This historic site preserves the estate of Stephen Vail, the owner of the Speedwell Ironworks, with exhibits that explore the ... More
This historic site preserves the estate of Stephen Vail, the owner of the Speedwell Ironworks, with exhibits that explore the early development of the telegraph, an exhibit having to do with the S. S. Savannah, guided tours of the Vail Mansion, and much more being offered.
I would definitely recommend this for a school trip, the staff was polite and knowledgeable. The activities were well thought out and the students had a wonderful time. The kids really enjoyed the factory exhibit with all the interactives and the ability to send and receive the Morse code messages, and everyone teachers included really liked the water wheel. We are definitely going to go back next year.
There was absolutely nothing we liked about the place...we (teachers, parents and 4th graders) were appalled by the excessive rudeness the guides displayed. It was heart-breaking to see how the kids were treated with such disdain... constantly being yelled at and humiliated for no reason. One guide made no effort to hide his boredom and sarcasm, as well as his lack of knowledge.... he made it very obvious that being there was torture for him. It was quite apparent that he didn't like kids and showed no sense of discretion. Another guide was just as unprofessional, nasty and rude....she was cold and full of insults and threats to the children who were on their best behavior. It was so sad to see the disappointment in the kids' faces. The teachers were forced to apologize to the kids for subjecting them to such a negative experience. Needless to say, we will never go back there again!
Eventually, the "Factory" barn will be finished and visitors will be able to see where Alfred Vail perfected his telegraph device. The Vail house is always marvellous, and the docents are well-trained. The gift shop has finally been moved, but still lacks the inventory that such an important site deserves. Fortunately, the site is operated by the Morris County Park System, which has the personnel and resources to make Historic Speedwell a "must see" destination for out-of-state visitors. However, it doesn't look like everything is going to come together until Fall 2008.
Excellent opportunity for history and fun all rolled into one!
By A Yahoo Contributor, 6/14/05
We had a wonderful time! This unique historic site offers a huge variety of weekend special events for families and individuals, including craft courses, special demonstrations, tours and activities. We had a great time and can't wait to go back. We've already signed up for some of their upcoming activities! It's a fantastic bargain and everything is included in one very low price. Highly recommended for families looking for unique ways to introduce their children to history. Some weekends offer hands-on activities. A very friendly, knowledgeable staff guided us through our day. It's a beautiful site that includes multiple historic buidlings, a small pond, and is well-lanscaped. Don't miss it!