Stages of Development
The Ocean County Historical Society Museum and Research Center was built in several stages, beginning in 1820. The final phase of construction was our Research Center, completed in 1990. Continue reading to watch the creation of our Museum.
Our original building was constructed before 1820. The whole house consisted of one downstairs room and one upstairs room. The upstairs room served as a sleeping loft. The downstairs room served all other family functions. The building was located at 131 Hooper Avenue in Toms River, approximately where the Ocean County Administration Building is now located. Today the downstairs room has been divided to serve as our kitchen and our curator’s office. The upstairs room is used as storage for some of the museum’s collection of artifacts.
In about 1840 the owners decided that more space was needed for the family, and an addition was built. The addition was one large room downstairs, and another upstairs. The downstairs room serves today as our Victorian dining room. The upstairs room is our craft room, and a small museum workroom.
Captain Samuel V. Pierson, a ship captain, purchased the house in 1867. In 1868 he added the front part of the home. The newest part of the building provided three bedrooms upstairs, front and rear parlors, and a grand staircase. Today the downstairs rooms are our music room and parlor, and the upstairs rooms serve as the Jeffrey childs room, the Morris schoolroom, and the Haywood-Brown bedroom.
By 1971 Ocean County had outgrown the space available in the Courthouse. The Board of Chosen Freeholders wanted to construct a new administration building on the east side of Hooper Avenue, at the corner of Washington Street. Three houses would need to be removed. One of those houses, the Pierson-Sculthorp House, now owned by the Sculthorp sisters, was sold at auction to the Ocean County Historical Society for $1.00. A desirable piece of property on Hadley Avenue, almost directly behind the house’s present location, was donated to the Society by John Birdsall. Plans were put in place to move the house to its new location and place it on a new foundation that would contain the Birdsall Exhibit Room. On June 9, 1973 the Ocean County Historical Museum was formally dedicated by Jack Lamping, with a prayer offered by Dr. VanDyke of the Presbyterian Church of Toms River, and music from a band in Colonial attire.
After the Museum’s opening, one room adjacent to the kitchen was established as a genealogy room. By 1990 the library and genealogy information had far outgrown that single room. The Society constructed a large addition at the rear of the building to house the Richard L. Strickler Research Center, and the Myrtle A. Moore industry room. A garden at the rear of the library-research center completes the Victorian look of our Museum grounds. Welcome to our home, dedicated to the mission of the Society founders: Telling The Stories of Ocean County.