Spotlight: Old Barracks

Originally built in 1758 to house British soldiers during the French and Indian War, the Old Barracks stood witness to Washington’s crucial victory at the Battles of Trenton.

During its time as a Revolutionary War army hospital, it became one of the first sites to inoculate soldiers against smallpox.

This was the first mass medical treatment in the Western Hemisphere, and the Barracks is one of the only surviving structures used for that purpose.

In 1902, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Colonial Dames organized The Old Barracks Association and purchased the building.

The site became a museum in 1903 and throughout the 20th century was used as a symbol of New Jersey at three World’s Fairs.

Today, the Old Barracks Museum continues to welcome guests from across the globe, sharing the rich history of the site through interpretive programs, exhibits, and preservation so that visitors can appreciate New Jersey’s history, the diverse people who made it, and why it matters.

Hourly tours are offered Wednesdays through Saturdays for those who would like to learn more about the building and its history.

Skilled interpreters offer a view into the past with living history demonstrations that include sewing, cooking, and military drilling.

The Old Barracks Museum also welcomes over 12,000 school children a year from every county in the state who “Meet the Past” and learn about 18th-century life in New Jersey. Throughout the year, the Barracks hosts events such as lectures, May Tea, Tavern Night, Patriots Week, and more.

These events help support the Old Barracks Museum and its mission. Learn more at

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