Aurora Landman Curates Online Museum to Preserve Stories of North America’s First Jewish Settlers

An unassuming cardboard box, safe after its postal journey up the east coast, sits on a table in the archive room of Stockton’s Library.

“It’s full of gold,” said Tom Kinsella, professor of British Literature and director of the South Jersey Culture and History Center (SJCHC).

The gold is in the form of 19th century tax forms, land deeds, documents, photographs and articles, all from the settlers of North America’s first Jewish settlement, Alliance Colony, in southern New Jersey. The fragile documents are on loan to Stockton from a descendant of the colony for a project to curate an online museum to preserve the colony’s history.

Aurora Landman, an SJCHC intern and a 2017 Literature graduate, spent many hours mining the gold to rediscover stories of a colony that is in danger of being forgotten.  She was awarded a Board of Trustees Distinguished Student Fellowship to implement the online museum with rooms focusing on farming, schools, influential people and unique documents.

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