Worker's House & Gallery
Welcome to the Workers House Gallery. Built between 1865 and 1870, this duplex, nestled in The Smithville Village, housed H.B. Smith’s workers along with their families during the factory’s operation. It has been restored and is the perfect space to display hand-crafted art and textiles. You'll often see beautiful works of art such as quilts, pottery, or stained glass. In addition to art exhibits, workshops and art programs are held at the Workers House.
ON THE WALLS:
Dolls of Distinction
January 25, 2024 –
April 6, 2024
Reception, Friday, February 16,
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Through positive imaging and play, the dolls in this exhibition address the issues of racism. Play is key to the function of dolls and doll making. It is integral to developing bodies, minds, and emotions and the nature of humanity for both children and adults. The exhibition is grouped in themes that include Royalty, Kings and Queens, Village Gathering, History Makers, The Obama Collection, Folk Women, and Black Women Sororities.
Also included are Folk art dolls by doll artists and an array of African American Quilts.
The Pose: A Sixties Silhouette:
Vintage Photographs & Fashion Illustration
November 9 – January 13
Reception: December 2, 1-3 pm
This exhibit is a collaborative effort between fashion illustrator Lisa Steinberg and photographer Lila Ingui, both professors at Rowan College in Burlington County. The collection reflects the artists’ shared passion for vintage fashion and honors Lila’s mother, Cheryl Marie Desch (Ingui), a Philadelphia-based fashion model in the 1960s. Transport yourself to an era of iconic trends that included tailored suits, bold geometric patterns, fun, youthful designs, Eastern influences, and hippie style.
From the Vault III
August 31—October 28
October 13, 5-7 pm
Point of Origin Film Screening and gallery talk with Art Smith
Hugh Campbell was an artist, published author, and philosopher living an extremely minimalistic life in Mt. Holly. Much of his collection has been stored deep within Burlington County’s archives. Visitors will view rare and never before seen art. The exhibit will feature paintings, sketches, pastel and chalk drawings, and early drawings of when Hugh began to learn to practice his art.
John Russo Jr.: Recycled Reimagined
June 22 – August 19, 2023
This exhibit is fabricated from the creative mind of Brooklyn-based artist, John Russo. He is a retired window and store display artist and has been making things using only recycled materials, including but not limited to everyday items and objects. These intricate artworks can range in height from a couple of inches to a few feet. Among the works he has created, you will see one-of-a-kind robot-like figures, garden art, clocks, and even steampunk-inspired pieces.
Photography by CJ Harker; Trenton Blacksmiths and Ten Years of Tintypes
April 20 – June 10, 2023
This exhibit contains examples of work by CJ Harker in two historical photographic processes, both resulting in unique, one-of-a-kind images. There are Palladium prints made by brushing a solution of metal salts onto parchment paper and exposing it to UV light while in contact with a large negative. These can be identified by black brush marks surrounding the image.
The smaller pictures in the gallery are Tintypes. These are in-camera positive images. Think 19th-century Polaroids, but instead of the camera doing all the work, the photographer must bring a portable darkroom onsite to coat, sensitize, and develop each plate one at a time. The result is an image of pure silver suspended in a very thin layer of cotton. The camera and some of the chemistry and equipment used to make these Tintypes can also be seen in the gallery.
The Palladium prints depict the Trenton Blacksmiths shop on Olden Avenue. CJ shot them between 2011 and 2014 and printed them in 2015 during a residency in the printmaking department at The University of The Arts.
This selection of Tintypes spans the first ten years of CJ’s work in the medium, including portraits made for his University of The Arts thesis exhibit and, most recently, images made here at Smithville Park.
Celebration: Joe Speight Art Memorial
February 9 – April 8
Joe L. Speight was a distinguished scientist, educator, and artist. He held many different degrees ranging from Chemistry and Archaeology to Printmaking. He has exhibited widely in NY, NJ, PA, and Seoul, Korea. Joe has also won numerous awards, prizes, and special recognition for artistic achievement in the field of lithography.
In this memorial exhibit, the artist employs visual philosophies and graphic methodologies from a vast collection of lithography, photography, woodcut, screen printing, and drawing. In doing so, a balance is expressed between social commentary and Afroaesthetics to explore images of the black experience and representation.
Hugh Campbell: From the Vault II
December 8 – January 28
Hugh Campbell was an artist, published author, and philosopher who lived an extremely minimalistic life right here in Mt. Holly. Much of his collection has been stored away, deep within Burlington County’s archives. This exhibit will grant you a unique opportunity to view rarely and never seen before art. The exhibit will feature paintings, sketches, pastel and chalk drawings, as well as early drawings of when Hugh began to learn to practice his art.
Earth and Color: Featuring Kiya Nicole and Miho Kahn
October 6 – November 26
Miho and Kiya are inspired by their love of nature and by the artistic conversations that happen between the mother-daughter duo. They have very different artistic practices, but their wonder for the earth and their joy in creating bind them together. For this exhibit they come together in conversation with each other’s work, taking inspiration from the colors and intuitive process of making.
The Language of Glass: Storytelling Through Color, Light, and Texture
Humans have used colored glass for over a thousand years to communicate thoughts and information. Artists often use its unique qualities to convey ideas and feelings inspired by Earth’s natural beauty. Though inorganic, glass can impart the same level of awe and wonder as nature in its purest form. Born of fire and fragile to the touch, glass is a bewildering material that we use to shed light on the world.
Macie Art Glass is proud to present its most recent gallery display, comprised of new works by their studio artists and submissions from their amazing customers. They fearlessly create with this mystifying material.
Worker’s House Gallery
August 4 – September 25
Reception, Friday, September 23, 5 PM - 7 PM
Senior Art Show
June 2 – July 24
The annual Burlington County Senior Art Show features many fantastic works of the County's seniors ages 60 and older. Featured at the Worker’s House Gallery, you will see a unique collection of original works of painting, drawing, and photography. Come enjoy the talent of local senior artists, showcasing their work in the Worker’s House Gallery
March 17 – May 8 – Moments Captured: Portrait Explorations
Experimenting with oil paint and mixed media, figurative artist Lisa Hendrickson visually tells the stories of people and places she has experienced. Closely cropped compositions and strong lighting are featured in her intimate, almost invasive portraits. Hendrickson was born in suburban Chicago and moved to the east coast to pursue a career in fashion design. After retiring, she began her journey as an artist taking classes at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts.
February 3 - March 20
Quinton l Greene has been a self-taught Artist since 1999. He is a disabled Veteran who uses art as a type of healing therapy to deal with PTSD. Creating and designing on canvas is imperative to him because, in doing so, a balance is maintained that helps him to build a life of hope and inner peace. It is truly a mind, body, and spirit of enlightenment that holds him on the path of mental freedom from negative past experiences. This exhibit will feature many bright acrylic paintings and mixed media construct collages.
Rancocas Nature Center Exhibit: Parks Alive
November 18, 2021 - January 9, 2022
Photographs from the Rancocas Nature Center Outdoor Photography Club focusing on the natural elements “alive” in our preserved open spaces, and natural history artifacts from the Nature Center's permanent collection.
SEPTEMBER 9 – NOVEMBER 7 – MACIE ART GLASS: REFRACTION & DISPERSION
Macie Art Glass presents: The Art of Bending Light with Glass
Isaac Newton established that refraction causes white light to separate into its constituent wavelengths. This created a new understanding that white light is a mixture of colored light. Newton also contributed that the separation of colors is known as dispersion. In art, colors and their combinations, are used to mimic nature and express a thought or emotion. Art glass strives to achieve the combination of science and nature, perfectly blended to translate what we can envision in our minds, then replicate it for everyone to see and feel. Presenting examples of stained glass windows made in the copper foil and lead came method, along with mosaic and kiln form, this exhibit demonstrates the fine balance of light that can be achieved in the world of glass art. Direct, indirect, refracted, and reflected, this exhibit showcases how light is bent in spirit and is able to penetrate the soul and leave an indelible mark.
For more info on Macie Art visit Macie Art Glass
July 11- August 29: The Annual Burlington County Senior Art Show features many fantastic works of the County's seniors ages 60 and older. In this exhibit, you will see a collection of original works of painting, drawing and photography. Visit Historic Smithville Park to enjoy the talent of local senior artists, showcasing their work in the Worker’s House Gallery.
BREATH OF FRESH AIR PLEIN AIR EXHIBIT
“A Breath of Fresh Air” will feature landscapes and plein air works in a variety of mediums. Many of these unique paintings were created on location right here in Smithville Park. The Willingboro Art Alliance, a community art club which hosted this opportunity at the beginning of May, offers activities that are open to artists of all abilities from beginner through professional. The Willingboro Art Alliance will also be hosting an Open Exhibition this summer in the Smithville Annex Gallery. For more information about the WAA, visit the club’s website at willingboroart.org.
THE WAY I SEE THINGS 1971-2021: BERNARD COLLINS
This Exhibit will showcase paintings, drawings and "other work" reflective of the point of view of Bernard Collins. The work presented reflects his love of painting and drawing. Bernard’s desire is to express his point of view in a nondestructive, productive and long lasting way for the future, present and past.
Bernard is a fine artist seeking to be a fine person, and a muralist, portrait painter, illustrator, poet/vocalist, father, husband, and Christian. He studied painting at Temple University Tyler School of Art where he graduated with a BFA. He then progressed to UPenn where he furthered his painting studies acquiring his MFA. He currently teaches drawing and painting courses to adults for Fleisher Art Memorial.
Visit the gallery or view the artwork online!
January 10 - February 28: QUILTING COLLECTIVE EXHIBIT
Stay warm inside this winter with an artistic display of our talented local fabric artists. In this exhibit, view the many different varieties of quilted art and stitching, exploring both vintage and modern, as well as traditional and experimental. The artists showcased come from a variety of different skill sets, and backgrounds, and will include many award-winning pieces. Visit the gallery beginning January 10 on Wednesdays, from 10 AM - 4 PM and on Sundays from Noon - 4 PM.
See the artwork online!
BIRDS OF NJ PHOTO SHOW - Experience the beauty of Burlington County birds in a photo exhibit at the Workers House Museum and Gallery. Through the fall, we will be hosting a display featuring photographs from the Rancocas Nature Center Outdoor Photography Club. You will be surprised to see the colorful diversity of avian species that are residents of our local area or that migrate through seasonally.
HUGH CAMPBELL: FROM THE VAULT
Hugh Campbell was an artist, published author and philosopher who lived an extremely minimalistic life right here in Mt. Holly. Much of his collection has been stored away and this exhibit will allow you to see rarely and never seen before art deep within Burlington County’s archives. View the paintings, sketches, pastel and chalk drawings, as well as early drawings of when Hugh began to learn to practice art.
SOUTH JERSEY CROCHET GUILD EXHIBIT
Come see an array of talented artist creations. Some of the works on display will include blankets, hats, scarves, lap robes, afghans, prayer shawls, chemo caps, and assorted holiday favors for children. It’s an opportunity to highlight this craft and to help it flourish into the future by sharing skills across generations.
The guild was founded in 1995 in Willingboro, New Jersey, the guild was created to share information, skills and patterns with all who were interested. In addition, it would provide a chance for relaxing with social interaction and was a good way to keep physically active both mind and body. Thousands of items, over the years, have been donated to people in need through various local/national organizations, charities and hospitals.
The Workers House Gallery features a wide array of exhibits that go beyond traditional arts. Many shows have included useful or functional art, such as quilting, tilework/mosaic, glass, needlework, jewelry, sculpture and pottery and even historical collections of artful/practical everyday tools. Organizations and individuals are encouraged to apply for exhibit space/art shows.
About The Gallery - History and Today
The Shreveville Era ~ 1831– 1848
The first house on this location was built between 1831 and 1840 as a part of the “upper village” of Shreveville along with 17 other multiple residence homes in three rows on two parallel streets. There were six structures on each of the three rows in this part of the village.
- This home was one of two Park Avenue quadruple-dwelling homes.
- Dwellings were two-story brick structures with a gable-roof and no indoor plumbing.
- On average, between six and seven people occupied each dwelling, most of which consisted of a family unit. About 25% of the households took on borders.
- The homes on Park Avenue were the first to be built in Shreveville and were the smallest in the village.
- The father would have worked in the factory, and since half of the women in the village were employed in the factory, only half would have been stay-at-home mothers. Children were expected to go to school, and not work in the factory.
- The residents of Shreveville worked on average six 12-hour days; men’s wages averaged out to $16/month and women’s $12/month.
The heydays of Shreveville were from 1832 until around 1848. Jonathan and Samuel Shreve operated a cotton spinning and weaving factory, a spool cotton manufactory, a calico print works along with a machine shop, a small sawmill, and a gristmill. There was no rail service to Shreveville – the Pennsylvania RR station and line was not completed until 1852. During the period from 1848 to 1865, life in the village pretty much “dried up,” after the factory closed. We know very little about what went on there, although it is likely that some of the residents continued to live there.
The H.B. Smith Era ~ 1865 – 1887
H. B. Smith purchased the property in 1865 and within a year or so of the purchase, began to modify the village to conform to his industry, which was the manufacture of iron woodworking machinery and later, the Star high-wheeled bicycle, and to his and his wife, Agnes’, personal tastes and objective of creating a model industrial village. The workers’ housing which Smith prided was both attractive and comfortable and surrounded by gardens and flowers.
- H.B. Smith decided to replace the “upper village” homes on Park Avenue and to demolish the homes on the south side of Maple Avenue, leaving only two rows of houses.
- The new homes on Park Avenue were constructed between 1866 and 1870 on what was left of the Shreveville dwellings—the cellar holes. Smith’s two-story clapboarded frame homes which overlook the creek, were larger and less crowded.
- Basic homes at Smithville had five rooms: a sitting room, dining room, kitchen and two bedrooms; with no indoor plumbing.
- The workers at Smithville were skilled tradesmen, not minimally skilled laborers like the Shreveville workers. The average residents could be considered what we call today “the middle class.”
- Only men were employed in the factory. Income for working six 10-hour days was $600/month. Although they did not receive paid benefits, contributions into a Benevolent Society could be used in the event of a life crisis situation.
- Some families took in borders, although with the completion of the Mechanics Hall in 1875, most single men took the option of boarding there.
- In 1883 there were 300 residents at Smithville, and the average amount of residents per household was just five.
- Smith encouraged individual gardens at each residence.
- The amenities provided to village residents by H.B. Smith and his wife Agnes contributed to the quality of their lifestyle, including educational and entertainment opportunities at the opera house, located in Mechanics Hall.
2010 – Present
The Worker’s House & Gallery was restored in 2010. Several differences can be noted between the original construction and the final restoration. An interior opening between the two units was added along with indoor plumbing. The furniture selected to interpret life in this typical worker’s house is basically reflective of life dating from the year it was constructed (middle to late 1860s) by H.B. Smith.