New Exhibits Opening September, 2019!

Mahwah Museum invites you to visit us when we reopen in September!

Located at 201 Franklin Turnpike, the museum is open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 pm, September-June.

This year we will be featuring three new exhibits, along with our permanent exhibits:


75 Years as a Township



   Mahwah’s history dates back to the 1600s and 1700s, belonging to several territories with different names.  In the 1700s and 1800s, Mahwah grew from a seedling of Franklin Township and later stemmed from Hohokus Township.  As other towns broke off from Hohokus Township, Mahwah remained, leaving it the largest tract of land in what is now Bergen County.

  Mahwah blossomed as an independent community, and was officially incorporated as a township in 1944.  Our exhibit will explore the different branches of what makes a community live, breathe, and thrive.  Mahwah’s roots as a township were strengthened through the growth of borough organizations, housing developments, schools, recreation, religious and civic groups, and industry.

   No matter how far back you can trace your roots in Mahwah, come share our shade as we honor the people, places, and organizations that have continued our history into the 21st century.

   If you have anything to add to our community’s “family tree”, feel free to contact the Mahwah Museum at 201-512-0099 before Sept. 1 (and if you’ve caught all of our tree references in this article, we apologize for driving you “nuts”).


Palisades Amusement Park Comes To Mahwah:

(Photo credit: Vince Gargiulo)

New Jersey’s famous Palisades Amusement Park closed nearly 50 years ago. But most Jerseyites over the age of 60 will still smile at the mere mention of this classic American fun center. Mahwah resident, Vince Gargiulo, has been keeping the memory of Palisades alive for the past quarter of a century. He founded the Palisades Amusement Park Historical Society (PAPHS) in the early 1990s. His book, “Palisades Amusement Park: A Century of Fond Memories,” was the fastest selling book in the history of Rutgers University Press. His 1998 PBS documentary of the same name won several awards for outstanding documentary and was nominated for a New York Emmy.

His latest project is a working 1930s model of the park that he has been restoring for over a year. A long time park employee, Joe Prisco, originally built the wooden model in the 1990s. After his death, the model was moved several times and sustained a great deal of damage. In 2018, Gargiulo reached out to Prisco’s family, who donated the model to the PAPHS. Gargiulo set about to restore each piece, most requiring a great deal of work and patience. “The Carousel was the hardest piece to restore,” Gargiulo noted. “Many of the ornamental decorations were missing. Half of the light bulbs were burned out, and replacing them was not cheap!”

But his biggest challenge with the carousel was getting it to rotate. “I wish this model came with some kind of instruction manual,” Vince joked. “It would make repairing it so much easier.” After a month of experimenting, he was finally able to get the merry-go-round to operate properly. Gargiulo has completed restoration of 25 pieces including the Tunnel of Love, the World’s Largest Outdoor Salt Water Pool, the Ferris Wheel, the Carousel, the Free Act Stage, the Bumper Cars and much more. On September 22, the miniature amusement park will be on display as part of the Mahwah Museum’s 2019-2020 lineup. Also on display will be some extremely rare artifacts from the park from Gargiulo’s extensive collection.

A College Comes to Mahwah: Ramapo College: 1965-1975


(Photo credit: Vincent Marchese)

When the State of New Jersey decided to build a new college in Northern New Jersey in 1965, few towns wanted anything to do with it. Fears of radical students, traffic, and lost tax revenues dogged early efforts in Leonia, Hackensack and Saddle River. When the Birch Estate was proposed as a potential site, Mahwah quickly became the front runner. Our exhibit on the establishment of Ramapo College in Mahwah takes a look at life in the township 50 years ago and the creation of a unique liberal arts college.

Working with early faculty and graduates from Ramapo College, the exhibit will provide a brief history of the College’s aspirations and a look at its early curriculum. Students recall what campus life was like when the campus was being built around them; the makeshift “dorms” at the Carmel Retreat, a Boy Scout Camp,  and Club 300; the jazz festivals; and student and faculty strikes. These challenges forged a tight community and left fond memories. Come and experience an early 1970s college in Mahwah — sights, sounds, and recollections!


These exhibits will be on display along with our very popular permanent exhibits, the ever expanding Donald Cooper Model Railroad (open weekends only) and Les Paul in Mahwah!

We also invite you to join us for our upcoming gallery talks and lectures, taking place on Sunday afternoons and Thursday nights once a month.

Old Station Museum and Caboose CLOSED for repairs




At its June 27, 2019 meeting, the Board of Trustees of the Mahwah Museum voted that the Museum will not open the Old Station Museum and Caboose this summer until needed repair work on the Caboose is completed.

Work is also being done on the exterior of the Old Station.

It is our hope that all work will be completed by the end of the summer and that both Museums will be open on Mahwah Day.


The Old Station Museum and Caboose


1871 Old Station Lane, Mahwah, NJ 07430Old Station and Caboose

 **Please note: We cannot process credit cards inside the museum.***


The Mahwah Museum Society’s Old Station Museum and Caboose is now closed for the season. Admission to the museum is $3.00 per person over 16, admission is free for those under the age of 16.

The exhibit at the station this season features several models built by former Mahwah resident Hollis C. Bachmann.  Mr. Bachmann constructed a model of N.Y.C. #999 and several other trolleys. We were fortunate to receive a donation of this balance of Mr. Bachmann’s collection from his niece, Kay Doody. Mr. Bachmann had built our model of the North Jersey Rapid Transit interurban car (trolley) that ran from Suffern to Paterson. You may remember seeing that model in our main museum building. It was constructed of tin cans, was 2 feet in length, and included a detailed interior, having taken Mr. Bachmann 6 months to build. Please come by and see these really nicely- detailed creations that are the offspring of that trolley.

The Old Station Museum established in 1967 is located in a building that was the original station on the Erie Railroad in Mahwah. It was rescued from destruction, first by the Winters family and later by the Mahwah Historical Society. It contains many interesting artifacts given to the museum by collectors of railroad memorabilia. It also features a 1929 Erie cupola caboose which has been recently restored. There is a scale model of the Erie system and photos of the early days of railroading in Mahwah and along the rest of the mainline.

In 1848 the Paterson and Ramapo Railroad was built through Mahwah to carry passengers and freight from New York City, via Paterson, to the main line of the Erie Railroad located in Suffern, New York. From there, connections could be made to upstate New York, then Chicago, and on to the west.

In 1871 the leaders of Mahwah petitioned the Erie to allow a stop at a new station in Mahwah. The 1871 station remained in service until 1904 when the Erie expanded to four tracks and raised the roadbed from ground level. The second station remained until 1914 when it was destroyed by fire. The current station was built in 1914 and still serves commuters today.


Jazz Guitar Workshop with Stephen Benson

Jazz Guitar Workshop with Stephen Benson

Saturday September 14, 2019



Join Guitar Master Stephen Benson for an all-day jazz guitar workshop which will be held at the Mahwah Museum, 201 Franklin Turnpike, Mahwah, NJ 07430 from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Beginner, intermediate and advanced players are welcome. Players of all genres will benefit from the curriculum.

The cost of the workshop is $85.00 which includes take-home materials, lunch and a two-year museum membership. If you already have a museum membership, it will be extended for two more years. The workshop will conclude with a private performance for the students by Mr. Benson.  Space is limited so please register early! Advanced registration and payment is REQUIRED for this event.

To purchase your reservation for this event please click here.

Subject areas will include:

  • Learning tunes- several useful approaches to learning tunes well that help memorization, soloing and playing in an ensemble. The focus will be on a few certain tunes covering a range of styles from the 1920s through Wayne Shorter to funk styles.
  • Understanding harmony and how it applies to jazz.
  • Comping and playing in an ensemble. Rhythm guitar in a big band, small group or with a singer or another instrumentalist.
  • Solo guitar arrangements – how to put them together with different approaches.

About the workshop:   Students should bring a guitar (acoustic or archtop as amplifier availability will be extremely limited.).  Be prepared to play all day!

About Stephen Benson:

Stephen Benson is very active on the New York City freelance scene. He is comfortable in a variety of musical settings from jazz and classical music to rock, blues, rhythm and blues, Broadway, bluegrass and klezmer music. He has performed and or recorded with people as diverse as Phoebe Snow, John Sebastian, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Natalie Cole, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, Harry Connick Jr., Take 6, Fontella Bass, Jane Krakowski, Sutton Foster, Garrison Keillor, The Big Apple Circus, The New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Lukes, NYC Ballet Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra. He has been a regular performer at the Grand Canyon Music Festival with Robert Bonfiglio and has performed with Evelyn Blakey at the Carnival of Venice. He toured Europe for two years as a member of the Giora Feidman Trio and did a world tour of A Chorus Line. Most recently, he has performed on Broadway in the orchestra pits of Aladdin, Chicago and The Lion King. Also he composed and performed an original movie soundtrack for

“ P.T. Barnum: The Lost Legend “.


He was the first jazz guitar teacher at The Hartt School of Music under the direction of Jackie McLean and is currently on the jazz faculty at Montclair State University. He presently lives in NYC with his wife and twins.




For further information, please contact


This workshop is made possible by a grant from the Les Paul Foundation and is hosted by the Mahwah Museum Society Inc.




August-Give Back Where it Counts Back Program at Mahwah ACME

August-Give Back Where it Counts Back Program at Mahwah ACME



Mahwah Museum Society Inc. Celebrates Selection as an ACME GIVE BACK WHERE IT COUNTS Reusable Bag Program Beneficiary. Mahwah Museum has been selected as
a beneficiary of the ACME GIVE BACK WHERE IT COUNTS Reusable Bag Program for the month of August, 2019.

The ACME GIVE BACK WHERE IT COUNTS Reusable Bag Program, which launched in August 2018, is a reusable bag program that facilitates community support with the goal to
make a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work.

We were selected as the August beneficiary of the program by store leadership at the ACME located in Mahwah. Mahwah Museum Society Inc. will receive a $1 donation every time the $3.00 reusable GIVE BACK WHERE IT COUNTS Bag is purchased at this location during August, unless otherwise directed by the customer through the Giving Tag attached to the bag.

We will use these funds to continue to mount new exhibits, to arrange for lectures and gallery talks and to create even more joy for children of all ages at the Donald Cooper Model RR. The funds will also allow us to continue to collect and archive the story of Mahwah and the surrounding community.

For more information on the ACME GIVE BACK WHERE IT
COUNTS Reusable Bag Program, visit