Two new exhibits at Hoboken Museum


The wait is over, the Hoboken Historical Museum (13th and Hudson) reopens this weekend after a long winter break!

Hoboken Museum reopens Jan. 31st with 2 new exhibits

Plus Volunteer Appreciation Party!

Come celebrate “Surveying the World,” a hands-on exhibition about Keuffel & Esser, a major Hoboken employer from 1870 – 1968 world-renowned for its slide rules and surveying equipment, and “Hoboken Light and Geometry,” a photography exhibit!

Hoboken Historical Museum opens on Sunday January 31 2010 NJ

Keuffel & Esser

K&E, the initials carved into the roofline of the building at the corner of Third & Adams Sts., are the only local trace of a company that played a key role in America’s phenomenal age of discovery and growth. Keuffel & Esser, a precision engineering instrument manufacturer that was based in Hoboken from 1870 to 1968, supplied the tools for expeditions to the North Pole and across the American continents and for such engineering marvels as the Brooklyn Bridge and Panama Canal. It also created jobs for thousands of Hoboken residents, including the “Spider Lady,” Mary Pfeiffer, who ran K&E’s spider ranch from 1889 to World War II, producing the filaments that were used as crosshairs in telescopic sights.

Anyone who remembers using a slide rule for complex calculations can thank K&E for popularizing the tool, its best-selling item among the thousands in its catalog. In over 90 years of operations in Hoboken, K&E became the leading purveyor of tools and instruments used by engineers, surveyors and the military, selling more than 10,000 items from nearly 300,000 square feet of office and factory space in Hoboken.

Examples of many of these instruments will be on display in the Museum’s Main Gallery starting Sunday, Jan. 31, with the opening reception from 2 – 5pm, for Surveying the World: Keuffel & Esser + Hoboken, 1875 – 1968. At the event, we will celebrate our many volunteers, and outline volunteer opportunities for 2010.

Visitors will be able to interact with some of the items on display, including slide rules, surveying instruments, lettering systems and drafting tools. Descriptive plaques will describe how these tools were used in building railroads, farming and exploration. School groups can arrange tours through education director Sherrard Bostwick, at or 201-656-2240. The exhibit is made possible in part through a Special Project grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, and the generosity of corporate sponsors: The Applied Companies, John Wiley & Sons, and Bijou Properties.

The company’s founders, William J.D. Keuffel and Hermann Esser, built a series of large factory buildings around the 300 block of Adams, after opening their headquarters in New York in 1867. In 1975-76, the concrete “West” building became one of the first examples of adaptive re-use of an industrial building, known as The Clock Tower Apartments for its iconic four-sided clock, and joined the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The “East” building was converted in 1984 to residential use.

Peter Ziebel Hoboken Light and Geometry Selections Historical Museum NJ

Hoboken: A Study in Geometry and Light

Photographer Peter Ziebel has been walking around Hoboken with a camera shooting photos of the changing urban landscape off and on for the past 30 years. Since April 2009, he has met the personal challenge of posting a photo a day on his website, He calls it “a daily log of light and geometry.” That’s the inspiration for Ziebel’s current show in the Upper Gallery of the Museum, Hoboken Light and Geometry, A Selection of Photographs, which also opens on Jan. 31. Most of the photographs are drawn from images he’s taken in the past year, although some go back a little farther.

“My work is a continuing attempt to depict my experience of the ever-changing face of Hoboken’s urban landscape,” Ziebel says. “I am particularly interested in the visual juxtapositions of old and new, classic and kitsch, growth and decay, public and private, the mundane and the majestic, that define the visual character of this city.”

This is Ziebel’s second HHM show. Ziebel also teaches an evening series of photography classes at the Museum, in which he helps demystify digital cameras. He teaches art and photography at the Hudson School, and he published a children’s book in 1989, “Look Closer,” which inspires kids to identify objects from close-up photographs. He’s been a professional freelance photographer for the past 20 years.

Read more about the Museum after the break!

About the Hoboken Historical Museum
Founded 1986, the Museum’s mission is to educate the public about Hoboken’s history, diverse culture, architecture and historic landmarks. In 2001, the Museum moved into one of the oldest buildings on the waterfront, in the former Bethlehem Steel shipyard, at 1301 Hudson St., Hoboken, where it maintains a series of rotating exhibits. The Museum is open six days a week, 2 – 7 pm on Tues. – Thurs., 1 – 5 pm on Fridays, and noon – 5 pm on weekends. It offers special exhibits, tours, events and lectures, as well as educational programs for adults and children on a weekly basis. An updated schedule of events and an online catalog of many items in its collections are available at The Museum is a not-for-profit tax-exempt 501(c) entity.

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