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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.