Mar. 12 -Mahwah History Trivia Night at Mahwah Bar and Grill

Robert Armstrong Smith

Thursday March 12 at 7:00 p.m. 

At Mahwah Bar and Grill, 2 Island Rd. Mahwah, NJ.

Mahwah Museum will be hosting another Mahwah history trivia night!

Calling local history buffs! Test your knowledge against your neighbors on all things Mahwah history. Join a team (of 4) or bring your friends for a one of a kind competition. Enjoy great food and refreshments.

There is no admission charge and a percentage of purchases made during/at the event will be donated to the Museum.

Contact Mahwah Bar & Grill at 201-529-8056 to reserve.



March 7 -Screening of Award-Winning Documentary “Palisades Amusement Park”

Palisades Amusement Park: A Century of Fond Memories

Palisades Amusement Park: A Century of Fond Memories (1998)

Saturday, March 7 at 11:00 am

at Mahwah Museum

Join us for a rare screening of “Palisades Amusement Park: A Century of Fond Memories.” Narrated by the legendary Ken Burns, the film looks into the history of this New Jersey landmark through the visitors and personalities who knew the park so well: Buddy Hackettt, Walter Cronkite, John Sebastian, Soupy Sales, Cousin Brucie and many others. The documentary won numerous awards for excellence including the 1998 ITVA Gold Award, the 1999 Telly Award and was nominated for an Emmy by the New York Chapter of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Outstanding Historical/Cultural Programming. After the screening, there will be a discussion and Q&A with film producers Vince Gargiulo and David Comora. Screening will be 1 hour.

As the founder and executive director of the Palisades Amusement Park Historical Society, Vince Gargiulo began the extensive research of the New Jersey resort in 1991. With the cooperation of hundreds of residents, employees, and executives of the Park, Mr. Gargiulo has compiled the most comprehensive history of the Park ever written, Palisades Amusement Park: A Century of Fond Memories. The book was published in 1995 by Rutgers University Press and became the fastest selling book in the publisher’s history. In 1998, he wrote and co-produced the PBS documentary, Palisades Amusement Park: A Century of Fond Memories for public television.

The screening is free for museum members, $5 for non-members.  Reservations are recommended; please contact to reserve seats.


March 5 – The Fight for Women’s Suffrage

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

A Lecture by Lindsey Greene Barrett

March 5th at 7:30 pm

at Mahwah Museum

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the nineteenth amendment, which gave American women the right to vote. Lindsey Greene Barrett will present the 70+ year story of the fight for women’s suffrage in the United States, and the influential women who brought it to fruition. New Jersey has its own unique voting history, and was home to several women who were integral to the suffrage movement, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul. Ms. Barrett will discuss Mahwah’s ties to the movement, and how local communities were affected and became involved in the struggle for women’s rights.

Alice Paul in 1918

Lindsey Greene Barrett grew up in Mahwah and has lived in Wyckoff for the past two decades. She taught Women as Entrepreneurs at Fairleigh Dickinson for nine years, and has lectured widely on influential women in history.

The lecture is free for museum members; $5 for non- members.  Refreshments will be served.  Reservations are recommended; to reserve seats, please contact or call 201-512-0099.

Feb. 13 -Palisades Amusement Park Trivia Night at Mahwah Bar and Grill


February 13 at 7:00 PM

at Mahwah Bar and Grill, 2 Island Rd., Mahwah, NJ

The Mahwah Museum will host a Palisades Amusement Park trivia night!

Fans of The Palisades Amusement Park can test their knowledge against their neighbors’ about the history of the legendary amusement park, from its opening in 1898 to its close in 1971.  Participants can join a team (of 4), or cheer on friends, during this one-of-a-kind competition.  This special event will be held at the Mahwah Bar and Grill; there will be no admission charge and a percentage of food and beverage purchased during the event will be donated to the Mahwah Museum.  Prizes will be awarded to the winning team, and one lucky participant will receive a door prize.

Museum Trustee Wade Morgan will MC, and Vince Gargiulo, Executive Director of Palisades Amusement Park Historical Society, will judge.  Contact Mahwah Bar & Grill at 201-529-8056 to reserve a table. 



Feb. 6 – Alfred P. Smith: African American Newspaper Publisher

A lecture by Arnold E. Brown

at Mahwah Museum

Thursday, February 6 at 7:30 PM

Bergen County Historian Arnold E. Brown will tell the story of Alfred P. Smith, an African American from Saddle River who published The Landscape out of his home.  Smith acted as the editor, printer and publisher of the newspaper, which he originally “intended as A LETTER TO OUR FRIENDS on matters of interest.”  The newspaper remained in circulation in the Saddle River Valley from the early 1880s until Smith’s death in 1901.  Filled with neighborhood news, political commentary and local advertisements, The Landscape is considered a valuable resource for Saddle River Valley historical research.

Bergen County Historian Arnold E. Brown

Presenter Arnold E. Brown is a civil rights leader who founded the Du Bois Book Center in Englewood, which specializes in African American Studies and Black Studies. Brown is the Bergen County Chair of African American Advisory Committee and the Martin Luther King Monument Committee. He is the author of Black Loyalists in Bergen County and “The Book of Negroes,” in the Revolutionary War in Bergen County, and is co-author of  Images of America: Englewood and Englewood Cliffs and Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women.   A member of the Bergen County Historic Preservation Advisory Board and the Bergen County Human Relations Committee, Arnold Brown is the first African-American person from Bergen County elected to the NJ State Legislature.

This lecture is free for museum members and $5 for non-members.  Refreshments will be served.  Contact to reserve seats.




New Exhibits for the 2019-2020 Season

New Exhibits for the 2019-2020 Season


Mahwah’s His-“TREE”:  75 Years as a Township, 1944-2019


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.


Palisades Amusement Park Comes to Mahwah – In Miniature!

(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!