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The DAR Van Bunschooten Museum

DAR Van Bunschooten MuseumThis Dutch Colonial house was built in 1787 as the home of the Reverend Elias Van Bunschooten, a Dutch Reformed Minister. He was thirty-seven when he arrived to take charge of three consistories — Maghagamack, Minisink and Walpack — in 1785, and he served the area faithfully until his death in 1815.

In addition to his vocation, Van Bunschooten was a farmer, mill operator, and large land owner; his farm was part of a 1,000 acre plantation. The house is of post and beam construction, and the outbuildings include a barn, wagon house, ice house, and privy.

In 1971, the Van Bunschooten house, outbuildings, and six and a half acres were donated to the Chinkchewunska Chapter of the DAR by Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Ramsey. During 2011, the Chinkchewunska Chapter celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the chapter’s ownership of this magnificent historic home.

The chapter immediately set to work to restore, refurbish and redecorate the home, now known as the DAR Van Bunschooten Museum. The house and outbuildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and Places in 1974, and the house is used as the chapter headquarters.

Keeping Room, DAR Van Bunschooten Museum
The keeping room in the museum

Visitors enjoy ten rooms of the house, which are filled with an impressive collection of period antiques, many of which were donated by the original family, and used in the home. Items in the collection span a range from 1787 to 1860, and include: clothing, quilts and woven coverlets, furniture, oil paintings, cookware and china, wagons, and farm implements. The library has approximately 900 volumes and is used for local historical and genealogical research.

The Van Bunschooten Museum has remained true to its origins, despite four or five changes of ownership, and numerous tenants. Electricity, plumbing, and heat have been the only modern additions. Information is available by calling 973-875-4058 or 973-383-0015.

The DAR Van Bunschooten Museum is located at 1097 Route 23, Wantage, NJ 07461 (4 miles north of Sussex, NJ). The museum is open for tours from May 15–October 15, on Thursdays and Saturdays, 1:00–4:00 pm, and also by appointment. Please call 973-875-5746 before visiting.

 

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