Spoken Word


Start Smart, Get Smarter!

We’re thrilled to unveil a new programming dimension at the Morris Museum. “SmartTalks” is a series of captivating speakers–scholars and authors who are experts in their field–to broaden our horizons and challenge conventional wisdom.  The full series launches in Spring 2019, with weekly talks on Thursdays at 1:00 p.m.

As a “sneak preview,” we’re rolling out three SmartTalks this Fall!

Seating is General Admission.

Members: $10
Non-Members: $15

Do Animals Have Rights?
Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 1:00PM

Where do you stand on justice? Where do you stand on justice beyond humans? Through a look at the writings of scientists and philosophers as well as the exploration of some case law, participants will explore the arguments and viewpoints regarding the rights (or lackthereof) of animals. Also, to provide a framework for discussion, an overview on how animals have been viewed throughout Western history and how they are regarded under contemporary American law will be presented.

Speaker: Ian Drake, PH.D, Associate Professor of Political Science and Jurisprudence at Montclair State University

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Photo courtesy of Michael Conklin Ph.D.

What is Jazz and Why Does it Matter?
Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 1:00PM

Branford Marsalis once said, “What is jazz? It, It’s almost like asking, What is French? Jazz is a musical language. It’s a musical dialect that actually embodies the spirit of America.” Sometimes called “America’s Classical Music,” the tradition and history of the genre embodies the essence of freedom and democracy. From its origins within the slaves songs, to the advent of the blues, Dixieland, Swing, Bebop, and other styles, jazz exhibits how each individual (through his/her independence) must function within the framework of a group to better serve the entire community. In this session, through music and discussion, participants will explore jazz and why it matters.

Speaker: Michael Conklin, Jazz Historian, presently pursuing his Doctor of Arts and Letters degree from Drew University.

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LOL, A Philosophical Look at Comedy
November 15, 2018 at 1:00PM

Chuckle. Chortle. Snicker. Cackle. Guffaw. Laughter. We usually recognize comedy by the laughter which accompanies it, but is that all there is to it? What is the true nature of comedy? Since the formal introduction by the ancient Greeks, comedy has been and continues to be more than just laughs. It can be explored from a philosophical perspective and shed light on this aspect of the human condition. In this session, participants will take this jovial phenomenon seriously, one laugh at a time.

Speaker: Brandyn Heppard, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Raritan Valley Community College

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Nisse Greenberg. Photo by Bob Sweeney.


Nisse Greenberg is a storyteller, producer, and educator for The Moth and Story Collider. He has performed across the country and taught storytelling to groups as diverse as scientists at Harvard ComSicCon to activists working on #CloseRikers.  He is, was and will always be a high school math educator. His website is nissegreenberg.com

This four-week series, limited to 10 adult participants, culminates in a final performance.

Sunday, October 14, 2018, 2:00PM – 5:00PM
Sunday, October 21, 2018, 2:00PM – 5:00PM
Sunday, October 28, 2018, 2:00PM – 5:00PM
Sunday, November 4, 2018, 2:00PM (Performance)

Spring 2019 Workshop to be Announced.

$250 per person for 4 sessions


Museum Members: $10
Non-Members: $15

To register for the workshop or get tickets to the performance, call the Box Office at 973.971.3706.