Museum Plans Early American Holiday Event

RAHWAY—The Merchants and Drovers Tavern Museum Association will host their annual holiday candlelight evening tours, on Saturdays, Dec. 5th and 12th, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the museum building located on the corner of St. Georges and Westfield avenues in Rahway.

The 210-year-old tavern building housing the museum will be decorated for the holidays as it might have been during the early 19th century. All the rooms will be aglow in candlelight, and a costumed musician performing on period instruments will entertain the evening’s guests with Christmas carols and 19th century holiday melodies.


This year’s event will feature the holiday music of nationally renowned musician and singer, Linda Russell. She will entertain audiences with ancient carols, interwoven with Yuletide poems, folklore and even recipes. For 20 years, Russell has been creating holiday magic at churches and historic sites throughout the U.S. Her concerts of Christmas past delight and inspire audiences in search of old-fashioned holiday traditions.

David Walker, manager of museum programs noted, “We’re honored to have Linda entertain our visitors again at this year’s holiday candlelight evenings. Her music sets the perfect tone and mood, and she always manages to get everyone to sing along and thoroughly enjoy the evening.”

The holiday candlelight evenings are presented annually by the museum association to interpret and demonstrate how Christmas and New Year festivities might have been celebrated by travelers and local residents at a stagecoach inn during different periods of its historic existence in Rahway.

Current day visitors can relax and enjoy the music, the food and the overall holiday atmosphere and feel as if they had stepped back in time to a Rahway of the 19th century. Visitors are also welcome to explore the 13 period-furnished rooms, plus a unique, interactive exhibit on the history of transportation in New Jersey.

In addition to the festivities, the Museum Gift Shop will be open for the evening and visitors will find items such as home décor, crafts, holiday decorations, candles, pottery, furniture and the latest edition of the Lloyd Garrison Rahway series of Christmas cards.  The shop, housed in the circa 1735 Terrill Tavern located behind the museum is also open every Saturday from 1-4 p.m. through December to accommodate holiday shoppers.

Admission to either evening’s event is $6 for members and seniors, $8 for non-members, $4 for students and children under 5 are free.  All tickets can be purchased at the door. The price includes hearty appetizers, beer, wine, cider and soft drinks.

All proceeds from both evenings will benefit the continued restoration and interpretation of the 210-year-old tavern building and its pivotal place in this nation’s early history.  For more information, call Museum Director Alex Shipley at 1-732-381-0441 or visit

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