Lunch & Learn Series

Bring a bag lunch and learn during these informative talks on popular topics of history, culture, science and the arts. Lunch & Learn programs are offered both LIVE at the Cape May Lutheran Church Hall, 509 Pittsburgh Ave., Cape May, and by ZOOM. You may bring your lunch and beverage but no food or drink is provided. The hall is accessible and free parking is available. No registration is needed if you plan to attend in person.

2024 schedule and lecture topics listed below.

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The Music of Mendelssohn

May 1st: 12 pm

Embark on a musical journey through the life and works of the Romantic-era prodigy Felix Mendelssohn with Dr. Brenda Leonard. We’ll consider all he accomplished in his short life and preview some of his works that will be appearing on the Cape May Music Festival in the next few weeks.

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Shipwrecks of Cape MayTrue Stories of Death & Survival

May 15th: 12 pm

Rusty Cassway, Captain of the Cape May-based Explorer, will discuss the history of several historical shipwrecks located near Cape May.  His tales will chronicle the explorers who visit these wrecks and those who faced death and survival as shipwrecked souls.

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The Busy Bee Has No Time for Sorrow

June 5th: 12 pm

Hope Gaines talks about how and why bees work and produce honey and how honey from different sources has individual tastes and colors. She might even bring us a sample or two to taste! (Title quote borrowed from William Blake.)

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Slavery in Cape May County

June 19th: 12 pm

Slavery was “baked into” New Jersey from its very beginnings. The 1664-65 Concession and Agreement of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of New Caesarea, or New Jersey was meant to jump start a new agricultural community. Rick Geffkin talks about how this provision nonetheless made chattel slavery foundational.

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The Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum

July 3rd: 12 pm

Susan B. Anthony played a pivotal role in the passage of the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. Carol Crossed, President and owner of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, will discuss the history, acquisition, and exhibits of the museum, which honors one of America’s great human rights advocates.

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The 50’s Women

July 17th: 12 pm

In the 100 years between 1850 and 1950, there were huge societal, educational, political and technological advances. How did they affect women?  Mary Stewart explores whether it really was change or a case of “the more things change, the more they remain the same?”

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Victorian Vice

August 7th: 12 pm

Where did our attitudes on sexual behavior come from? What about drugs and alcohol?What was morality and when did it change? What was the Christian view of good behavior? Join us as Elan Zingman-Leith talks about sex, drugs, and rock and roll in the nineteenth century!

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Sousa in Cape May

August 21st: 12 pm

John Philip Sousa is known as the “March King,” and many of his compositions are still performed today. In August 1882, Sousa and his band played a series of concerts on the lawn of Congress Hall. Ben Ridings talks about Sousa’s life, his music, and his time in Cape May.

Past Lectures

Marvels and Missteps: Medicine During the Victorian Era

Presented by Ben Ridings


The Impact of Immigration on America 

Presented by Ted Bryan


Yes, nice Victorian women DID use that 4-letter word: MATH

Presented by Dr. Donna Szemcsak


Why Does Modern Art Look So Weird? 

Presented by Dr. John Curtis


The Maritime History of Cape May

Presented by Mal & Dottie Knapp


The Stories behind the Mother Goose Rhymes

Presented by Maryetta Dorricott of the Endicott Reardon Family Museum


A History of New Year’s Resolutions 

Presented by Mary Stewart


A History of Christmas Carols

Presented by Brenda Leonard


Nonprofits: They’re Not all the Same!

Presented by Jody Alessandrine


A Closer Look at Veterans Day

Presented by Mike Urbanski


“The Lenape Nation and the Virtues of the Seven Grandfathers”

Presented by eri Hislop, also named Xeli Otaesak Pilsit Xkw, of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania


“Discovering Cape May’s Role in the Underground Railroad”

Presented by Theodore Bryan


Victorian Email: And Other Communications in the Late 1800s

Presenter: Ben Ridings, Cape May MAC Curator


Two Women, Two Worlds

Presented by Mary Stewart


“Six Centuries of Cello “

Presented by cellist Brenda Leonard


“Vintage Tweets: Suffrage Era Postcards”

Presented by Carol Crossed


“What does a Symphony Conductor Do Besides Wave a Baton? “

Presented by Jed Gaylin of Bay Atlantic Symphony


“Impressionist Art: How Do You Paint Light?”

Presented by John Curtis


“History of Independence Day”

Presented by Mary Stewart


“Tools of the Trade”

Presented by Ben Ridings


“Let’s Play Ball: A Century of Baseball History.”

Presented by Mary Stewart


History of Gardens from Eden to Present

Part 1

Presented by Elan Zingman-Leith


Emerald Cape May

Presented by Ben Ridging


Shocking Secrets of Victorian Christmas

Presented by Elan Zingman-Leith


A History of Thanksgiving in America

Presented by Mary Stewart


Guardian at the Point – Life as a Cape May Keeper

Presented by Ben Ridings


History of Bicycling

Presented by Tom Carroll


A Feeling of Community

Presented by CCA, Hope Gaines and Rachel Dolhanczyk


The Roaring Twenties

Presented by Mary Stewart


The Great Fire of 1878

Presented by Ben Ridings


The First Ladies Part 2

Presented by Mary Stewart


The Doo Wop Experience

Presented by Mike Urbanski


The Presidents in Cape May

Presented by Ben Ridings



Presented by Mary Stewart


YULETIDE AUTHORS: How Charles Dickens & Washington Irving Transformed Christmas

Presented by Ben Ridings