2020 Past Programs



Wednesday, January 1, 2 to 5 p.m.
New Year’s Day 2020 Celebration!
Paying social calls on friends and family on New Year’s Day was one of Old New York’s most cherished customs. Join us for good cheer for the New Year and learn how New Yorkers like the Tredwells celebrated the day in the 1850s.

Guided tours of the house throughout the afternoon, walking tours of the NoHo neighborhood, and hot cider and cookies in the cozy 19th century kitchen.

New this year! Gertrude Tredwell, portrayed by a costumed interpreter, will receive guests in the elegant parlors decorated with swags of evergreens, brilliant holly berries, white mistletoe, and red-leafed poinsettias – and a table-top tree festooned with ribbons and candles.

Exhibitions on view: Home for the Holidays: A Mid-19th Century Christmas;
Festoon, Feast & Frolic: 19th Century Christmas Festivities in Print,
 On loan from the Michael A. Russo Ephemera Collection; and Plaid Silk Dress, ca. 1848-1854, from the Tredwell Costume Collection.

FREE for MHM Members, $20 General Admission.

7th SMASH Year!
Final Performances! Closes January 5, 2020

A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House, Charles Dickens in New York, 1867
In December 1867, Charles Dickens arrived in New York for a month of sold-out performances of his beloved A Christmas Carol. Join Mr. Dickens, portrayed by John Kevin Jones, as he tells his timeless Christmas tale in the museum’s elegant double parlor. Surrounded by 19th century holiday decorations and flickering candles, you’ll be transported back 150 years in this captivating and critically acclaimed one-hour performance created from Dickens’ own script. Perfect for families.

Presented in association with Summoners Ensemble Theatre. Adapted and presented by John Kevin Jones and Rhonda Dodd. Click here for performance schedule, tickets, and more information.

“Masterful storytelling” and a “tour de force”

“The Christmas Carol becomes doubly enchanting when one hears it performed by Dickens.” New York Herald, 1867

“… a celebration of not only the holiday season, but of the value of everyday kindness.”

Closes Monday, January 6
Exhibition –
Home for the Holidays: A Mid-19th Century Christmas
It’s 1855 and the Tredwell family is celebrating the season with holiday decorating, elaborate parties, festive food, and gift giving. New York had proclaimed Christmas a state holiday in 1849 and was leading the way in creating the joyous traditions we celebrate today.

Festive scenes are recreated throughout the house as the Tredwells make merry. Their elegant parlors are decorated with swags of evergreens, brilliant holly berries, white mistletoe, and red-leafed poinsettias; a table-top tree festooned with ribbons and candles takes center stage. Mrs. Tredwell is stuffing the children’s stockings and sending holiday greetings, and the Tredwell daughters are dressing in their finest silks.

In the kitchen, the Irish servants are preparing the plum pudding, shucking the oysters, and readying the punch bowl, using recipes from the latest holiday cookbooks.

Tour the house and discover how many of our modern holiday traditions, from Christmas trees and Christmas cards, to gifts and stockings, Christmas carols (and Santa Claus, too) originated in mid-19th century New York.

Closes Monday, January 6
Exhibition –
Festoon, Feast & Frolic: 19th Century Christmas Festivities in Print
On loan from the Michael A. Russo Ephemera Collection
Worth a thousand words, period illustrations from greeting cards, newspapers, trade cards, and even cookbooks reveal some of the most treasured and celebrated Yuletide traditions of the 19th century — and highlight the food, décor, and activities the Tredwell family may have enjoyed for their holiday merry making.

Michael A. Russo is a member of the Ephemera Society of America, Vice President of the National Valentine Association and the owner of Trout Lily Farm, a flower farm, in southern Connecticut, where he grows and creates unique floral designs for his clients.

The Museum will be OPEN on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 20, from 12 to 5 p.m.

Friday, January 24, 6:30 & 7 p.m. 
Dark Days of Winter Candlelight Ghost Tour of “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House” (The New York Times)
Doors slam, floorboards creak, voices call into the dead of night. Venture into the shadows of history to see the house where seven family members died and hear true tales of inexplicable occurrences from the people who actually experienced them.
“#1 Most Haunted Place in NYC” (TimeOut New York) 50-60 minutes. $30, $20 Members. Click here to purchase tickets.
Upcoming Ghost Tours: Friday, February 21, March 13, April 17, May 15, June 19, July 17.

Saturday, January 25, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Behind-the-Ropes: Insider’s Tours of the Merchant’s House
First in a Series – The Architecture of an 1832 Landmark (Manhattan’s First)
Next up:
Saturday, February 29:
Changing Tastes in 19th Century Furniture
Saturday, March 28: 100 Years of Domestic Lighting
Join us for a series of “behind the ropes” tours of the Merchant’s House. From late Federal to Greek Revival, Duncan Phyfe to Rococo Revival, whale oil to gas to kerosene, you’ll gain new perspectives on these unique insider’s tours, learning about changing period styles and technologies and how they reflect the attitudes and values of the merchant class in mid-19th century New York City.

The Architecture of an 1832 Landmark. We’ll explore in detail the architecture of the 1832 Merchant’s House, one of only 120 buildings designated an interior and exterior landmark in New York. The tour begins in the 1850s kitchen (bring your own coffee) for an overview, and continues through the house, ending in the rarely seen 3rd floor rooms (now staff offices) and an up-close look at several important architectural fragments from the collection.

          Anthony Bellov: Bachelor’s in Architecture from Pratt Institute, Graduate in Museum Leadership from Bank Street College of Education, long-time volunteer and board member of the Merchant’s House Museum and an aficionado in 19th Century American Decorative Arts and Architecture.

$30, $25 Members. Limited to 20 participants. Click here to purchase tickets. Interested in attending all three “Behind the Ropes” Tours? Add tickets to all three tours to your shopping cart and enter code INSIDER at check-out for $15 off your order.

Through Thursday, January 30
Tredwell Costume Collection: Dress, 1848-54, silk, silk taffeta, cotton, metal, MHM 2002.0847
The Tredwell Costume Collection comprises more than 400 articles of clothing – primarily women’s dresses and their accompanying chemisettes, collars, undersleeves, and petticoats. The core of the collection consists of a remarkable 39 dresses documented to have been owned and worn by the women of the family. Many are outstanding examples of the 19th century dressmaker’s art, composed of fine and delicate fabrics and ornamentation.

On display, a one-piece, hand-sewn dress of cream, brown, and salmon pink plaid silk. The fitted bodice has wide pagoda sleeves, wide, bell-shaped sleeves that necessitate the use of detachable undersleeves to complete the look of the dress. A popular sleeve style around the time of the Civil War, it appears to have been a favorite of the Tredwell women (20 of the 39 dresses have them).

Thursday, January 30, 6:30 p.m.
A Spine-Tingling Birthday Celebration for Edgar Allan Poe
In 1845, Edgar Allan Poe lived on Amity Street (now West 3rd Street). Publication of his poem The Raven brought him great acclaim and invitations to the Village’s fashionable literary salons. In honor of Poe’s birthday, we’ll learn about Poe’s life in the Village and enjoy a performance of his writings.
Andrea Janes, founder of Boroughs of the Dead, will discuss Poe’s residence in the City, his rivals, and admirers, and his writing about antebellum New York’s architecture, literature, and current events.
The evening will conclude with John Kevin Jones (A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House) as the great master of horror performing bone-chilling tales of irrational revenge, obsession, and murder.

FREE. Reservations are required. Click here to register.

NOTE LOCATION: New York City Baha’i Center, 53 East 11th Street (Btw Broadway & University)
Co-sponsored by Village Preservation and Boroughs of the Dead.


Exhibitions included with regular museum admission.

Thursday, January 30, through Monday, May 4
Sylvia:  A 19th Century Life Unveiled
In 2002, a small, timeworn leather trunk discarded on a sidewalk in Lower Manhattan was found replete with the cherished keepsakes of a 19th century woman.  Thus began visual artist Stacy Renee Morrison’s self-proclaimed love affair with Sylvia DeWolf Ostrander, whose early life parallels that of Gertrude Tredwell, who lived at 29 East 4th Street.

For almost two decades, Ms. Morrison has been on an obsessive quest to weave together Sylvia’s life in the 19th century through the personal belongings she left behind — and to re-imagine it in today’s world through art and fashion.

This is the first time Sylvia’s trunk and its treasured contents will be exhibited in public.  On display, an invitation in 1860 to a ball honoring the Prince of Wales, letters from the Civil War, Sylvia’s journals, mourning jewelry made of human hair, paper dolls, and other ephemera. Photographs and screen-printed clothing illustrate Sylvia’s life in the present as the artist’s muse.

Stacy Renee Morrison is a visual artist who often forgets what century it is.  She finds herself haunted by women who lived their lives well before her own and creates visual biographies of their pasts.  When Stacy is fully present in the 21st century she teaches in the BFA Photography and Video Department and MFA Visual Narrative Departments at School of Visual Arts in New York City.

“I imagine backwards; an apparition in her bygone era.
She visits me in the present as the girl of my dreams.”


Wednesday, February 12, 6:30 p.m.
Members-Only Exhibition Tour
Join visual artist Stacy Renee Morrison for an exclusive look at her new exhibition, Sylvia: A 19th Century Life Unveiled.
FREE for Members Only. Email nyc1832@merchantshouse.org to RSVP. Not a member? Click here to join.

Friday, February 14, 7 p.m.
Love in the Parlors — A Valentine in Concert
The Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society presents a gala concert of lush, romantic vocal music  performed in the Museum’s elegant Greek Revival double parlor. Singers Anthony Bellov, Amy Gluck, Jane Elizabeth Rady, and Dayle Vander Sande perform rarely heard gems by the world’s greatest 19th-century composers: Schumann, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Amy Beach, Johann Strauss II, and others. Chosen by NBC Online and TimeOut NY as a top pick for Valentine’s Day.
90 minutes. Very limited capacity. Tickets $55, VIP Seating (first & second row) $65. MHM Members $35, VIP $45. Click here to purchase tickets.

The Museum will be OPEN on President’s Day, Monday, February 17, 12 to 5 p.m.