The Old Barracks Museum in Trenton
A Piece of Living History
- When it was built: 1758
- Location: 101 Barrack Street, Trenton, NJ
- Significance: The Old Barracks Museum is the only existing and restored military structure left in New Jersey that is associated with the Colonial Wars
The Old Barracks Museum in Trenton – one of the oldest surviving public buildings in New Jersey – is a “remarkable survivor in the middle of a large, modern city,” according to Executive Director Richard Patterson.
Constructed in 1758, during the French and Indian War, it was built by the thencolony of New Jersey in response to petitions from residents who were protestingcompulsory quartering of soldiers in their own homes. The Old Barracks was one of five such buildings throughout New Jersey constructed to house British soldiers during the winter months of the war, and it is the only one still standing.
“It played a unique role in both theFrench and Indian War and the Revolution,” Patterson adds. “Once the Hessians were unceremoniously evicted by George Washington’s troops after the Battle
of Trenton, the Old Barracks spent the duration of the War as a primary hospital, where a great many of Washington’s troops were inoculated with smallpox during what became the first successful mass inoculation in the Western World.”
Today, thanks to private and state donations, this user-friendly living piece of history is open year-round from Monday through Saturday. Among other attractions, the Old Barracks Museum hosts a summer day camp for children that features a rich Colonial experience, and once a year volunteers reenact The Battle of Trenton and The Battle of the Assunpink Creek, which is also known as the Second Battle of Trenton.