Museums Abound!

Two new venues promote the arts

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The future: Jersey City Museum and community center
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The Apple Tree House: now. Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Room, Jersey City Free Public Library
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The Apple Tree House: then. Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Room, Jersey City Free Public Library
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The Apple Tree House
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The future: Jersey City Museum and community center
  2 / 4 
The Apple Tree House: now. Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Room, Jersey City Free Public Library
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The Apple Tree House: then. Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Room, Jersey City Free Public Library
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The Apple Tree House

Photos by Al Sullivan

Talk about rags to riches. A former repair garage for Public Service, the forerunner to PSE&G, is slated to become a world-class arts center, the Jersey City Museum and community center. The Jersey City Redevelopment Authority (JCRA) purchased the five-story, 55,000-square-foot Pathside Building at 25 Sip Ave. from Hudson County Community College.

In August, the JCRA selected the international firms OMA/AMO and AEA as the architectural and creative consultants on the project.

“OMA/AMO and AEA have proven their expertise in museum development, and I am confident they will help us define our vision for a space that will become a destination for artists and visitors alike,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.

OMA is the architecture firm, AMO is the in-house research and design studio, and AEA consults on strategy and planning for cultural projects.

“Historically, Journal Square was not only a transportation hub but also a cultural center,” said Jason Long, OMA Partner-in-Charge. “And museums are increasingly serving as dynamic spaces that engage both local communities and global audiences.”

“The OMA/AMO/AEA proposal was directly in line with our larger vision for the Jersey City Museum,” said JCRA’s director, Diana Jefferies.

The museum will focus on the visual and performing arts with part of the building reserved for local artists. Its proximity to the PATH will attract artists and visitors from throughout the region.

Meanwhile, back at the historic Apple Tree House, arts programming is being planned for the legendary site of a meeting between Generals Washington and Lafayette. The Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs is spearheading the initiative, which included a George Washington wreath-laying on Presidents’ Day. Throughout the year, there were a series of talks by the New Jersey Council on the Humanities’ Public Scholars Project, in partnership with local nonprofit groups. Exhibitions and tours explore the rich history of Jersey City and Bergen Hill. Visit jerseycityculture.org.—Kate Rounds