New Display to Highlight Overlooked Segment of History, Create Relatable Content for Patrons

(Wayne, NJ) - The New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH) recently awarded a $17,000 Action Grant to the County of Passaic to develop a new exhibit and program that highlights the experiences of enslaved and indentured persons during the Revolutionary War in New Jersey. The NJCH Action Grant is awarded to organizations looking to implement new programs or expand existing projects that offer local communities the opportunity to explore the shared history and cultures that constitute the American melting pot.

“We are excited to partner with the New Jersey Council for the Humanities to create more inclusive programing that will highlight an often overlooked segment of our history as a country,” said Freeholder Director Sandi Lazzara. “The Dey Mansion is rapidly adding new exhibits and programming that is drawing new and returning visitors, and we are looking forward to adding this newest exhibit.”

The Dey Mansion is currently housing the “Oh Freedom!” travelling display, which is on loan from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. The “Oh Freedom!” display spotlights the African-American contribution to the Revolutionary War for the American and British sides. When the “Oh Freedom!” exhibit travels to a new location, the Dey Mansion will install a permanent display featuring the experiences of enslaved and indentured persons and how their stories affected the creation of the United States.

The action grant from the NJCH will allow the county to develop permanent exhibits and expand both public and school programming to highlight the important, yet seldom explored, stories of those enslaved and living in servitude in Colonial New Jersey. This project will help to re-imagine what local history means for all Passaic County and northern New Jersey residents, making history more relatable and engaging for our County’s diverse population. The County is already entrenched in the planning stages of this project and with resources from the NJCH can better implement its vision to exhibit original content, conduct a series of lectures, public and school programming, and, ultimately, incorporate this important perspective into its permanent narrative.

“The travelling exhibit from the NJDEP has been a popular addition to the Dey Mansion,” said Freeholder Assad Akhter. “It became clear that our patrons were enthused by the information on the traveling display, and the new permanent showcase will further enhance learning opportunities the Dey Mansion provides.”

Updated: Apr 15, 2018

This summer Vincent Bellomo (left), a member of Troop 108 in Wayne, is doing painting and repair work on the Dey Mansion’s smoke house and spring house as a project to earn his Eagle Scout rank. Mark Miragliotta, a scout and a student at Wayne Valley High School, is assisting Bellomo with the various tasks. Eagle Scout is the highest rank for any scout. More than two million young men have earned the award since it first was designated in 1912—two years after the scouting organization was founded. To achieve the distinction, an Eagle Scout must earn 21 merit badges in categories such as citizenship and community service, lifesaving and emergency preparedness, camping, environmental science, swimming, hiking and cycling. Bellomo, a student at Passaic County Technical Institute, said he hatched the idea for doing service work at the Dey Mansion because of his participation with the golf team at the vocational high school. He competes with the school’s golf team at Preakness Valley Golf Course, which is adjacent to the historic 18th century site, and became curious to learn if he could volunteer at the Dey Mansion.


Google’s free app for teachers and students brings the world into the classroom

(Paterson, NJ) – On May 9th, 2017, the Passaic County Freeholders approved Google Expeditions to include Historic Dey Mansion in Wayne to their virtual reality database. Google Expeditions allows educators to bring students on virtual reality field trips, providing students an opportunity to learn about museums, historical landmarks, and other points of interest. Google Expeditions photographs each location and pieces them together to provide a 360 view. The Google Expeditions app can utilize a Virtual Reality (VR) headset, but it is not required. Additionally, Google provides the app and documentation services free of charge. Passaic County has officially joined the vast partnership, which includes WNET, PBS, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Planetary Society, to name a few.

“The Dey Mansion is more than a house that George Washington slept in, it’s a place where he changed history,” said Freeholder Director Sandi Lazzara. “I am thrilled that Google is funding this phenomenal education initiative. The Expedition App brings all of this history into the classroom, and provides students with a more impactful learning experience.”

Google Expeditions creates content that can be integrated with existing course curriculums, annotating points of interest with detailed information and allowing teachers to add questions specific to their curriculum. Google Expeditions has sent out teams to document these sites and provides maintenance for the app, but also provides kits through Best Buy Education. By accepting verified user-generated content, Google Expeditions is rapidly expanding their virtual database.

“Google is performing a great service to our students by making this resource available, but they realized it was even more important to make their app as accessible to educators as possible,” said Freeholder T.J. Best. “Not all students have smartphones and not all schools have Wi-Fi for classrooms, but that does not prevent students from struggling school districts from learning about the world with this app.”

Google Expeditions provides an opportunity for students to bring distant places such as the Great Wall of China or the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza into the classroom, but an equally important part of their mission is to make this service as accessible as possible. The program offers kits, which include routers that allow the app to run without an internet connection and tools to turn student’s smartphones into VR headsets.


199 Totowa Road, Wayne, NJ 07470

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