History Of The Museum

Based on Middlesex County Records, Dr. Garret P. Voorhees probably built the original two-room house at 4 Park Place East in 1834. The Isaac Snedeker family added more rooms between 1850 and 1862, which include the parlor, the second floor master bedroom and the Amy Evans Memorial Sewing Room. The property was inherited by Gertrude Snedeker, daughter, and her husband, Dominicus C. Mershon. Their daughter, Cornelia, lived in the house until her death in 1913. The house was rented until 1923 when Paul and Helen Azadian bought it. The Azadians used their theatrical name, LaVarre, while in Cranbury. The home's last private owner, Marvin Dey, sold it to the Cranbury Historical & Preservation Society on March 30, 1972.

From May until October, 1972, seventy volunteers worked to convert a simple house into a Museum. The wide pine floorboards, the cooking fireplace with crane, the rough plaster walls, the original window sash with wavy glass panes and the old blue paint of the original two-room house were preserved during the restoration. With few exceptions the Museum is furnished by gifts from Cranbury families, many of them descendants of Cranbury's earliest families.

After the grounds and brickwork around the Museum were completed Sara and Bill Hoffman, who were born and spent most of their lives in Cranbury, planted a garden. Some of the bulbs are still growing in the garden today. Later Anne Berger added herbs. After Sara retired as the Society's first Curator in 1984, the enlarged garden was dedicated to Sara and called "Sara's Garden."

In 1975 the Arthur E. Perrine Memorial Wing was added, a gift to the Museum from his daughter, Mary E. Perrine. Mr. Perrine, noted horticulturist, was the sixth generation of the Perrine family to live in Cranbury. The first floor of the Perrine Wing serves as a meeting and exhibit room, where special exhibits are arranged at periodic intervals. Here hangs the Tercentennial Quilt of sixteen scenes that tell the history of the community. The Bicentennial Quilt of twelve historic scenes is in the History Center. The basement area houses permanent exhibits of farm implements, early tools, memorabilia from early businesses and activities, Lenape Indian artifacts, and artifacts recovered during the 1977 archaeological dig at Main Street and Park Place West. Also open to the public are Sara's Garden (herb garden) and the Victorian Garden located on the site.