Van Kirk Homestead takes part in county history weekend

SCAHC's 7th Annual Sussex County Heritage Tour


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  • Van Kirk Homestead, Sparta Photo courtesy of the Sparta Historical Society



— Explore the History of Sussex County on Columbus Day Weekend. The Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council, in cooperation with area history museums and heritage organizations, will host the 7th Annual Sussex County Heritage Tour. It is a wonderful opportunity to explore the rich history and unique sites of the area.

The Van Kirk Homestead, operated by Sparta Historical Society, opened with its first gallery exhibit in September 2015 and has been part of this Sussex County Heritage endeavor ever since.

“Princess White Deer: A Woman, A Mohawk and A Legend” continues its showing at the Sparta Historical Society’s Van Kirk Homestead Museum on Sunday, October 8, 2017 from 1-4PM with 2PM talk. Esther Deer, known as Princess White Deer, was the grand-daughter of a hereditary chief and a most successful and talented Mohawk entertainer. With the career that spans from Wild West Shows to the Russian stage to Vaudeville, Ziegfeld, and to the footpaths of Broadway, Esther Deer was a remarkable and fascinating modern career woman for any century.

In addition to many never before seen original professional photographs from Princess White Deer’s personal collection, loaned by her niece Sylvia Goodleaf Trudeau, and guest curator’s Patricia Galperin’s personal collection, there will be additional memorabilia such as playbills, ship manifests, and travel documents; and personal objects ranging from toiletries to performance blankets used by both Princess White Deer and her father, Chief James Deer.

Wonderful examples of Mohawk bead work, that were made by family, and Mohawk baskets will be on display. Mohawk history and the role the Deer family played, as well as their activism for Native and American causes will also be featured.

The Sparta Historical Society is located at The Van Kirk Homestead Museum at 336 Main Street (Rte. 517, use Middle School Driveway), Sparta. The Fall Exhibition on “Princess White Deer: A Woman, A Mohawk and A Legend” and will be open Sunday, October 22, Sunday, November 12, Sunday, November 26 and last day on Sunday, December 10th from 1-4 pm with 2PM talk. Further details or group reservations, call 973-726-0883 or Email: spartahistoricalsocnj@gmail.com.

Techology 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.

For a brochure of SCAHC's hisotric sites highlighted in the heritage tour, please visit

https://www.scahc.org/resources/Heritage%202017/2017%20Heritage%20tour%203fold%20brochure.pdf ">www.scahc.org/resources/Heritage%202017/2017%20Heritage%20tour%203fold%20brochure.pdf

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