Step back in time at the Dr. William Robinson Plantation Museum
In residential Clark New Jersey, set back from Madison Hill Road is a home built in 1690. Look past the modern homes, the skate park and the banquet hall on that road, and imagine a time when there were no paved roads and no streetlights. My family visited the plantation on a day when there was a special event and as a former aspiring museum curator, I couldn’t have been more excited by experience at the Dr. William Robinson Plantation.
Dr. Robinson, a physician from Scotland made his home on the Rahway River with his 4 children. He examined patients in the home, and artifacts are in the “Medicine Room” showing the tools he used. Our favorite was the wig he wore to show when he was being a doctor! When he finished, the wig was removed and he was then an acquaintance, and might have turned a visit into a social call.
Other rooms on the main floor are the Bed Chamber and The Hall. The home has original wood floors and the low ceilings common of homes from this period. All rooms have displays of artifacts you’d find in a home such as this (if not from the Robinson Plantation itself). We always love seeing the candle making supplies and there were some in the Hall, by the fireplace. Did you know hot stones were used to warm beds? Learn more in the Bed Chamber and think about if you’d be comfortable sleeping in the trundle bed on display!
There’s a narrow, winding staircase to the second floor that will make you thankful for today’s modern wide footboard and straight staircases! On the second floor, discover artifacts found around the home, including a grave stone from an unknown person. Explore photos of the home’s restoration on easels and look at maps of the area.
The home’s cellar has been renovated to give more headroom – which wasn’t needed in the days livestock were housed there! A variety of farm tools are on display and our favorite was the slate used by students. Quite a difference from today’s smart boards.
The home is pleasantly lit and fans run on hot days to keep visitors comfortable. On the property outside the home you’ll find a barn, a potting shed and a corn crib along with other structures built by local Boy Scouts. Spend a few hours imagining pre-revolutionary life right in Union County.
What you need to know before you visit the Dr. William Robinson Plantation
- The Dr. William Robinson Plantation (593 Madison Hill Road, Clark NJ) is open every third Sunday, from 12-4 during March – June, and September – December.
- Admission is free!
- Parking is located on the street.
- Special events are held throughout the year and the museum participates in Union County’s Four Centuries in a Weekend.
- Museum shop is open when the museum is open.
- Tour guides are available inside, or pick up their detailed “self-guided tour for visitors” pamphlet upon entry.
For more Dr. William Robinson Plantation photos, see our Facebook Album.