Experiencing Arts and Culture While Living in Lumberton, NJ

Burlington County, NJ, doesn't have as many museums and art venues as nearby Philadelphia, but there are a handful of interesting and notable museums in Lumberton, NJ, worth visiting. The following list identifies some of those museums and their significance to the region.

Smithville Mansion

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Smithville Mansion is the former home of Industrial Revolution pioneer H.B. Smith. Upon visiting Burlington County in 1865 looking for a new location for his business, Smith, an avid inventor and congressman, purchased the town of Shreveville and renamed it “Smithville.” The land, which includes the mansion, was acquired by the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 1975.

Today, Smithville Mansion is open to the public, providing guided tours from May through October. Visitors can walk through the mansion’s casino annex, complete with a card room, billiard room and bowling alley, and the beautifully landscaped gardens and courtyards. The mansion reopens every December for its Victorian Christmas celebration, where rooms are decorated by local garden clubs. Smithville Mansion also hosts special candlelit tours and teas several times monthly.

Burlington County Prison Museum

It might not sound like the most glamorous, exciting place to visit, but the Burlington County Prison Museum offers visitors a glimpse of what correctional facilities were like during a very different time period. The National Historic Landmark, designed by Robert Mills, one of America’s first natural-born and trained architects, was completed in 1811. The building was so well constructed that it remained in use until 1965. When it closed, it was the oldest operating prison in the United States. Visitors can tour the facilities and learn about the prison’s management system at the time, which incorporated philosophies of penal reform and criminal rehabilitation that were heavily advocated during that time, but considered inhumane by today's standards.

Garden State Discovery Museum

Located in nearby Cherry Hill, NJ, the Garden State Discovery Museum is the perfect place for families and kids. The hands-on museum provides learning opportunities perfect for children up to ten years old. Visitors will enjoy the unique experience of interacting and learning together while exploring the hands-on exhibits that range from a mock construction site, to a farmers market, to a butterfly garden.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Sitting at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the third-largest art museum in the country and contains an impressive collection of works spanning a range of artistic periods. There are over 80 period rooms on the second floor, allowing visitors to experience historic cultures, and the museum is known for bringing in the latest, cutting-edge exhibitions.

Aside from the museum’s expansive art collection, they also host a slew of events, ranging from chef demonstrations, to yoga, to art-making. Their popular Art After 5 series is held every Friday starting at 5 p.m. The museum’s Great Stair Hall transforms into a swanky cabaret and features live music and dancing. One week they might be celebrating the music and moves of the tango; another week they might be highlighting a performance by an up-and-coming jazz musician. On the first Sunday of every month and every Wednesday after 5 p.m. the museum offers “pay what you wish” admission, meaning you name your price of admission.

If you’re looking for more grand cultural experiences and things to do in Lumberton, NJ, but find yourself coming up short, just consider your location: Philadelphia is across the Delaware River and New York City is a car ride away, giving you easy access to the East Coast’s largest arts and cultural epicenters.