Reuse, Repurpose, Rejoice: Eco-Friendly Christmas Display Worth The Trip
'Go Green for the Holidays' just one reason to drive down to the Monmouth Museum.
If you're going to go green this holiday season, you might want to go far (but if you do, carpooling seems like the most responsible idea).
The Monmouth Museum and Cultural Center, located on the Brookdale Community College campus in Lincroft (Monmouth County), is presenting Go Green for the Holidays—an display that's as eco-friendly as it is festive. The event began on Nov. 21 and continues until Jan. 3.
It's an intricate, entertaining, educational and clever exhibition—and part of why the museum is our first pick for a new weekly feature, "Day Tripper." We'll be highlighting spots and events worth the travel time every Thursday.
DAY TRIP DETAILS
- Estimated Travel Time: One hour, by car.
- Why it's Worth the Trip:The Monmouth Museum offers entertaining displays year-round, is easy to get to (especially if you're on the way to the Shore), and is close to enough other attractions to make it a great starting point for a day out.
- How to Get There From Here: You can take either Route 18 South or the Garden State Parkway to Brookdale Community College's parking lot No. 1. Newman Springs Road changes over this period, from mostly residential to commercial, then back, but the Brookdale Community College entrance is preceded by a roundabout right in the middle of the road. It is impossible to pass by the campus accidentally. Detailed driving directions.
- You'll Probably Get Hungry: After you leave the exit, but before you get to the museum, you'll see the Lincroft Inn, a fixture of the area since 1927, known for its Northern Italian/Continental Cuisine (there's also a 40-seat bar and a casual tavern menu). You'll see a more recent arrival, the Japanese/Korean combo Kimchi & Sushi. For a quick meal or snack, Dunkin Donuts, Subway Sandwiches and McDonald's are also available on this short stretch of road, as is the Acme Supermarket.
- While You're in the Area: Connected with the campus, just after the entrance, isThompson Park, which boasts 667 acres, 14 miles of trails, a generous playground with swings, slides, fields and courts and a summer-stock theater. While access to all the park offers is limited by the season and weather, it is itself a great destination for those who prefer outdoor activities. And you'll be very close to Red Bank, which features a full and thriving downtown of shops, restaurants, exhibition spaces and arts venues. Making a day of it? Check out the Count Basie Theatre, which on New Year's Eve will present Shore favorites Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, and which has upcoming performances from BB King and Gregg Allman.
At first glance, the large exhibition room of the Monmouth Museum doesn't look like anything special—it's festive, but what isn't this time of year? There are Christmas trees and miniature train displays—just like everywhere else.
But look closer, and you'll find the glass ornaments of penguins and Santa Claus are actually painted, upside-down light bulbs. Flower blooms actually carefully repurposed water bottles. The snowmen are former egg crates.
Public relations coordinator Julia W. Fiorino points out the surroundings of the model trains mimic the Jersey Shore.
This annual holiday exhibition, with an environmental and ecological theme, is decorated by local garden clubs and the Friends of the Museum group. Stories, activities and arts and crafts are scheduled during the holidays as well.
Fiorino said that even if you can't make it to the holiday exhibition, the museum has plenty in store for 2011.
"We often get travelling exhibitions from the Smithsonian. We invite local arts groups to come in. There a sculptors' association. There's a watercolors association," Fiorino saaid.
The Chairish the Museum Exhibition runs from Jan. 15 to Feb. 12, and will feature chairs designed by local artists and craftspersons. There will be celebrity chairs featured, as well including a cooking-themed chair autographed by chef and TV Host Rachael Ray, a weather-themed chair autographed by NBC-TV meteorologist Chris Cimino, and a sports-themed chair autographed by NY Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet.
On Feb. 12, the chairs in the show will be auctioned off and the proceeds will be donated to support the various educational programs found in the museum.
A special exhibition, planned to open on March 5, is a photographic series from the famous John Lennon and Yoko Ono "bed-ins" for peace. The photos, taken in 1969 by Life Magazine photographer Gerry Deiter, will feature large-scale prints of the anti-war protest staged in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.
The exhibition had previous stops in Illinois and the Museum at Bethel Woods, in Bethel, New York.
"We also have a series that's in its fifth year, and it's called New Jersey Emerging Artists," said Fiorino. "We also put out a call for entries for that. The only stipulation is that the artist has not had a one-person show [previously]. We get artists from the early 20s up into the 80s, exhibiting here and having a one-person show for the very first time."
The museum has one permanent collection, a display of "sewing birds," clamps used in the 18th and 19th centuries that held down pieces of fabric to tables, allowing a people to sew fabric without needing to hold it taut. The Monmouth Museum's collection was provided by a single donor and it is the largest grouping of "sewing birds" in North America.
A continuing exhibition, and a very popular one for pre-school children, is the Dorothy V. Morehouse WonderWing, which combines educational elements with an indoor playroom, complete with a pirate ship, rope bridge and climbable lighthouse. For older children, the Becker Children's Wing provides exhibitions, described in the museum's public relations materials as "based on school curriculum subjects using science and cultural history in stimulating and thought-provoking ways."
"We see ourselves really as a community museum for all ages, with programs and exhibitions for children and adults," Fiorino said.
Details on further events are still being worked out, and will be on the museum's website as they're determined.
For more information, visit www.monmouthmuseum.org or call 732-747-8592.