Jersey City in the preliminary stages of converting Apple Tree House into historical museum


The City of Jersey City is in the preliminary stages of converting the Apple Tree House into a local historical museum, according to a member of the Apple Tree Advisory Committee.

Jersey City’s Apple Tree House. Photo via Google Maps.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“The idea … and the purpose of the proposal due by Labor Day, is to establish an independent, non-profit that would set-up and operate the museum,” Advisory Committee Member Dr. James Dievler, also a member of the Journal Square Community Association, told HCV in an email this morning.

“It is not going to be run by the city, although the city government will be engaged, especially the JCFPL (Jersey City Free Public Library), which will, of course, be a critical source of exhibition material and archival expertise. There is no plan to have the city run and pay for the conversion and subsequent operation of the museum.”

He continued that city already owns and maintains the ATH, a National Historic Landmark located at 298 Academy St., and that there are no plans to change the ownership status of the house itself.

Dievler also said they hope to engage with community organizations and groups who have a stake and interest in how Jersey City history is presented to the public.

“We are also reaching out to other local museum entities to learn their best practices and organizational and fundraising strategies so that we may proceed as thoughtfully and carefully as possible,” he added, calling the overall situation “a wonderful, exciting development.”

On Tuesday, stakeholders from community groups discussed the future of the project, which included Dievler, representatives from the New Jersey Room at the JCFPL, the JSCA, Bergen Square Historical Society, and Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano, among others.

The first meeting of the tentative “steering committee” is set to meet on July 26th at 2 p.m., with the goal being to hammer out as many as details as possible for the project.

“The Apple Tree House will become a Jersey City Historical Museum with active changing exhibitions based on Jersey City’s rich history. We are starting the process to create an individual autonomous board for oversight and a firm budget to curate the space on an ongoing basis,” said city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione.

“The City is moving all of our offices out of the Apple Tree House in July to pave the way for this museum.”

This latest Journal Square investment comes as the city announced last month they’re aiming to open the Pompidou Centre, which would be the first North American partnership with the French museum, in 2024.

The city council subsequently approved a memorandum of understanding for the project, followed by the state allocating $24 million towards the endeavor, which came with Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) stamp of approval after some initial questions about how the roughly $40 million project would be funded.

A specific timeline or preliminary costs for the planned historical museum are not currently available.

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