Roebling Wire Rope Spool

Small is Beautiful (Roebling Museum)

Roebling Museum, 100 2nd Ave, Roebling, NJ
W-Su 11 AM-4 PM; closed M,Tu
(609) 499-7200   Website    Google Maps

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Special notes for parents
Well conceived small museum provides an introduction to the Roebling family and Trenton’s industrial history. Located within a town that was built to house workers for the mill which manufactured steel used in the Roebling Wire Rope operations in Trenton. Sophisticated 12+ may find it interesting. Younger kids might best be served by special kid programs/events which are scheduled regularly. Check website events calendar for specifics.

The Roebling’s were the first-family of Trenton for over 100 years. They once employed 20,000 people in town (and several thousand more in Roebling), and created some of the most important civil engineering achievements of all time (i.e. the Brooklyn Bridge). So if you’re serious about Trenton, you’ll want to visit the Roebling Museum to find out more about the family, the business, and what they accomplished.

That said, there’s something inherently comfortable about visiting a well designed small museum. Comfortable? Let me put it this way: some of my most miserable outings have been to massive, famous museums where my partner was much more interested in the collection than I was (or vice versa). Inevitably, the result is that someone gets bored, the other wants more time, and you fight over when it’s time to leave. Sigh. Like I said, miserable.

Small, local museums carry no such risk. In the first place, even if you’re totally into the place, it’s hard to spend more than an hour or so perusing the exhibits. Even if your partner hates it (or vice versa), surely he/she can tolerate it for an hour. With any luck, in a nicely designed exhibit space like at the Roebling Museum you’ll find enough things of interest that no one needs to be bored at all. I liked the engineering and technology exhibits, my wife liked the village memorabilia, and details of the Roebling family. Hey, to each his (or her) own.

Plus, if push comes to shove, you can always rationalize that its easy to go back another day. It’s less than 20 minutes drive from Trenton, or a quick trip via the RiverLine, and admission is only $6 ($5 for seniors and children 6-12). What could go wrong?

In addition to the museum, part of the interest of going is to check out the Town of Roebling itself. Built to house workers for the mill which manufactured the steel used in the Roebling Wire Rope operations in Trenton, construction started in 1905. Different levels of housing reflected the social and economic hierarchy of the plant: workers, foremen, managers, and executives. If you’re with your kids, it can trigger an interesting discussion around social structures, income equality, growth and decline of the labor movement, growth and decline of industrial development, and much more.

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Activities | Kids | Historic Site

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