The holdings of the Decorative Arts department comprise a vast array of household objects from the United States and Europe. The thousands of objects of applied art range from the sixteenth century to the present day and include superb examples of furniture, silver, ceramics, glass, jewelry and textiles. The centerpiece of this collection is the Ballantine House, a wing of the Museum that is open during regular museum hours.
The Museum's holdings of 19th-Century American furniture and silver are among the finest public collections of this material in the country and include a comprehensive range of styles and forms from this century of revivals. American silver, from colonial to contemporary, documents the evolution of this precious metal in the American home over three centuries. Take a look at Style, Status, Sterling.
Also of singular importance are the art pottery and studio pottery collections, one of the best-documented and most comprehensive collections of 20th-Century ceramics in any museum (pictured: "Black Iris" Vase, slip-painted earthenware, Rookwood Pottery, 1909). In addition to European ceramics from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, the Museum also has an extensive collection of New Jersey ceramics—both earthenwares and porcelain—reflecting the state's historic role in this industry from colonial times to the 20th-Century. Take a "virtual tour" of our previous Decorative Arts pottery exhibitions Great Pots and 100 Masterpieces of Art Pottery.
The Newark Museum is one of the few museums in the country to actively collect jewelry, and its extensive holdings have their roots in the city of Newark's role as the center of American fine jewelry industry from the 1850s to the 1950s. See a recent exhibition of jewelry in Objects of Desire: 500 Years of Jewelry. Also take a look at Newark Jewelry Manufacturers' Marks.
Newark Museum is famous for its American quilt collection, but its costume and textile holdings encompass thousands of pieces covering several centuries.
In total, this collection is a compelling holding of objects of domestic and international origin—from Lenox porcelain and English ceramics to Jensen silver, Orrefors glass, Jelliff furniture and Tiffany jewelry.