The Commission was created by the Board of Chosen Freeholders by resolution according to State Statute on January 1, 1971. Its responsibilities include the "development of programs to promote interest and participation in and understanding of local history, arts, cultural values and goals of the community and state by working directly with arts and historical organizations, schools, religious organizations, service clubs, municipal governments and other interested groups and individuals." The Commission may establish museum and cultural programs, including fine and performing arts programs; undertake historical, architectural, and genealogical research; and publish reports, directories, and books that help develop interest in historical and cultural matters. Programs are designed to serve residents of all ages.
Nine commissioners are appointed by the Freeholders; each serves a five-year term without compensation and may be reappointed. Efforts are focused on creating a Commission that is culturally diverse and geographically representative, with expertise in the arts or history.
The Commission supports these arts enrichment programs for Hunterdon County students and residents:
- Art Goes to School, a nationally-recognized program for K-4 students, provides trained volunteers to visit classrooms to display and discuss work by the world’s leading artists. At educators’ request, the program, in use since 1992, also has been presented to pre-kindergarten, special-needs, and middle school students.
- The Most Historic Place In My Town annual essay competition for third and fourth grade students seeks to encourage an interest in historic preservation and the built environment. Professional historians and members of the Retired Teachers Association select winning entries. The first place winner is named Junior Historian of Hunterdon County.
- Historical Markers, distinctive blue steel signs that mark significant historic sites in the county, are requested by municipalities and local historians, researched and approved by the Commission, and installed by the County Department of Public Works. The current 255 signs cover historical sites from the covered bridge to early mills. Click here for a list of marker locations and nd review our Policy and Application
- History Collections held by the Commission include an architectural survey of the county, over 200 photographs of old Hunterdon County scenes, and an inventory and documentation of the location, type and historical significance of 90 stone arch bridges, a project completed with the aid of the Departments of Planning and Public Works.
- Books published by the Commission describe aspects of the County’s history. They are written pro bono by Commissioners and local historians and offered at an affordable price. Click here to see the list of available books.
- Local Arts Program Grants made possible in part by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and Special Program Grants funded by the Hunterdon County Board of Chosen Freeholders, authorized and administered by the Commission enhance the programs of many institutions and organizations in the county. Visit our Grant Opportunities Page for additional information.