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Learning Local History

Young Historians Dig Into Donated Personal Collection

THSSH Young Historians

Above: Young Historians Jack Browne, Jule Merrigan & Samantha Laham examining photographs at the Brick Academy

Bernards Township, New Jersey - Six Ridge High School students have started researching local history through the Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH). Meeting once or twice a week, the students gather in the lower level of the Brick Academy, poring through boxes of photographs, documents and artifacts donated to the Historical Society.

Vincent and Suzanne Tufariello of Bernards Township recently purchased the house next door to the Brick Academy and found a trove of memorabilia left behind in the house. She contacted THSSH to share her findings and donate furniture, photos and documents.

Trustee Meg Wastie decided to start a group of “Young Historians,” high school students who are earning community service credit through working with the donated materials. The students meet each week to sort through documents and photographs, learning a lot about local history while they make connections between founding families in the Somerset Hills. The students keep folders with different family names and specific locations, sorting and adding to their folders with each new find.

THSSH Young Historians

Above: Young Historian Anne Kleinle points out a photo to colleagues Jack Browne, Jule Merrigan & Samantha Laha

“I really enjoy working with these high school students,” commented Wastie. “Their excitement upon finding relationships and connections among the papers and photos in the donation boxes is contagious. They are enjoying themselves, learning a lot about their community, and doing a service for the Historical Society.”

They will be continuing their work at the Brick Academy on Charter Day. Stop in to meet them and see these dedicated students in action!

THSSH Young Historians

If you'd like to learn more about the THSSH Young Historians program - Click Here

Submitted: April 25, 2018
Submitted by: Meg Wastie


About The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH)

THSSH logoFounded in 1928 originally as the Historical Society of Basking Ridge, the mission and name of the society was later changed to The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization including all five communities of the Somerset Hills region: Bedminster Township, Bernards Township, Bernardsville ,Far Hills, Peapack-Gladstone which are all located in Somerset County, New Jersey.

The mission of The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH) is to acquire, conserve and share local artifacts and information on matters of local historic interest; cultivate interest in local history; encourage the preservation of local historic resources; facilitate historic research; and preserve, operate, and interpret the Brick Academy.

To further this mission, THSSH sponsors events and activities that promote community awareness and appreciation of the history and architecture of the Somerset Hills. THSSH headquarters is at the Brick Academy in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township, where our collections of items of local historic interest are available to the public.

About the Brick Academy

BR_Brick_Academy_Sketch_08_sm.jpgThe Brick Academy (also known as the Basking Ridge Classical Schoolhouse) is a 1809 Federal-style architectural structure located in the center of Basking Ridge in Bernards Township. The Brick Academy has been a boys’ private preparatory school, a public school, a meeting hall for several fraternal and benevolent organizations, and the Bernards Township municipal building. It currently serves as the headquarters of The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills, as well as a schoolhouse and museum to local history. The Brick Academy also celebrated its bicentennial in 2009.



the Brick Academy
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Street Address:
The Historical Society
of the Somerset Hills
15 West Oak Street,
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
(908) 221-1770

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Hours of Operation:
Museum Open
First Sunday
of each month
(except Summer
and Holidays)
Research Room

By Appointment Only




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