By 1880 there were hundreds of independent potteries operating within the city of Trenton. The Museum houses an extensive collection of ceramic and porcelain wares, including redware, stoneware, yellow ware, ironstone, tile, architectural terra-cotta, and art pottery.
In response to the need for skilled workers in these potteries, the School of Industrial Arts (most closely associated with the 1911 Cass Gilbert-designed Kelsey Building on West State Street) was opened in 1898 to train potters and other young people in their trades. Mrs. Alice Maddock, wife of Thomas Maddock of the British pottery family, saw the need for ceramic models at the school for students to study – including objects that could be handled and patterns that could be emulated. She had developed “one of the most comprehensive collections of blue and white china of the period contemporary with the Revolutionary War” which she bequeathed to the city of Trenton in 1902 for use and display at the School of Industrial Arts. Read more about the Alice Maddock collection, which was featured in an 2014 exhibit at the Museum.
While there are many fine examples of each of these, the collection concentrates on table and art porcelain, particularly from Trenton’s most successful manufacturer, the Ceramic Art Company and its successor, Lenox. In addition, Trenton’s last art potteries – Boehm and Cybis – are also represented in collections each has donated to the museum.
Many items in the Museum’s collection require repair or restoration. Every year, the Society’s holds an “Art and Artifact Adoption Party” where supporters of the museum can donate money to “adopt” a specific artifact or piece of art. Some of the 2014 “adoptees” are currently on display on the second floor of the Museum. Read more.
For more information about the Museum’s permanent collection, contact the Trenton Museum Society’s Collections Committee at email@example.com.