Incubation Grant for Isaac Pearson House Winds up

We have just wrapped up a New Jersey Council on the Humanities Incubation Grant to the Historical Society of Hamilton Township for the 1773 Isaac Pearson Mansion House. We assisted with developing and prototyping educational activities at the site during its restoration and once it opens to the public.

The site, saved from the destruction that accompanied new highways and development in the 1970s, was purchased and stewarded by Hamilton Township. The Township has just begun planning for its restoration and reuse as an experiential learning center/makerspace for Colonial-era trades/crafts and as a regional visitor center for the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area. However, the restoration will not be done until 2023 or 2024.

We served as the humanities scholar and prepared an annotated bibliography of academic literature and best practices for historic site interpretation for diverse audience engagement. We hosted a focus group with key audiences and developed and hosted two related educational programs/experiences on Zoom. We evaluated both programs, and authored a final report outlining how the historic site could develop regular, humanities-based programs for a wide variety of audiences.

Last year we completed an Assessment of Heritage Tourism Potential for the Isaac Pearson Mansion House which provided advice to the Township as the owner of the building, and to the Historical Society of Hamilton Township as the lessee who will run and manage the Isaac Pearson House during rehabilitation and once it opens to the public=

This Assessment of Heritage Tourism Potential also focused on the three-to-four-year rehabilitation period before the site is open to the public, as the Historical Society prepares to expand its organizational capacity to manage the building when it is finally open for visitors. This period also allows what is now an all-volunteer Historical Society to learn about and enhance its organizational capacity for public relations, fundraising, outreach, and initial cross-marketing efforts.