Tag: Historic Museum

Bronx Museum of the Arts  1040 Grand Concourse  The Bronx, NY 10456

Bronx Museum of the Arts 1040 Grand Concourse The Bronx, NY 10456

The Bronx Museum of the Arts

1040 Grand Concourse

The Bronx, NY  10456

(718) 681-600

http://www.bronxmuseum.org/

Open: Sunday 11:00am-6:00pm/Monday & Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm

Fee: Free

My review on Tripadvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47369-d312012-Reviews-Bronx_Museum_of_the_Arts-Bronx_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I recently had some time to visit the Bronx Museum of the Arts when I was visiting Yankee Stadium recently for a football game. The museum is right down the road on the Grand Concourse. It is an impressive little museum.

I had wanted to see the exhibit “Art Versus Transit: 1977-1987” by artist Henry Chalfant who had recorded the graffiti art on the subway cars during the late 70’s into the early 1980’s. This is before the subway investing in the new subway cars that could be cleaned by hosing them off.

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“Art versus Transit: 1977-1987”

The art was interesting as it was an expression of the times just when Hip-Hop was becoming popular and the City was going through the financial crisis. The artist did a good job capturing the times. Not only do we see the art but the music and dance as well of the time.

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Subway Art

The other exhibition that I saw was “The Life and Times of Alvin Baltrop” which displayed the artist’s interpreted that Gay Community and the beginnings of the AIDS crisis. It was an another interesting perspective of the times of New York City.

Mission and Background:

The Bronx Museum of the Arts is a contemporary art museum that connects diverse audience to the urban experience through its permanent collection, special exhibitions and education programs. Reflecting the borough’s dynamic communities. The Museum is the crossroad where artists, local residents, national and international visitors meet.

Today an internationally recognized cultural destination. The Bronx Museum of the Arts is committed to presenting new ideas and voices in a global context and making contemporary art a vital, relevant experience. For the past four decades, the Bronx Museum has presented hundreds of changing exhibitions featuring works by culturally diverse and under-represented artists from a spectrum of levels. Exhibition have investigated themes of special interest to the Bronx community while exploring the interplay between contemporary art and popular culture.

A permanent collection of over 2000 artworks in all visual media preserves and documents artists who are not typically represented within traditional museum collections by showcasing work by artists of African, Asian and Latin American ancestry, as well as artists for who the Bronx has been critical to their development. The Museum provides direct support to artists through Artist in the Marketplace, which nurtures the work of 35  emerging artists each year and providers professional development seminars culminating in a multi-site biennial exhibition and catalog.

The Museum’s education department empowers students from grades K-12 by offering a variety of programs that inspire academic proficiency visual literacy and critical thinking. Through the Group Visits Program, students are exposed to the Museum’s works during single-session tours lead by teaching artists. Through In-School Partnerships. Museum educators work with school teachers to encourage scholastic excellence through the application of arts education techniques in addition, the Museum’s Teen Council Program helps Bronx high-school students build applied arts and media skills as they create a variety of visual and text-based materials.

(Bronx Museum of the Arts Mission-Website)

History:

The Museum opened on May 11, 1971, in a partnership between the Bronx Council on the Arts, which was founded in 1961 and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The opening coincided with a borough-wide “Bronx Day” event. The first exhibit consisted of 28 paintings from the Met’s collection. The Museum was first housed in the first floor rotunda of the Bronx County Courthouse. Additional galleries were located in the Bronx’s Co-op City, Bedford Park and Allerton neighborhoods. In its first 12 years of operation, the museum held over 350 exhibitions.

In 1982, the city purchased a vacant synagogue at 165th Street and the Grand Concourse as a new location for the museum. The new location opened to the public in May 1983 in conjunction with “Bronx Week”, which succeeded “Bronx Day”. The new space was inaugurated with an exhibition of twentieth artwork. It consisted of paintings, photographs and prints borrowed from the Met.

In February 2004, construction began on a $19 million expansion project that doubled the museum’s size 33.000 square feet. The expansion opened in October 2006. In 2008, a arts center was added to accommodate educational programs for local schoolchildren and their families. The Museum no longer charges fees since 2012.

Bronx Museum

The Bronx Museum of Art and its additions

The original design was by Simon B. Zelnick in 1961 and the extensions were designed by Castro-Blanco, Piscioneri & Feder in 1988 and a second addition in 2006 by Arquitectonica.

(The Bronx Museum WIKI)

 

 

The Cadmus House: Fair Lawn Museum     14-01 Politt Drive  Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

The Cadmus House: Fair Lawn Museum 14-01 Politt Drive Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

The Cadmus House Borough Museum

14-01 Politt Drive

Fair Lawn, NJ  07410

(201) 796-7692

http://www.cadmushouse.org

http://www.fairlawn.org/content/203/267/521.aspx

https://www.co.bergen.nj.us/discovering-history/cultural-historic-sites

Fee: Free to the public

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46430-d17707566-Reviews-Cadmus_House-Fair_Lawn_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the Cadmus House today and it is a very interesting look back on the history of Dutch Bergen County and the town of Fair Lawn, NJ.

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The Marker

The Cadmus House was built in 1808 by landowner Jacob Haring and his wife, Margarat. It was originally a two room farmhouse when it was built on their extensive farm land. The Harings’ sold the house to Abraham and Harmones Van Derbeek in 1815 and they turned around and sold the house to Thomas Cadmus and his  wife, Margaret in 1816 and the name stuck from there.

Cadmus House

The house had a gable and second floor built in the late 19th century

Over the years, the house had had many owners and many uses. Before the house was moved in 1985 to its current location, it served as a real estate office at that time. When they were building new construction on the spot, the house was saved by a group of concerned Fair Lawn residents to preserved the town’s past and it was turned into the Cadmus House-Fair Lawn Museum.

The house is broken down into different themed rooms. The downstairs rooms are devoted to the Fair Lawn’s past with pictures of old homes that used to line the streets of the neighborhood. There are pictures of old farms and farm houses, relics from town such as arrowheads, farming equipment and old farm house decor such as ice boxes and apple presses for cider.

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Pictures of Fair Lawn’s past

In the room that once served as a dining room, there are period Dutch items that would be needed to run a household or a business.

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The apple press which was a big part of the farming community in Bergen County

The upstairs rooms have different displays. One room is devoted to Victorian living with furniture and bedroom decors along with dolls and cribs. The other room is dedicated to the history of the Fair Lawn Fire and Police Departments as well as memorabilia from Fair Lawn High School such as trophies, yearbooks and old films of football games.

There is plenty of parking in the front of the house and the parking lot is shared with the railroad station next door. The house is only open the third Sunday of each month and it is closed for the months of July and August.

If you want to take a glimpse of Bergen County’s past Colonial, Victorian, Motor Age or current, the Cadmus House will give you a perspective on living in Bergen County in the past into current times.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum  4079 Albany Post Road New York, NY 12538

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum 4079 Albany Post Road New York, NY 12538

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

4079 Albany Post Road

New York, NY  12538

(800) FDR-VISIT

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm/Open to 6:00pm April-October

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

https://fdrlibrary.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60801-d105844-Reviews-Franklin_D_Roosevelt_Presidential_Library_and_Museum-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

Admission: $20.00 for both the museum and house.

I have visited the FDR Library over the summer  for two separate days along with visiting the Vanderbilt Mansion after the tour. It takes about two days to really look through the museum as there is so much to see and read that it can be over-whelming. If you don’t know much about Franklin Roosevelt you will definitely learn it here.

You will learn more about the family at the house tour but here you will learn of the policies of the Presidency, the acts and laws that he put in place and their effect on the county. It outlines why the policy was put in place and the effects on the American people. It was interesting to see how the policies like Social Secretary, Welfare and the Banking regulations are still in affect today.

Each room is another discussion in policy with things leading to the war and it effects on bring us out of the Great Depression. Also the attributes leading to the treaties after the war was finished.

My recommendation it to take two days and at least an hour and a half each day to visit the museum and break it down into rooms as it can be a lot to take in on one visit. Couple the trip up with a visit to his house, Springwood and learn how the house played a big part in his politics.

About the Museum:

For information about the Museum, Archives, Education and Public Programs and the Henry A. Wallace Center call (800) FDR-VISIT or go to http://www.fdrlibrary.org.

Membership:  Membership forms a vital base of support for many of the Library’s key initiatives. To learn about the benefits of a membership and to become a FDR Presidential Library and Museum member today, please visit http://www.fdrlibrary.org or call (845) 486-1970.

The Roosevelt Institute:

The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute is dedicated to informing new generations of the ideas and achievements of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt through programs, events and publications. With offices in Hyde Park, New York and New York City, the Institute enjoys a special relationship with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. It also works  across the country to nurture leaders in public service inspired by the models of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, through a network of 100 progressive college campus-based think thank organizations that include more than 10,000 student members. In the years ahead, the Institute plans to play an even stronger role in nurturing and advancing progressive people and ideas. It will also continue its unique and important relationship with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

The Museum:

As he planned his presidential library, FDR took care to include space for a museum to display his many personal treasures. An avid collector, the President has spent a lifetime gathering extensive collections ranging from stamps and coins to rare books and ship models.

When the FDR Museum opened June 30, 1941, it featured elaborate displays of these collections and the many gifts the Roosevelt’s had received from governments and individuals.

Today, the Museum continues to display items from the President’s personal collections. But there are also extensive state of the art exhibits where visitors can experience the lives and times of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

After a privileged childhood on the banks of the Hudson River, FDR entered politics only to endure illness and a lifetime of paralysis after a heroic battle with polio. As President, he led America out of the greatest economic depression in its history and guided the Allied Powers to victory in World War II.

Eleanor Roosevelt improved the lives of millions as a reformer, teacher, journalist, political activist, First Lady, advocate for the underprivileged and as delegate to the United Nations, champion for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today the woman known as the “First Lady of the World” continues to inspire new generations.

Experience the powerful story of these two extraordinary individuals in the Museum’s permanent exhibits. Rare documents and fascinating artifacts bring you face to face with history. Immersive audiovisual programs and interactive displays take visitors vividly into the past. A special “Behind the Scenes” area gives a look inside museum and archives storage rooms to see even more of the Library’s collection. And the Museum’s special exhibitions gallery offers changing exhibits on a regular basis. Repeat visitors will always find something new to see.

Archives and Research:

FDR was the first president to give his papers to the American people and they form the core of the Library’s research archives. Since that original gift, the Library has acquired additional important collections related to the Roosevelt era, including the three million page archive of Eleanor Roosevelt. Today the Roosevelt Library houses 17 million pages of manuscript materials in some  400 distinct collections; 51,000 books including FDR’s own personal collection of over 22,000 volumes and 150,000 photographs, negatives and audiovisual items. The Library conducts one of the busiest research operations in the entire Presidential Library system and is used by several thousand on-site and remote researchers each year.

Education and Public Programs:

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum conducts educational programs designed for K-12, college and university students, teachers and adult learners based on the Library’s documentary, audiovisual and museum collections. Programs include on and off site classroom workshops, museum programs and teacher development seminars.

Public programs include the annual reenactment of a World War II “USO Show and Bivouac” over Memorial Day Weekend, the Roosevelt Reading Festival in June and a Children’s Book Festival in December. The Library’s website http://www.fdrlibrary.org has over one million visitors each year including researchers using the digital archive, teachers and students exploring educational resources and those visiting FDR’s interactive daily calendar through our affiliated Pare Lorentz Center http://www.parelorentzcenter.org.

Diclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum pamphlet and I give their writers full credit on the information. Please check out their website on Admissions as they do change.

 

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan:

As part of my tour of Historic Bars and Pubs on Day One Hundred and Thirteen with the Cornell Club on May 9th, 2018, we toured the famous ‘Stone Street’ one of the original paved streets of Manhattan. You will not find architecture or pavings like this left in New York City. Here and there are streets or buildings that represent these times during the early to mid-1800’s but they are few and scattered in remote spots all over the island. Here the street still represents a different era of Manhattan.

The stores in the 90’s had been either boarded up or were used but in horrible shape. During the business hours not too many people inhabited this area of Lower Manhattan and it was ignored. The neighboring South Street Seaport was being transformed in the mid 80’s into a type of historic theme park and entertainment center by the Rouse Corporation. It put these old neighborhoods back into vogue and people started to return again.

Over time, especially after 9/11 and the changes in downtown Manhattan, the street is now home to many trendy bars and restaurants and a hang out for the downtown business crowd. During the recent walking tour, the place was hopping with people spilling out of restaurants, ordering drinks during happy hour and eating pizza at the local pizzeria.

During ‘Happy Hour’ after work, the place is mobbed with people milling around having a good time. The tables toward the end of the street are filled with tourists taking pictures and at one end of the street is the famous “India House” and at the other is the Frances Tavern where George Washington gave his troops his farewell address.

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Stone Street in the warmer months

It is not only a historical neighborhood but loaded with things to see and do. The buildings which were once in horrible shape have been brought back to life and repositioned to use for the meals and entertainment. It is interesting to see how a neighborhood comes back in full circle in a 150 years.

History of the area:

Stone Street is a short street in Manhattan’s Financial District. It originally ran from Broad Street to Hanover Square but was divided into two sections by the construction of the Goldman Sachs building at 85 Broad Street in the 1980’s. Today the cluster of historic buildings along Stone, South William, Pearl Streets and Coenties Alley form the Stone Street Historic District.

Stone Street is one of New York’s oldest streets. It was originally known by its Dutch name, Hoogh Staet (High Street). In 1632, the Dutch West India Company built the first commercial brewery in North America there. Around 1656, Hoogh Straet was shifted about twenty to twenty-five feet to align it with Brouwer Street, the extension of Hoogh Straet west of the Gracht and which in 1658 became the first paved street in Nieuw Amsterdam. Following the British conquest of the colony, the name Hoogh Straet was translated to High Street. It was then called Duke Street for the Duke of York during most of the 18th century. Leveled in 1771 and 1790, it was renamed Stone Street in 1794 because of it’s cobblestone paving as New Yorkers abandoned reminders of British Rule. The street’s stores and loft were built for dry-goods merchants and importers, shortly after the Great Fire of 1825, which destroyed many remnants of New Amsterdam.

Most buildings were used as storage. The building at 57 Stone Street was rebuilt in 1903 by C.P.H, Gilbert in Dutch Colonial Revivial architecture at the behest of the owner, Amos F. Eno as son of Amos R. Eno. The buildings to the back on South William 13-23 also were reconstructed in the Dutch revival style, evoking New Amsterdam.

Following many decades of neglect, a joint partnership between the Landmarks Preservation Commission and other city agencies, the Alliance for Downtown New York and Stone Street owners has transformed Stone Street from a derelict back alley into one of Downtown’s liveliest scenes. Restored buildings, granite paving, bluestone sidewalks and period lights set the stage for the half dozen restaurants and cafes, whose outdoor tables are very popular on warm summer nights.

The eastern portion of the street and the surrounding buildings have been protected since 1996 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as the Stone Street Historic District and is pedestrian only. The historic district is now populated by several restaurants and bars and has a outdoor dining when the weather permits. The India House historic landmark is located at the Hanover Square end of the street.

(This information was taken directly from Wikipedia and I give them full credit)

Lambert Castle/Passaic County Historical Society  3 Valley Road  Paterson, NJ 07503

Lambert Castle/Passaic County Historical Society 3 Valley Road Paterson, NJ 07503

Lambert Castle/Passaic County Historical Society

3 Valley Road

Patterson, NJ  07503

Phone: (973) 247-0085

Fax: (973) 881-9434

info@lambertcastle.org

http://www.lambertcastle.org

https://lambertcastle.org/

Hours:

Museum Wednesday-Sunday-1:00pm-4:00pm

The Castle closed for a five year renovation starting January 2020.

Library & Archives Wednesday-Friday-1:00pm-4:00pm/2nd and 4th Saturday of each month 1:00pm-4:00pm (Memorial Day through Labor Day: 12:00pm-4:00pm)

Admission: $5.00 Donation

My TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46718-d1880569-Reviews-Lambert_Castle-Paterson_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I have visited Lambert Castle a few times, most recently to see the Christmas decorations before they were taken down for the season. I found out from one of the director’s that they had not been put back up since their Holiday Bazaar back in November. I had seen them the year before and they had been very impressive.

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Lambert Castle at Christmas

Right now the Castle is decorated for the Annual Christmas Craft Bazaar and it is just loaded with handmade crafts for the Christmas holidays. There are three floors of crafts and then on the third floor, there is a small restaurant to relax and look over the court of the house. After the bazaar in 2019, the Castle will close for a much needed five year renovation.

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The Lambert Castle Christmas Bazaar 2019

I had a chance to visit the floors when they were not decorated for the holidays . The first floor is set up as if the family still lived there with the Billiards Room, Dining Room, Sitting Room, Music Room and Atrium still set as the family resided there. There is period furniture and decorations in all the first floor rooms to give a feel of what it must have been like to live there at that period.

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The view of Lambert Castle from the second floor

The second floor galleries hold the collection of the Passaic County Historical Society with all sorts of objects, signs and historical items from all eras of the collection. You are able to see the footprint of the living quarters of the family.

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The stained glass windows

The third floor at the time I was there was dedicated to the work of an Italian stone worker and artist who migrated and lived and worked in Paterson.

It is a very interesting way to see life at the turn of the last century in Paterson and the home offers a beautiful view of the City of Paterson and New York in the distance. I have never seen the grounds in the Spring but I am sure that they are quite lovely.

The view alone is worth the visit.

 

History of Lambert Castle:

Catholina Lambert and his Castle:

Catholina Lambert was born in 1834 in Goose Eye, England. In 1851 at the young age of 17, Lambert left home to seek his fortune in the “Land of Opportunity” that was America. After several successful ventures in the silk industry, Lambert decided to build a home that would be reminiscent of the castles he recalled from his boyhood in England. In 1892, he built his own castle on Garret Mountain in Paterson, NJ, then known as the “Silk, City of the New World.”

Lambert’s home was built to showcase his elaborate art collection  of fine European and American paintings and sculpture. At one time, his collection was so vast that it was considered to be “the nucleus of an American Louvre.” In 1913, Lambert fell into debt and his fortune started to dwindle. As a result, he was forced to mortgage the Castle and eventually sell much of his art collection. The proceeds allowed him to live comfortably in the Castle until his death at age 89 in 1923.

After Lambert’s death, his son, Walter sold the Castle to the City of Paterson, which later sold it to the County of Passaic. Today the Castle is still owned by the County and  serves as the headquarters of the Passaic County Historical Society. The Society, a private not for profit organization, owns the historical artifacts and works of art. The home and the museum, exist as a reminder of a bygone era and as a tribute to the great accomplishment of  the Castle’s creator. Although most of the furnishings today are not original to the Lambert’s home, they represent period furnishings that would have been found in the Castle during the Lambert era.

For more information about the rooms and decor, visit The Lambert Castle Blog at:

https://lambertcastleweb.wordpress.com/museum/

Passaic Historical Society:

The Society & Museum:

The Passaic County Historical Society is a private non-profit educational organization founded in 1926 and dedicated to cultivation of interest in the history and culture of Passaic County and former home of silk magnate Catholina Lambert was built in 1892. The Castle is owned by the County of Passaic and has been the home to the Society since 1934.

Library & Archives:

Located in the lower level of the Castle is the Elizabeth A. Beam Memorial Historical Research Library, operated by the Passaic County Historical Society. Here scholarly researchers, genealogists and historical enthusiasts may find books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, genealogy records and other information that reveals the history of Passaic County. Access to the library is included with regular admission to Lambert Castle.

Membership:

The Society depends upon the support of its membership as well as museum admission to sustain its important mission. Please consider becoming a member and helping to preserve the history of Passaic County.

The Second Floor Galleries:

The Castles’s second floor has several exhibition galleries, each presenting a different historical display from the Society’s collections. To the right of the fireplace on the walls of the second floor balcony is an exhibition of works by noted Paterson artist Julian Rix. On the opposite side are portraits of notable Passaic County residents and a collection of historic engravings of the Passaic Falls. Behind the fireplace are the Lambert’s private rooms. To the left, in the former sitting room and bedroom of Mr. Lambert, are the Curiosities and Local Folk Art galleries and the famous Brass Dog Sculpture that served for many years as an advertising sign for a tinsmith’s shop in nineteenth-century Paterson. In the adjacent room, the former bedroom of Mrs. Lambert, is the Local History Gallery which features historical images of prominent businesses and people.

The Third Floor Exhibition Gallery:

The Third floor of Lambert Castle is reserved for changing or seasonable exhibitions.

Disclaimer: This information comes directly from the Passaic County Historical Society & Museum pamphlet and I give them full credit of it. Rather than transcribing the whole pamphlet with the description of rooms, I attached their website and blog on WordPress.com for more detailed viewing.

The New Jersey Firemen’s Museum at the New Jersey Firemen’s Home  565 Lathrop Avenue Boonton, NJ 07005

The New Jersey Firemen’s Museum at the New Jersey Firemen’s Home 565 Lathrop Avenue Boonton, NJ 07005

The New Jersey Firemen’s Museum at the New Jersey Firemen’s Home

565 Lathrop Avenue

Boonton, NJ  07005

(973) 334-0024

http://www.NJFH.org

Open: Sunday-Saturday 8:00am-4:00pm

Admission: Free

http://www.njfh.org/njfh-museum.php

Located inside the Boonton New Jersey Firemen’s Home, The New Jersey Firemen’s Museum is an 8000 square feet, two story museum that houses steamers, ornate hose carts and antique fire trucks from all eras.

The museum was established in May of 1985 and is home to many fire department in New Jersey’s memorabilia. It seems like everyone fire department in the State of New Jersey is represented here with old fire department pictures, patches from the fire companies, fire trucks from all eras and pictures of department fires from all over the state.

Filling the cases is antique fire equipment, badges from officers in many departments, figurines of fire equipment and ribbons from conventions of the past. There are old fire buckets from the beginnings of the fire service, horns to sound the alarms from the turn of the last century and helmets that retired chiefs from many departments donated with much honor.

New Jersey Fire Museum II

Many companies donated their department pictures from fires of their past that were fought with much bravery. People forget that this job is very dangerous and we have to watch ourselves in every step.

The fire trucks are from every era from the carts that were dragged by hand to horse drawn engines to the original steam engines that were introduced with the advent of technology. All of the equipment has been carefully restored and shined to almost new. Much care has been taken to show the transition of the fire service over the years.

New Jersey Fire Museum

The tours are on your own and the admission is free. You don’t have to be a fire fighter or visiting a resident here to visit the museum. If you are a serious fire buff or have children that are really into fire fighting or being a fireman, this museum will give you all sorts of perspectives on the fire service and its development not just in New Jersey but all over the county as well.

Don’t miss the memorial to the victims of 9/11 off to the side. It is very touching and shows the support of the fire service to the members of the FDNY and their families.

It is a nice afternoon out.

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden 421 East 61st Street  New York, NY 10065

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden 421 East 61st Street New York, NY 10065

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden

421 East 61st Street

New York, NY  10065

(212) 838-6878

Open: Tuesday-Sunday-11:00am-4:00pm

Fee: Adults $8.00/Seniors & Students $7.00  Donation

http://www.mvhm.org

Home

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d309468-Reviews-Mount_Vernon_Hotel_Museum_Garden-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

I had come across the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum when I was walking East 61st Street and went to take the tour of the building ($8.00). It is a one hour (or more as I there for almost two hours but I was by myself) tour of both floors. The upstairs is the sleeping rooms, the ladies parlors where female guests would enjoy tea, games, music and reading. The main landing was for dancing and for gatherings.

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The Ladies Palour at the Mount Vernon Museum

The main floor was the Men’s parlors where there is a bar and two rooms for male activities such as cards, gambling and reading. The main entrance was used as the dining room for dinner (our lunch), which was the biggest meal of the day served around 2:00pm.

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Dinner time at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum

The tour guide went over what would have been served, menu’s and meal times. Dinner would have been served at 2:00pm, tea time would have been around 4:00pm-6:00pm and Supper around 8:00pm. The tour of the kitchen show preparation of foods, recipe books and all kitchen equipment including the stoves and baking materials.

If you like the history of “Old New York” and like old homes, hotels and buildings, this is a very interesting tour that deals with the City’s growing middle-class and the new ‘leisure time’ that was coming with the changes in the work week. There are many pieces of period furniture all over the building that show the growth of affluence of the time.

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The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum in the Summer months

Don’t miss the formal walled in garden in the back. It is a place of relaxation from the rest of the city. There are stone walk ways and landscaped gardens as well as an herb garden. The building is owned and maintained by the Colonial Dames of America.

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The walled gardens

I revisited the museum for the holidays and the hotel was decked out in garland and holy based on the decor traditional for the Revolutionary War era Christmas. The archways and tables were lined with greenery and the tables were loaded with oranges plunged with cloves to give the homes at that time a rich citrus smell.

The downstairs dining table was set for a Christmas meal of wild turkey, mock turtle soup, and apple and pumpkin pies. This would have been served in the afternoon as the main meal while it was still light out.

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Holiday goodies at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum getting ready for the holidays

There had been a light snow while we were touring the hotel so when we visited the gardens, it really did have that Christmas feel to it with that light snow all over the pine and the bushes.

During the time of the Revolutionary War and afterwards, homes were not as elaborately decorated as they would have been during Victorian times after the Civil War. Homes were lined with greenery that would have given the home the fragrant smell of pine and strings of cranberries and popcorn would have been used to decorate mantles.

The hotel was getting ready for one of its many special events during the holidays so there was a lot of commotion going on downstairs.

It is a very festive looking place for the holidays so try to tour it when it is open in the month of December.

 

What is the Museum:

Constructed in 1799 as a carriage house and converted into a ‘day hotel’ in 1826, the Museum transports visitors back to Mount Vernon Hotel, a 19th Century country resort for New Yorkers escaping the crowded city below 14th Street.

Recognizing the building as one of the few remaining 18th century sites and the only surviving day hotel in New York City Historic Landmark in 1967, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1983.

History of the House:

The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden presents the period of the Mount Vernon Hotel which operated from 1826 until 1833.

Constructed in 1799 as a carriage house for a 23 acre estate and converted into the Mount Vernon in 1826, this stone building sits on land originally owned by Colonel William Stephens Smith and his wife, Abigail Adams Smith, the daughter of John Adams.

This fashionable country resort was popular among New Yorkers who wished to escape the hustle among the bustle of the city, which at that time extended only as far north 14th Street. The Hotel advertised “free from the noise and dust of the public roads and fitted up and intended for only the most gent respectable” clientele. In those days, one could take the stagecoach or steamboat up to 61st Street spend the day at the hotel sipping lemonade in the ladies parlor or playing cards in the gentlemen’s.

In 1833, the house became the home for three generations of a New York City family. In 1905, as the area became more industrialized, the building was purchased by Standard Gas Light Company (today’s Con-Edison). The Colonial Dames of America, a woman’s patriotic society purchased the building in 1924 and did an extensive restoration to the structure, the Colonial Dames opened the site to the public in 1939. The building endures as a rare reminder of an important era in New York City’s history.

What the organization does:

*Welcome 5000 school children annually in grades-pre-K through high school for field trips.

*Summer History Weeks for children ages 6-12

*A Summer High School Internship for 15 students to support college readiness skills and career exploration.

*Two summer Hearst Fellowships for undergraduates or graduate students.

*40+public programs each year, including:

-monthly free Storytime

-monthly Lunchtimes lectures

-holiday programs, garden concerts, hands on craft and cooking workshops.

*Temporary exhibitions on facets of life in early 19th century NYC, some promoting local contemporary artists.

*Special programs for individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

*Outreach programs to schools, senior centers and homeless shelters.

*Themed group tours focused on 19th century food, decorative arts or literature.

*Three options for team building events.

*Two free admission days: Smithsonian Museum Day and Open House New York.

Programs are made possible in part by the support of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Ben Kallos, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Rosenthal Foundation and the Michael Tuch Foundation.

(Mount Vernon Hotel Pamphlet)

The Colonial Dames of America:

With these words, spoken in April 1890, Maria Denning “May” Van Rensselaer imitated what was to become the oldest colonial lineage society for women in the United States. The Colonial Dames of America. Its mission is to preserve historic sites and objects, award scholarships, educate the public about American history, inspire patriotism and promote fellowship among its members.

(The Colonial Dames of America information).