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Material Culture

The Society’s material culture collection consists of a variety of objects including decorative arts, such as glass and china, toys and dolls, industrial objects relating to blacksmithing, farming, fishing, and other trades, and other historic objects.

Salem County Glass

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Salem County is central to the story of glass making in the United States.

Started in 1739 by Casper Wistar, The Wistarburg Glassworks became the first successful glassworks in America. The factory was known for window glass, wine and spirit bottles, snuff canisters, and mustard jars. The Society is grateful to have multiple fine examples of Wistar glass in its collection along with examples from other prominent Salem County glass companies that followed in Wistar’s footsteps.

Be sure to visit our exhibit Salem County: The Cradle of American Glass on display now. 

George Washington Ring


This ring has great significance in connection to the first President, George Washington. The ring contains a lock of hair under the glass center that is believed to be from Washington. 

It was presented to the Historical Society in 1911. Our information tracks its origins to the Wolcott family, Governor Wolcott of Connecticut and his son Oliver Wolcott, JR. who served as Secretary of the Treasury under Washington. 

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