In December, the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM) in Montgomery Township, New Jersey, was awarded a $600,000 Mellon Foundation grant for 2023 and 2024. The two-year grant will support organization capacity-building, interpretation of historic sites, and cultural education programming. The grant will also support expanding staff, developing the heritage garden at the True Farmstead, and transforming the farmhouse into an exhibition and education space.
The SSAAM is the only museum in central New Jersey to tell the story of African Americans from the transatlantic slave trade to the present day. The museum was founded on research by advisory board members Beverly Mills and Elaine Buck, who both serve on the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association board. They wanted to establish Stoutsburg as the official burial place for Private William Stives, a Revolutionary War veteran and one of the first African American settlers in the area. Their research uncovered many stories on early African American settlers of the Sourland region. In their book, If These Stones Could Talk, Mills and Buck provide an examination of the African American experience and accomplishments in Hopewell Valley. To support their work, they scheduled appearances throughout New Jersey, where they discussed their book. They were hired in 2014 by the Sourland Conservancy as lecturers for the Train Station Series at historic Hopewell Train Station. The lecture helped establish a partnership between the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association and the Sourland Conservancy, the product of which the SSAAM was born.
For more information on the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum and their grant, click here.