Museums & Galleries
Burlington County is home to many art galleries and museums. There are three art galleries right here in your park system? Historic Smithville Park is home to two of them - The Smithville Mansion Annex Gallery and The Worker’s House Museum & Gallery. The Mansion Annex Gallery hosts larger exhibits and group art shows. The Worker’s House was built between 1865 and 1870 and housed H.B. Smith’s workers along with their families during the factory’s operation. It now serves as an art gallery with a focus on hand-crafted art and textiles.
The third art gallery, The Warden’s House Gallery, is located in downtown Mount Holly, adjacent to the Historic Prison Museum. Completed in 1888, the house served as the warden’s living quarters after the prison became too full. This gallery features fine art, as well as a seasonal Hugh Campbell collection. Have you heard of Hugh Campbell? Sometimes called the “Van Gogh of Mount Holly” , Hugh Campbell was a man who painted voraciously and then lined his canvases in front of a wall on High Street, selling them for as little as $5. Today, some are valued for much, much more! Hugh chose modest homes to paint in Mount Holly and painted many. Are you a resident? Perhaps your home was one of them!
The Burlington County Prison Museum is a National Historic Landmark located in historic Mount Holly. Designed by Robert Mills, one of America 's first native-born and trained architects, the Burlington County Prison was completed in 1811. One of Robert Mills' first designs as an independent architect, the interior vaulted ceilings of poured concrete and brick and stone construction made the building virtually fireproof. In fact, it was so well constructed that it remained in constant use until 1965. Also on High Street in Mount Holly is the County’s first general history and natural science museum to be housed in the Langstaff Mansion in historic Mount Holly. The museum is called the Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences in keeping with the historical use of the building. Built in the 1830’s, the Mansion was home to the Langstaff Family and became the original Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences in the 1860’s. Most recently, the building was home to the Mount Holly Library until being purchased by the County in 2013. The Library was the depository for 127 original volumes of the Library Company of Bridgetown formed in 1765.The museum will be dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the history of Burlington County through examination of its diverse communities, their ways of life and their contributions to the world as it once was and as it is today. In addition to the installation of state of the art exhibits and visual displays for the museum, the landscaping has been restored to reflect the way the Langstaff Mansion looked from High Street in the 1800’s.
The Underground Railroad Museum of Burlington County operated in the City of Burlington for several years as a private enterprise by Louise Calloway at a site directly behind a station on the Underground Railroad. Following the Museum’s closure in the spring of 2013, the Burlington County Freeholders announced that a special exhibit of the Museum’s possessions would be housed at Smithville under the auspices of the Burlington County Parks System.This permanent location on the Historic Smithville Park grounds is now open. The museum offers visitors a visual presentation of the Underground Railroad experience in America, with emphasis on New Jersey and Burlington County where the Underground Railroad flourished before the Civil War.