum has an online collections catalogue where you can view a great deal of their artwork. Collections include African art, American art, Ancient Byzantine and Islamic art, Art of the Ancient Americas, Asian art, European art, Modern and Contemporary art, photography, and prints and drawings.

Elm Drive

Princeton, NJ 08544

(609) 258-3788

South New Jersey

Glassboro

Colorful Glass Bottles, Photo Courtesy of The Heritage Museum

Heritage Glass Museum The Heritage Glass Museum exhibits historic glass, bottles, and animal glass figurines. The museum’s mission is to retrieve and preserve historic glass to connect to local history. The museum displays antique glass, workers tools, glass company money, South Jersey paperweights, whimseys, fruit jars, demijohns, historical and figural flask, vaseline, depression, and cut Mercury glass. Their extensive handblown south Jersey glass consists of works from Clevenger, Beacon, Downer, Falabella, Macho, Hofbeuer, Larson, Durand, Collini, Ted Ramp, Jersey Bog, Marks, and Iona. Heritage Glass museum also has a well-stocked library about glass blowing.

25 E. High Street (High & Center Street)

Glassboro, NJ 08028

(856) 881-7468

Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University was founded in 1966 and is home to 60,000 pieces of art. The museum presents two large exhibits about a theme, a movement in art, or an artist–especially women artists–annually. The museum also offers several cameo shows each year. Their permanent exhibits include Nineteenth-century French art, particularly prints and rare books. Also, Russian art and Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection. In addition, American art, especially prints.

71 Hamilton Street

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

(848) 932-7237

Trenton

New Jersey State Museum was established in by the state in 1895 to collect and exhibit items in natural history, archaeology, and industrial history. The museum’s collections include archaeology and ethnography, cultural history (13,000 artifacts from the 17th century to present), fine art, and natural history. The museum has a SMASH (spectcularly merging art, science, and history) program during which children partake in hands-on activities, experiments, and demonstrations. NJ State Museum has a planetarium.

205 West State Street

Trenton, NJ 08625

(609) 292-6464

Stockton

Noyes Museum of Art is part of Stockton University and exhibits fine art and American art with an emphasis on contemporary and traditional folk art and crafts. They also house a collection of over 3,000 working decoys. The art is displayed in several locations in southern New Jersey: Arts Garage in Atlantic City, Kramer Hall in Hammonton, Stockton Seaview Golf & Spa Resort in Galloway, and at Stockton University. See website for addresses and phone numbers.

Honorary Mentions:

Free art museums and galleries:

The Art School at Old Church (Free)

561 Piermont Road Demarest, NJ

(201) 767-7160

Atlantic City Art Center (Free)

New Jersey Avenue & Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ

(609) 347-5837

Barsky Gallery (Free)

49 Harrison Street, Hoboken, NJ

(888) 465-4949

Belmar Arts (Free)

608 River Road. Belmar, NJ (at 7th Avenue & the railroad tracks)

(732) 749-3360

Belskie Museum of Art & Science (Free)

280 High Street, Closter, NJ

(201) 768-0286

The Center for Contemporary Art (Free)

2020 Burnt Mills Rd, Bedminster Township, NJ

(908) 234-2345

Center for the Arts in Southern New Jersey (Free)

123 South Elmwood Road in Marlton, NJ

(856) 985-1009

Eilandarts Center (Free)

10 E Chestnut Ave, Merchantville, NJ

(856) 488-0750

George Segal Gallery Montclair State University (Free)

Montclair State University; 1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ

(973) 655-3382

Hammonton Arts Center (Free)

219 Bellevue Avenue, Hammonton, NJ

(609) 567-5360

Markeim Art Center (Free)

104 Walnut Street, Haddonfield, NJ

(856) 429-8585

Ocean City Arts Center (Free)

1735 Simpson Ave, Ocean City, NJ

(609) 399-7628

Ocean Galleries – 2 Locations (Free)

9618 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, NJ 08247

(609) 368-7777

297 22nd Street, Avalon, NJ 08202

(609) 967-4462

Paul Robeson Center for the Arts (Free)

102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ

(609) 924-8777

Perkins Center for the Arts (2 Locations) (Free)

395 Kings Highway, Moorestown, NJ 08057

(856) 235-6488

30 Irvin Ave, Collingswood, NJ 08108

(856) 833-0009

Perth Amboy Gallery Center for the Arts (Free)

339 Reade Street, Perth Amboy, NJ

(732) 826-1690 ext. 4325

Printmaking Center of New Jersey (Free)

440 River Rd, Branchburg, NJ

(908) 725-2110

The Ridgewood Art Institute (Free)

12 E Glen Ave, Ridgewood, NJ 07450

(201) 652-9615

Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts (Free)

Stedman Gallery; 314 Linden Street, Camden, NJ

(856) 225-6202

Sumei Multidisciplinary Arts Center (Free)

61 New Jersey Railroad Ave Newark NJ

(973) 589-5525

University Galleries (Free)

William Paterson University; 300 Pompton Rd Wayne, NJ

(973) 720-2654

Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (Free)

68 Elm Street, Summit, NJ 07901

(908) 273-9121

Walsh Gallery (Free)

Seton Hall University; 400 S. Orange Avenue, South Orange, NJ 07079

(973) 275-2033

Watchung Arts Center (Free)

18 Stirling Road, Watchung, NJ 07069

(908) 753-0190

Did we miss your favorite art museum? Let us know at editor@newjerseynext.com.