Our Mission

The mission of the Jersey City Museum is to present, collect, and interpret American visual art and material culture of the highest quality. The museum places particular emphasis on exhibiting and supporting the work of contemporary artists who represent the diversity of our society, and on preserving and making accessible the art and the historical and industrial objects of significance to the region in its collections. Through its exhibitions, educational initiatives, and public programs, the museum serves as a center of cultural life for the people of Jersey City, Hudson County and the region.


Founded in 1901, Jersey City Museum (JCM) was originally conceived as a museum of art, science, industry and history with a broad mission to educate the public. The museum as a teaching institution—an idea particularly espoused by John Cotton Dana (1856–1929), a librarian who went on to found the Newark Museum in 1909—was apt because JCM was initially founded as part of the first Jersey City Free Public Library, and remained so for the next century. Under the auspices of the Library, JCM served as a thriving cultural center throughout the first half of the century, and was visited by thousands of citizens, many of whom were newly arrived immigrants to the region, which was fast becoming an important center of commerce and industrialization. The museum was open to people from all walks of life, and presented exhibitions of art and artifacts, and offered a range of classes. Subsequently in 1931, local benefactors established a Museum Association with goals “...to acquaint all the people of the community with matters of the past and present . . . and to emphasize the values of all cultures and to show the people what they can learn from each other. ”These goals remain central to the museum's mission today.

Despite being an important repository of regional art and artifacts, and serving as the community's main cultural center, the museum was largely dormant in the 1950's as a result of the city's overall economic downturn. With its future in doubt and financial support to the library dwindling, the museum's Permanent Collection was stored away and its activities were curtailed.

In the mid 1970's, the community—including students from Jersey City State College, local artists, educators and neighbors—initiated efforts to rescue the collection and revive the museum. In 1987, in its first move toward independence, backed by strong community and municipal support, the Jersey City Museum separated fiscally from the Library.

In 1993, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency donated the building at 350 Montgomery Street to the museum, in response to the multi-year community-wide fundraising campaign the museum had launched by this time. The new $11 million facility, located two blocks from its original Library location, was completed in December 2000 and officially opened its doors to the public on October 19, 2001. Our new home, a 1920s historic building that has been restored to a 30,000-sq.-ft., fully ADA-compliant facility, features 8 galleries, the152-seat Caroline L. Guarini Theater, 2 state-of-the-art classrooms, a sky-lit atrium lobby, and other welcoming public spaces.

Today, JCM continues its mission with a revamped institutional focus and direction. In just six years, the museum has become Hudson County's cultural gem and is the leading presenter of contemporary art in the state. Hailed by The NY Times as “the most dynamic contemporary art site in NJ,” JCM is consistently named a “Major Impact Institution” and has been awarded multiple “Citations of Excellence” by the State Arts Council.

As the only art and history museum in Hudson County, JCM serves a broad and diverse urban community through exhibitions and programs that showcase the work of artists who represent the diversity of our society, as well as wide-ranging educational offerings that reflect the region's diverse cultural heritage. In addition, the museum's 20,000-piece permanent collection includes the single-largest collection of works by the 19th-century artist and illustrator, August Will, along with other works that record the visual history of Jersey City and the surrounding region.

Each year, through a full schedule of critically acclaimed exhibitions, and related education programs for school groups, adults, seniors, art enthusiasts and alike, the museum welcomes over 25,000 visitors from all over the NJ/NY region and serves over 11,000 youth through arts education programs.

Contributed by Anonymous
You are redirected to this page because your browser does not accept cookies and/or does not support Javascript. Please check your browser settings and try again.