The Newark Museum of Art Announces the Reopening of the Ballantine House, a Unique Urban Mansion Reenvisioned as a Beacon for the City's Bright Future
Public Ribbon Cutting Celebration: Friday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m., With Remarks by Linda C. Harrison, Director & CEO, the Newark Museum of Art, the Honorable M. Teresa Ruiz, NJ State Senator, the Honorable LaMonica R. McIver, City of Newark Council President. Reopening to the Public Saturday, Nov. 18.
NEWARK, N.J., November 8, 2023 (Newswire.com) - The newly restored Ballantine House at The Newark Museum of Art reinterprets a remarkably preserved 1885 urban mansion as an immersive historical experience — transforming a symbol of the city’s industrial past into a testament to the city’s diverse communities and a beacon of its bright future.
Reopening to the public on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, The Ballantine House will offer visitors new experiences through installations that celebrate Newark’s dynamic heritage and the Black and immigrant communities that built it, while also spotlighting the Museum’s impressive contemporary art and decorative arts collections. The project speaks to New Jersey’s future as a world-class arts destination.
The Ballantine House presents an innovative historic house interpretation, revealing untold stories of 19th- and early 20th-century Newark. As visitors move through the 1885 mansion, they will learn the stories of the Ballantine family who made their fortune in the beer industry, of the Irish, British, and European immigrants who worked in or built the house, and of the African American community who lived nearby. A main goal of the reimagined Ballantine House is to give Newarkers a greater sense of civic pride, inspiring them to learn more about their city’s history and to feel empowered to participate in its future.
The Ballantine House at 43 Washington Street, adjacent to the Museum’s Main Building, is a rare survivor from the late 19th century. It is a three-story, 27-room brick and sandstone mansion built for Jeanette and John Holme Ballantine, and their four children. The house sits across the street from Harriet Tubman Square, in what was once a fashionable residential enclave where the city’s elite built dream homes that epitomized Newark’s success and grandeur. The Ballantine House, however, is the only urban mansion of its kind in the area that survived and is open to the public. It’s a rare example of a late Victorian mansion frozen in time. Few homes from the period remain in such pristine condition, especially in an urban context, across America.
While the Ballantine House has been open to the public as a house museum since 1976, this re-installation will offer a radically new and inclusive interpretation of its story. The original and 1891 interior décor of the period rooms will offer unexpected moments with installations of contemporary art from The Newark Museum of Art’s collections, which feature a strong presence of works by BIPOC artists.
The Ballantine House’s interpretive galleries and period rooms will offer visitors an unprecedented interactive and engaging experience. Audio-visual elements, such as soundscapes, illuminated stained glass and fireplace, and period-specific “secret phones” will provide an enhanced multi-sensory experience, bringing this static space to life. Visitors will feel as though they have stepped back in time, immersed in late 19th-century Newark.
Under the leadership of Director and CEO Linda C. Harrison, The Newark Museum of Art has launched an era of transformation to create an engaged citizenry by reimagining the role of the art museum for the 21st century. This ethos is pervasive throughout the new Ballantine House’s emphasis on visitor-centric interactivity and accessibility.
Source: The Newark Museum of Art