The Story of the
Township of Ocean Historical Museum
Welcome to the Township of Ocean Historical Museum web site. The Museum occupies the Historic Eden Woolley House, one of the few 18th century homes surviving in Ocean Township. The house is an architectural gem and a 250+ year repository of local history. It was saved from destruction in 2005 and moved 1100 feet east to its present location in Joe Palaia Park.
In 1970 The Township of Ocean Historical Society was formed to advance public awareness of community history as well as to preserve artifacts and materials that gave witness to that history. The Society met in the Public Library. By the early 1980's there was a need for a permanent space to collect, display and promote an appreciation for the history of Ocean Township, Monmouth County and The State of New Jersey.
In 1983 a group of interested citizens asked the Township of Ocean Board of Education for use of a classroom in the former Oakhurst School to start a community museum to preserve and exhibit artifacts, records, and photos of the area. The members of the Board agreed. In 1983 a Museum was established and a new organization was formed to merge the Historical Society into the Township of Ocean Historical Museum Association. The Museum was incorporated, under the provisions of the New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation Act, on April 25, 1984.
Locating the new Museum in the School attracted longtime residents and former students. They were inspired to dig out mementos to donate to the collection for the exhibits. Visitors commented on the memories and stories the old photos and artifacts stir up. During the twenty five years that the vision of a community museum became a reality, several thousand people came to learn and recall New Jersey history. The organization grew as did the hours the Museum was open to the public.
From its beginning in 1984, the Museum was founded and developed by interested volunteers who recognized a need and raised funds, constructed exhibits and opened the facility to the public. Volunteers continue to support and maintain the Museum. Many of the founding members are still actively involved in the day to day operation of the Museum.
In 2001, the Mayor and the Township Council moved to save the historic Eden Woolley House on the comer of Deal Road and Route 35. The developer of the Route 35 property agreed to move the Woolley House to the Haupt/Terner tract that is the site of the Public Library on Deal Road. The Council asked the Museum to make its new headquarters in the Woolley house adjacent to the Library, to be used as a new, larger facility for the organization to expand its programs, projects, exhibits and services.
Volunteers from the Museum began the historical restoration of the House, named after Eden Woolley; Ocean Township's first elected committeeman, gentleman farmer, surveyor, and moneylender. Museum personnel used qualified contractors for the restoration while some of the work was completed by very competent volunteers.
Grants, donations, fundraisers, Business Partnerships and the 2008 Society helped the Museum to reach its goal of opening the Eden Woolley house on July 5, 2009! The contributions of many business and individual volunteers helped immeasurably in the completion of this project. The Historically restored structure was first opened to the public in December 2008.
The historical restoration was completed in April of 2009 and after moving the contents of the Museum from the Old Oakhurst School to the Eden Woolley House, The Museum was permanently opened to the public on July 5th, 2009.
The Museum has a number of exhibit galleries in the rooms on the first floor of the Eden Woolley House. Two house permanent exhibits (updated regularly). The third features changing exhibits. They include: