The New Jersey State Museum is housed in an unprepossessing group of '60s buildings down the street from the State House (capitol), but don't be put off: This institution has been collecting since 1895 and has lots to offer, including a good planetarium. New Jersey is the focus of collecting but that leaves plenty of opportunity for rare finds. The main staircase wall exhibits Thomas Eakins bronze relief panels of the Battle of Trenton, demounted from the 1893 Battle Monument ~ you can't get more up close. You'll find urban Georgia O'Keefe and the Stieglitz modernists; a concentration in works by 19th & 20th century African-American artists such as Jacob Lawrence & Romare Bearden; and works by John Marin, Louise Nevelson, Roy Lichtenstein and Alexander Calder. The archaeology & ethnology exhibit is a revelation and if you weren't aware that America's post-Civil War center was Trenton, you'll be swept away by the ceramics, particularly the American Belleek and the Baseball vase. Admission is free, with a $5 charge for Planetarium shows; shop has a nice range of exclusive items and kid-friendly treasures.
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