The Friends of the Hermitage, Inc., was established in 1972 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation to preserve and aid in the restoration of The Hermitage, a National Historic Landmark, and to provide interpretive programming at the site. The Friends manage the property under a long-term agreement with the State of New Jersey. Over the past forty years, the Friends have grown from a fledgling group working to save the historic house into a professionally managed educational museum offering public tours, exhibitions, and educational programming for schoolchildren and families.
Although The Hermitage is a State-owned historic site, it has been managed and solely supported by the Friends since it became a museum in 1972. At the Friends’ expense, another Victorian home was moved to the grounds in the 1970s and placed on a new foundation to serve as an administrative and visitor center. In the 1990s, the Friends advanced its commitment to history education by developing curriculum-coordinated school programs that feature hands-on learning activities to make history more engaging for children. A two-story wing was added to the administration building in 1999 that incorporated a large meeting room and classroom facilities. Throughout the 2000s, the museum worked diligently to raise professional standards and refine museum practices while expanding the range of educational programming it offers to both schools and the general public
The year 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Friends of the Hermitage, an important milestone in the organization’s service to the community. Ongoing preservation of The Hermitage and outreach through educational programming are the face of today’s Friends, but they can be sustained only if the organization’s core of support is strengthened. The Friends’ challenges for securing the financial future of The Hermitage and insuring the high quality of its museum and education programs are critical, and the Board of Trustees and staff have built the foundation for success in the planning and programming that has taken place to date.