WILDWOOD — Founded in 1963 by municipal firefighter and eventual city historian George Boyer, the nonprofit Wildwood Historical Society makes a point of taking visitors back to their childhoods at this iconic Jersey Shore destination.

But the museum on Pacific Avenue bearing Boyer's name features facts and artifacts from much earlier than that, dating to the first settlements in the area more than 150 years ago, according to society president Taylor Henry.

Often, Henry said, people happen upon the museum not knowing what they are looking for, or just hoping to pick up some general knowledge about Wildwood's history.

But binders full of documents and photographs give them a lot more than they might have expected.

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"We'll have folks who are looking for a picture of their property in Wildwood from the '60s, and we have photos of all the addresses in the City of Wildwood from that time," Henry said, adding that some also conduct family research, or try to find a favorite bygone boardwalk ride.

Speaking of the boardwalk, the museum's gift shop offers authenticated pieces of the boards for patrons to purchase and take home.

Boardwalk pieces
Wildwood boardwalk pieces (Wildwood Historical Society via Facebook)

And, Henry said, more recently the city has been installing new street signs, which has provided a certain revenue stream for the free-admission museum.

"They gave the old ones to us and we have been auctioning them off on eBay, so people can own a piece of history," Henry said. "They can go home with something that means a lot to them."

Starting Memorial Day Weekend, excepting the holiday itself, the George F. Boyer Historical Museum is open six days a week for the summer, closing only on Tuesdays.

George F. Boyer Historical Museum
George F. Boyer Historical Museum (Wildwood Historical Society via Facebook)

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