Institute as Neighbor
From its earliest days, the Institute has sought to cultivate a sense of community and curiosity that extends beyond its campus. In addition to offering free lectures and concerts to the wider Princeton community, the Institute provides public access to the grounds that have provided a place for contemplation and discussion for generations of scholars from Veblen and Einstein onward.
The Institute also played a key role in the founding of the nearby Princeton Battlefield State Park and has a long history of supporting its preservation and expansion. The Park commemorates a decisive clash between British and American forces on January 3, 1777. In the early 1950s, the Institute leased land to the State to increase the size of the park, and in 1973, it conveyed thirty-two acres to the State to enlarge the size of the park by 60 percent. At this time, it also worked with New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection to create a boundary for the Park, which serves as a historical buffer zone.
In 1959, the Institute donated the former Mercer Manor monumental portico that now stands on the Battlefield north of Mercer Road, commemorating the common grave of unknown American and British soldiers who fell during the Battle of Princeton. In 2018, the Civil War Trust, through its Campaign 1776 initiative to protect Revolutionary War battlefields, purchased almost fifteen acres of land from the Institute, which were conveyed to the State of New Jersey as a further addition to the Park.
The Institute is committed to the Princeton community and is proud to be a part of the town’s distinguished history.