The lazy, hazy days of summer are calling
SPARTA. There will be multiple talks at the Van Kirk Homestead Museum on Sunday, July 28. Future volunteers are welcome.


Kitchen at the Van Kirk Homestead. (Photo courtesy of the Sparta Historical Society)

The Sparta Historical Society recommends turning summer laziness into volunteering an hour or so at the Van Kirk Homestead Museum. The Sparta Historical Society is growing at such a fast pace, that volunteers would participate in very productive activities. Any talent or any time would confirm the adage that many hands make light work.
Here is the list of committees; collections, exhibits, buildings and grounds, public relations, membership, programs, education and scouts, fundraising and finance and audit.
If meeting once a month is not your cup of ice tea, you can always volunteer for a specific task. Six volunteers for a Sunday afternoon, for example, would mean being able to be open an extra day per month.
There are also volunteer opportunities in writing the quarterly newsletter, or creaging flyers. Volunteer help may be done remotely.
As for activities, on Sunday, July 28, Sparta Historical Society holds its exhibition, sponsored by Perona Farms and titled “Curt E. Engelbrecht: Views Through His Lens," at its Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Engelbrecht is known in Sparta as a local commercial photographer. This exhibit explores the multi-dimensional career of Curt E. Engelbrecht who covered news, sports, celebrities as well as the everyday life from the 1920s through the 1950s. There will be a 2 p.m. talk on this main gallery exhibit.
There will be a short 15 minute talk at 1:30 p.m. on “Victorian Jewelry Curiosities” in the Victorian Parlor and currently displayed in the curio cabinets.
During Victorian times, the middle class had become more affluent and could display finer objects of prestige to display or wear in their all-important guest Parlors.
Lastly, with the opening of our restored kitchen, there will be a 15 minute talk scheduled at 3 p.m. on “What’s Cooking at the Van Kirk Farm: 1780-1920." This new permanent exhibit shows the original fireplace, reopened after 100 years, and the numerous transitions experienced by American families with the onset of the Industrial Revolution. Immediately following, at 3:30 p.m., there will be a talk on food preservation and recipes, “Bringing history to life – going beyond mere museum objects.” There may even be a tasting. As part of this program, a small booklet on “Notes on Conserving Foods for Home Use” will also be available for a nominal donation. This will be the last time Connie Gordon, food preservationist, will be in the kitchen but she will return in September with more advice and goodies.
The Sparta Historical Society is located at The Van Kirk Homestead Museum at 336 Main Street (Rte. 517, use Middle School Driveway) Sparta. www.vankirkmuseum.org. The Exhibition,”Curt E. Engelbrecht: Views through his Lens” will be open every second and fourth Sundays through August 11, from 1 to 4 p.m., with a 2 p.m. talk. For further details or group reservations, call 973-726-0883 or Email: spartahistoricalsocnj@gmail.com. Funding has been made available in part by the NJ Historical Commission through the County History Partnership Program, as administered by the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council.