The Harriet Tubman Museum opened on Cape May in 2022, adding to the seaside city's deep historical appeal. The new museum explores Tubman's legacy as well as Cape May's role in the abolitionist movement.
Cape May is a jewel along the 130 miles of New Jersey’s shoreline, and other points of cultural interest include its historic lighthouse, trolley tours, and historic estates.
Planning a visit to the area? Read our post detailing dozens of Cape May activities and find other wonderful things to do in our Jersey Shore Family Guide.
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The Harriet Tubman Museum: A Must-See in Cape May
The Harriet Tubman Museum, which was many years in the making and delayed by COVID, officially began welcoming its first visitors on Juneteenth 2022. Since its opening, more than 25,000 people have visited the small museum, which is now an enriching, must-see attraction in Cape May.
The Harriet Tubman Museum highlights Harriet Tubman’s life in Cape May as a free slave as well as her part in the Underground Railroad. It also focuses on the role Cape May played in the abolitionist movement. Older children and teens are especially likely to appreciate the museum.
Due to its location, Cape May was a meeting point between the North and the South, as well as a home to many freed slaves who worked in the community. The museum is housed in a building that dates back to the 19th century and is a significant structure in Cape May's historic district.
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Take a guided tour of the exhibits housed in the Harriet Tubman Museum.
Exploring Cape May's Role in Abolition
The Harriet Tubman Museum is located in a section of Cape May that was the center of the abolitionist movement in the mid-1800s. Visitors to the museum learn all about the history of the area, Harriet Tubman’s contributions, Cape May’s role in the abolitionist movement, and more through the exhibits on display throughout the beautifully restored structure.
The best way to experience the Harriet Tubman Museum is through a guided tour. Listening to the tour guide brings to life the exhibits housed in the Harriet Tubman Museum as well as the history of the Howell House and its surrounding neighborhood. Self-guided tours are also available, but a guided tour is a must-do since it will help you and your family get the most out of your visit.
Cape May’s popular trolley tours now feature an Underground Railroad Trolley Tour that is a nice addition before or after a visit to the Harriet Tubman Museum. The tour is not connected with the Harriet Tubman Museum. Tour tickets can be purchased online or at the information booth located in the Washington Street Mall.
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The museum is housed in a historic structure in Cape May.
Know Before You Go
- Be sure to plan your visit to the Harriet Tubman Museum by purchasing tickets ahead of time via an Eventbrite link on the museum’s website, especially if you’ll be visiting during the summer, fall, or Thanksgiving through New Year’s. Guided and self-guided tickets are available. Tickets are $10 for ages 11 and up and $5 for kids ages 10 and under. Ticket processing fees are extra. The museum sticks to the ticket times, so make sure to arrive a few minutes ahead of time in order to make the most of your allotted time. Plan on the visit running around an hour.
- A visit to the Harriet Tubman Museum is a worthwhile family activity while visiting Cape May. It’s better suited for kids aged 8 and up. Third graders have most likely heard about Harriet Tubman in social studies lessons in school and will probably be more engaged than younger children. The Harriet Tubman Museum is not hands-on except in one small waiting area. The museum does welcome young visitors, though, and strollers are allowed inside.
- Plan on eating before or after your visit, as food, snacks, and drinks aren’t allowed in the museum.
- The Harriet Tubman Museum is handicap accessible.
- The limited parking area is reserved for visitors in need of close parking because of limited mobility. Street parking is available for museum visitors in town for the day, but be sure to leave time to look for a spot. The Harriet Tubman Museum recommends parking at nearby Lafayette Street Park if you can’t find street parking. Paid parking is available at the Acme parking lot, which is just up the street from the museum. If you’re staying in one of Cape May’s inviting B&Bs, a hotel, or an Airbnb, walking or biking to the museum is the way to go.
Unless noted, photos by Tim Hawk