Historical Society Needs Extra Hands

The Berkeley Township Historical Society Museum that sits on Route 9 was once Town Hall and Police Headquarters before it was the museum. (Photo by Sydney Kennedy)

  BERKELEY – The final destination for much of Berkeley Township’s historical relics are located at 630 Route 9. Faded photos from the past, farming equipment that echoes the township’s cranberry farming days, and colorful period clothing are settled within four walls bedecked with chipping paint.

  The building, according to Gerry Morey and Josie Morey, has not been significantly renovated since the 1930s, when New Deal-era projects took flight across the nation. Nearly a century later, the Moreys are trying to keep Berkeley Township’s history alive in an updated space.

  In order to renovate and update the space enough to regularly host and tour visitors through what the Moreys envision as a multi-level museum equipped with more interactive features, such as a library and archival research center, they are counting on more local donors and volunteers to become involved in the process, which was hindered by complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  “It’s gonna take all of us,” Josie Morey, Interim Membership Chair at the Berkeley Township Historical Society (BTHS) said.

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  The Township “has been a great help,” according to Gerry Morey, the President of the BTHS, in the updating of the museum by replacing its doors, providing a computer, updating the electric and plumbing systems and more. However, the Moreys are hoping for more local donors and volunteers to aid in supporting further projects or become a member.

A clay mining cart indicates that you have reached the Berkeley Township Historical Society Museum. (Photo by Sydney Kennedy)

  The BTHS look for local support when tackling issues like sunlight. Sunlight passes through the building’s windows and fades the museum’s photo displays over time, rendering the photos unviewable. Gerry Morey identified the museum’s need for room-darkening blinds to help preserve the photos. The BTHS also seeks cans of flat finish white paint, five large air conditioning units and flooring for the library and conference room for the archival research center.

  In return for donations and volunteer service, the BTHS can insert name plates around the building to memorialize the residents who helped renovate the building.

  Donors and volunteers can “be able to say [they] did something to keep history alive,” according to Gerry Morey.

  “We want the whole community to see the historical society as the center for community events,” Josie Morey said. Organizing, updating and renovating the museum is vital to the various events and plans the Moreys hope to carry out in order to establish the museum as a hub for local activity.

  Josie Morey hopes to launch the Young Historian Club to train the next generation to lead the BTHS “so that history will live forever.” The BTHS also looks to implement Museum Mondays, when they will request volunteers to clean and organize artifacts to be displayed and enjoy lunch; Technology Tuesday, when volunteers will scan and photograph artifacts and maps; and Work Night Wednesday, when volunteers will carry out weekly projects and enjoy dinner and soft drinks.

  “History has to live on,” Gerry Morey said.

“Go With the Dino” elicits images of the landmark Bayville Dinosaur. (Photo by Sydney Kennedy)

  The Moreys hope to soon install a modern security system and acquire an air conditioning system after the electric system is completely updated. Following the completion of those two projects, the BTHS and volunteers can begin archiving artifacts for the research center. Once all of the updates and renovations are complete, the Moreys hope to hold a grand re-opening.

  Josie Morey is working on increasing the BTHS’s membership. Membership has recently increased to nearly 300 members. It costs $10 per year for individuals to become a member and $15 per year for families to become members.

  The BTHS meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the basement of the Berkeley Township Town Hall at 630 Route 9.

  To learn more about becoming a member, contact Josie Morey at josiemorey@comcast.net. If you have any questions or would like to donate an artifact, contact Gerry Morey at gmorey5302@comcast.net.