2013 Programs


Thursday, November 14, through Monday, January 6
Exhibition: At the Tredwells’ Table: Highlights from the Collection
A treasure trove of Tredwell silverware has returned to 29 East Fourth Street. The donation includes a partial luncheon service by American silvermaker Wm. Rogers in the “Oval Thread” pattern, dating from 1847-1872. The set, engraved “E.T.,” is believed to have been given to Elizabeth Tredwell, the eldest Tredwell daughter, shortly after her marriage in 1845. Also on display are china and glassware spanning the Tredwell family’s almost 100 year residence in the house.
Included with regular admission.

Friday, November 29, through Monday, January 6
Exhibition: Christmas Comes to Old New York
Scenes of holiday preparation recreated throughout the House show how many of our modern holiday traditions originated in mid-19th century New York. From Christmas trees decorated with candles and handmade ornaments, to poinsettias, holly, and evergreen garlands decking the halls, holiday feasting, Christmas songs and carols, presents and stockings. And, of course, Santa Claus. Included with regular admission.
Tuesday, December 3, to Friday, December 20, 7:30 p.m.

A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House
20 Characters, 1 Actor, 1 Hour
Performed by John Kevin Jones, Directed by Rhonda Dodd

Come celebrate the season with this unique retelling of a holiday classic, glimpsed through the lens of Old New York. John Kevin Jones brings A Christmas Carol’s ghosts, graveyards, greed, and redemption to life in the manner of Charles Dickens himself. Jones’ performance is “… like an entire theatre company … under one hat” (as historian Thomas Carlyle remarked after attending one of Dickens’ famed public readings).Perfect for families.
Tickets $37.50. Available at http://christmascarolnyc.bpt.me or by calling BrownPaperTickets.com at 1 (800) 838-3066.

November 29 through December 15
Featured Walking Tour: ‘Ghosts of Christmas Past’ with Boroughs of the Dead
This annual holiday tour presents the very best true ghost stories from our neighborhood, with a special seasonal focus on Christmas ghosts. You’ll learn why 19th century New Yorkers like the Tredwells loved to tell ghost stories at Christmas, where Charles Dickens performed A Christmas Carol in 1867 – and how Washington Irving saved Christmas. And you’ll see some genuinely haunted homes, including the prominently featured Merchant’s House. Tour dates, times, and to purchase tickets.
$20 in advance, $25 at the door, $15 for Merchant’s House Museum Members (use discount code MHMember)

Thursday, December 12, 7 to 9:30 p.m.
A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s HouseBenefit Performance & Holiday Merrymaking
$100 for Performance & Merrymaking; $150 for Performance, Merrymaking, and One-year Membership to the Merchant’s House Museum.
Tickets are available at http://christmascarolnyc.bpt.me or by calling BrownPaperTickets.com at 1 (800) 838-3066.

Tuesday, December 10, 6 to 8 p.m.
Annual 19th-Century Holiday Party
With special performance previews of ‘A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House’ throughout the evening by star Kevin Jones
The House will be in festive mid-19th century holiday dress with a table top tree, poinsettias, candlelight, and greenery decking the halls. Join us for a collation of Dickensian fare and old Scrooge’s favorite, a ‘bowl of Bishop,’ as we celebrate the holidays in Old New-York. Tours of the House, holiday music, and a raffle & gift bazaar.
$25, MHM Members Free.
Members should call 212-777-1089 or email nyc1832@merchantshouse.org to reserve.

Through Monday, November 25
Exhibition: Out of Their Boxes: The Costume Collection Returns
After two years of structural restoration, the plaster dust has settled and the fragile Tredwell dresses from the Museum’s collection are back on display. First up, a cotton voile day dress from 1846-1855. In 1935, this dress was sketched as part of the Index of American Design, an archive of American decorative arts.
Included with regular admission. Reservations not required.

Tuesday, November 19, 6:30 p.m.
Lecture: Taste at the Tredwells’: Decoration and Entertaining in the 1850s
How did New Yorkers decorate and entertain before the Civil War? Join Merchant’s House Board Chair and decorative arts specialist Nicholas Nicholson for an illustrated slide lecture as he examines trends, taste, shopping, dining, and etiquette in Old New York.

The recent completion of research for the Historic Furnishings Plan has revealed the Tredwells undertook a major renovation and redecoration of the house in the 1850s. Tredwell family silver, a recent gift by a descendant, was purchased at the same time.

19th Century Lifeways is the Museum’s new public program series — in which experts lecture on 19th century American decorative arts, architecture, New York City history, preservation, and related subjects. The Merchant’s House Museum’s intact 1832 landmark building and original collections provide the springboard for the lectures.

$15, Members Free. Reservations required.
Members, please call 212-777-1089 or email nyc1832@merchantshouse.org to reserve.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Through Monday, November 4
Exhibition: The 1865 Death and Funeral of Seabury Tredwell
Photographs by Hal Hirshorn
Using an early 20th-century view camera fitted with a 19th century lens, photographer Hal Hirshorn creates evocative images recreating the death and funeral of Seabury Tredwell, who died at home on March 7, 1865, at the age of 85. Hirshorn printed his images from 8×10 negatives using noted photographer and inventor William Fox Talbot’s 1840 ‘salt print’ process.

Through Monday, November 4
Exhibition: A 19th Century House in Mourning
Step back in time to 1865, when family patriarch Seabury Tredwell died at home in his bed. Poignant scenes of death and grief recreated in the House will explore mid-19th century mourning customs. Included with regular admission; reservations not required.

Friday & Saturday, October 25 & 26; Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, October 28, 29 & 30
50-minute tours begin every half hour from 6 to 9:30 p.m.
Candlelight Ghost Tours of ‘Manhattan’s Most Haunted House’
Updated with the latest eerie happenings!

Doors slam, floorboards creak, voices call into the night. Restoration work always ‘stirs things up’ at the Museum so we’ve had lots of new reports of especially strange experiences this year. We invite you to venture into the shadows of history to see the house where eight family members died and hear the newest tales of inexplicable occurrences from the people who actually experienced them. And the creepiest of past ones.
6 p.m. (includes 4th floor Servants’ Quarters) $40;
6:30, 7, 7:30 p.m. $25; 8, 8:30, 9 p.m. $30;
9:30 p.m. (includes 4th floor Servants’ Quarters) $40;
MHM Members $15 all times. 

Thursday, October 31, Hallowe’en
Performance at 7 p.m.
Tales of the Supernatural: Horror on Hallowe’en
Dramatic readings from 19th century Gothic literature and true ghost stories as reported by visitors of the Merchant’s House through the years told in the Museum’s parlors set for a Victorian funeral. $25, $15 MHM Members. Reservations required.

Sunday, October 6, 13, 20, 27
‘Spirited’ Walking Tour of 19th Century Noho:  Glamour, Greed — & Ghosts
The neighborhood surrounding the Merchant’s House was home to some of the most famous, and infamous, names in New York history. From the literary to the illegal, New York society was played out in the elegant parlors and dark alleys of the fashionable Bond Street neighborhood. On this tour, we’ll see the haunts of renowned figures such as Edgar Allen Poe and Washington Irving; the spirits of long ago firemen and stable boys; the high and low life characters of the Bowery — as well as a tale or two of haunted happenings at the Merchant’s House. And we’ll visit the site of the most grisly of all 19th-century New York murders and hear tales of more contemporary ghosts that just won’t leave the neighborhood.

Tour is 50 minutes and begins promptly at 1 p.m.
$10, Students $ Seniors $5, FREE for Members.
Reservations not necessary.

Sunday, October 27, 4 to 5:30 p.m.
From Parlor to Grave: 1865 Funeral Reenactment and Graveyard Procession
In the 19th century, death and funerals took place at home. Join us in the Museum’s double parlors as we recreate the 1865 funeral service of Seabury Tredwell and discuss the funerary customs of 19th century New York City. After the service, mourners follow the coffin to nearby New York City Marble Cemetery – rarely open to the public – for the graveside service and cemetery talk. 19th century mourning attire is encouraged. VIP tickets include front-row seating, black crape armbands, and the opportunity to lead the graveyard procession as a pallbearer. sold out!, $65 VIP Seats, $25 MHM Members; $10 Graveside Service & Cemetery Talk only. Mourners attending the Graveside Service and Cemetery Talk only should arrive at the Merchant’s House at 4:30 p.m. 

Thursday, October 24
60-minute tours at 8 and 9:30 p.m.

Reading the Rooms: A Psychic Talks with the Tredwells
A rare opportunity to walk the dark and hallowed halls of “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House” (The New York Times) with Certified Psychic Medium and Paranormal Researcher Cathy Towle. Ms. Towle will relate happenings and unexplainable occurrences from her several years of on-going paranormal investigations at the House – and deliver any messages from the beyond she might receive on the spot. Bring your questions. $60, MHM Members $30.

Tuesday, October 22, 6:30 p.m.
Lecture: Grisly Crimes and Unsolved Murders of 19th Century New York
Ike Ilkiw, licensed private investigator, retired NYC Police Detective, and founder/owner of NYC Adventure Tours shares “just the facts” of the most macabre, gruesome, and some unsolved crimes of 19th century Gotham. $15, MHM Members Free.

Friday, October 18, 7:30 p.m.
Chant Macabre: Songs from the Crypt
Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins haunt the music of the 19th century. Come be spooked by these harrowing tales as the Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society bewitches your imagination and sings shivers down your spine, echoing sumptuous, rarely-performed songs in an authentic Victorian parlor. Singers Roberta Alessandra, Anthony Bellov, Jane Elizabeth Rady, and Dayle Vander Sande. Music by Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy, Loewe, Mussorgsky, and others. $25, $15 MHM Members. 

Friday, October 11, 2 to 4 p.m. 
Have Your (Batter) Cake & Eat It, Too: A 19th-Century Food Tasting
Historic House Trust Festival: A Culinary Exploration of New York City
Marja Samsom (the Dumpling Diva and chef of famed, now historic, downtown restaurant The Kitchen Club) will serve up ‘batter cakes and lemon cream,’ based on a mid-19th century recipe. Reportedly a great favorite of Thomas Jefferson, batter cakes were often served at tea time. The original recipe, with Marja’s adaptation for modern cooks, is featured in the Museum’s publication “The Little Book of Tea.”
Free admission (includes a self-guided tour of the Merchant’s House Museum). Reservations not required.

Wednesday, October 9, 6:30 p.m.
Lecture: Ghosts of Manhattan
Author and actress Elise Gainer shares historical images and tales of local haunts from her new book, Ghosts and Murders of Manhattan, from Arcadia Publishing. See the faces of the dead that still cling to Broadway theaters, stately hotels, picturesque homes, and cozy taverns. Hear about apparitions, footsteps, phantom smells, and mysterious fires, and the events that still echo today. $15, MHM Members Free. Reservations required.

Thursday, September 26, 6:30 p.m.
19th Century Lifeways Lecture: The REAL Gangs of New York
A lecture marking the 150th anniversary of the New York Draft Riots, the bloodiest urban insurrection of 19th Century America. Justin Ferate, NYC urban historian, examines the social pressures and misguided public policies that led to the powder keg that exploded in the streets of New York in July of 1863.
Governor George Pataki and the NYS Tourism Council honored Justin Ferate as“New York’s Most Engaging Tour Guide.”He is the author of the Official New York City Tour Guide Licensing Examination, and has been called “One of New York’s 50 Essential Secrets!” by Time Out New York
$15, MHM Members FREE.

Saturday, September 28, 1 to 5 p.m.
FAB! Festival
East 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue
This is our good East-4th-Street neighbor FAB!’s 10th anniversary FAB! Festival. It’s an arts explosion featuring free performances, exhibits, and activities. For all ages.
We’ll be there, too. In 19th century mourning. (October is almost here.  And with that the Museum’s ‘spirited’ events.)

Through September 16
Exhibition: Take a Peek: 19th Century Undergarments from the Collection
Defy propriety and come take a peek at rarely seen examples of the Tredwells’ undergarments from the 1850s and ’60s. On display will be a hand-embroidered chemise, split-leg drawers, steel-boned corset, voluminous petticoat, silk stockings, and cage crinoline. You’ll be amused – and amazed – when you learn how much a mid-19th century lady wore under her clothes.  Included with regular admission. Reservations not required. 

Wednesday, September 18, 7-9 p.m.
Benefit Party: Cocktails in the Garden

Celebrate fall with cocktails in the 19th century walled garden of the Merchant’s House Museum.  “Cocktails in the Garden” is hosted by the 1832 Society, the Museum’s committee of members and supporters under 40.
$75, $100 with one-year Membership. All but $10 of each ticket purchase is tax-deductible. Reservations required; click here to purchase tickets.

Wednesday, June 19, 6:30 p.m.
The Bowery:  The Rise, and Fall, and Rise Again
19th Century Lifeways Lecture
Join David Mulkins, Chair of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, for an illustrated lecture on the history of the City’s oldest and most-illustrious thoroughfare. The Bowery was an Indian foot path, a Dutch farm road, and in the early 19th century home to wealthy merchants like Peter Cooper and the Tredwells. It was later notorious for gangs such as the Bowery Boys, saloons and dance halls, brothels and flophouses.  It was also New York’s first entertainment district and cradle for tap dancing, vaudeville, Yiddish theater – and punk rock. In recent years, the Bowery has experienced a ferocious wave of gentrification and real estate speculation, threatening its historic character. This spring, the Bowery was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

19th-Century Lifeways is the Museum’s new public program series — in which experts lecture on 19th century American decorative arts, architecture, New York City history, preservation, and related subjects. The Merchant’s House Museum’s intact 1832 landmark building and original collections provides the springboard for the lectures.
$15, MHM Members FREE. Reservations required.

Saturday, June 15, Noon to 6 p.m.
Antiques – china & glassware – decorative furnishings – vintage clothes – fashion accessories – costume jewelry – linens, all for a song and all to benefit the Merchant’s House. Please donate — it’s tax deductible. Click here for the donation form.

Making Mother’s Day in May!
Eliza Tredwell’s Admission Special for the entire month
Mothers visit FREE (with accompanying child, of whatever age).

Wednesday, May 22, 6:30 p.m. 
EXTRA! EXTRA! Headline Stories that Captivated 19th Century New York
Actress, author, and New York City licensed tour guide Elise Gainer will present a collection of news stories of notorious murders, deadly riots, and devastating fires of the era, including the Brooklyn Theatre fire, the Astor Place Riots, and the murders of Mary Rogers and Dr. Harvey Burdell.  Hear excerpts from the papers of the day and see images that bring the events to life.
$15, MHM Members FREE.

Saturday, May 18, 7:30pm
Concert: SPRING FEVER! The Song Is on the Rose
The Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society revs up to a fever pitch with balmy lyrics to cure what ails you this spring. A 19th century salon of Art Song performed in the Museum’s authentic Greek revival parlors. Music by Debussy, Rossini, Mendelssohn, Wolf, Sullivan, and more. 75 minutes. $25, $10 MHM Members.

Friday, May 17, through Monday, May 20
2013 Noho Design District
The Merchant’s House is delighted to participate in the 4th annual NoHo Design District. During the NDD, a group of designers working with modern craft techniques will infiltrate the house’s time-capsule interior with a beautiful juxtaposition of contemporary objects.
Included with regular admission. Reservations not required.

Sunday, May 12, Tours at 12:30, 2, and 3:30 p.m.
Mother’s Day Tribute to Eliza Tredwell
In the 19th century, a woman’s chief responsibility was the raising of her children. Motherhood was her crowning achievement.  As a molder of the character of the Nation’s future citizens, mother was seen ultimately to influence government and society in a profound way. Join us for special tours of the house celebrating Eliza Tredwell, mother of eight children. Tours will celebrate women’s role in the home, “the throne of woman.”
Included with regular admission.
Mothers visit FREE (with accompanying child, of whatever age).

Friday, May 10, , 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Candlelight Ghost Tours of “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House” 
Doors slam, floorboards creak, voices call into the night.  Venture into the shadows of history to see the house where eight family members died (and The New York Times called “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House”) by flickering candlelight and hear true tales of inexplicable occurrences from the people who actually experienced them.
$20, $10 MHM Members. Tours are 50 minutes.

St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 17, tours at 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.
A Tribute to the Tredwells’ Irish Servants
Join us for a back-stairs look at the Merchant’s House, “arguably the oldest intact site of Irish habitation in New York City” (Time Out New York). Come climb the narrow staircase to the just-restored fourth-floor servants’ quarters and see where the Tredwells’ four Irish servants lived and did some of their work. You’ll learn why it would have been impossible to run a home like the Merchant’s House without them.
Included with regular admission. Reservations not required.

Friday, March 15, 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Candlelight Ghost Tours of “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House”
Doors slam, floorboards creak, voices call into the night.  Venture into the shadows of history to see the house where eight family members died (and The New York Times called “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House”) by flickering candlelight and hear true tales of inexplicable occurrences from the people who actually experienced them.
$20, $10 MHM Members. Tours are 50 minutes.

Through Thursday, February 28
Exhibition: Confections of Affection
Ornate and extravagant lace paper valentines reached their zenith during the second half of the 19th century. Victorian sentimentalism, combined with advancing print technology, fostered an outpouring of homemade and manufactured cards. On display is a selection of 19th century valentine cards, including five Tredwell family valentines and a rare example by Esther Howland, the first American manufacturer of valentines. Delicate and lacey, these expressions of love celebrate the whimsy and romance of the Golden Age of Valentines.
No reservations required. Included with regular admission.

Thursday, February 14, 7 p.m.
A Valentine in Concert:  Love in the Parlors
Lush, romantic vocal music of the world’s great 19th-century composers performed in the Museum’s Greek revival double parlor. Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society singers Anthony Bellov, Rosalind Gnatt, Jane Elizabeth Rady, and Dayle Vander Sande perform music by Rossini, Schubert, Liszt, Brahms, Stephen Foster, Amy Beach, and more.
75 minutes. $30, $ 20 Seniors & Students, $15 MHM Members.

“That this concert takes place in the Merchant House Museum’s spectacular Greek revival double parlors certainly doesn’t hurt when it comes to establishing mood.”
The Village Voice, February 7, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 7 p.m. 
Screening of The Heiress (1949)
Based on Washington Square, Henry James’s classic novel of mid-19th century New York City, this haunting film tells the story of young love — and a dominating father who didn’t approve. Our screening will take place in the Museum’s Greek revival double parlor, whose uncanny similarity to the film’s sets is no accident. Because of the Museum’s remarkably intact period architecture, the filmmakers conducted extensive research in the 1940s to design the sets. And the sets of the current Broadway revival of The Heiress are also based on the Merchant’s House. Come see the film, then see the show before it closes on February 9th.  Pssst!  Merchant’s House Members receive special 30% discount on ticketsJoin today and we’ll send you the secret code.
The film will be introduced by MHM board member Anthony Bellov. 
$20, $10 MHM Members.

Wednesday, January 16, 6:30 p.m.
19th Century Lifeways
Lecture: Evolution of the Townhouse: From Antiquity to Modern Times
Join architect Curtis Estes as he traces the architectural development of the townhouse from the European Classical period, through the Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical, and culminating with the Modern era. Using photographs, renderings, and plans, Mr. Estes will highlight changes in the ways people lived, social conventions, technological and sanitary innovations, as well as interior decoration, style, furniture, and comfort.
$15, MHM Members FREE.

19th-Century Lifeways is the Museum’s new public program series — in which experts lecture on 19th century American decorative arts, architecture, New York City history, preservation, and related subjects. The Merchant’s House Museum’s intact 1832 landmark building and original collections provides the springboard for the lectures.

Saturday, January 12, 7 p.m.
Concert: A 19th Century Salon of Music Presented by Grand Harmonie
The Merchant’s House is pleased to partner with Grand Harmonie for an evening of 19th century salon music. The ensemble, which specializes in Classical and Romantic wind music on period instruments, will perform in the Museum’s Greek revival double parlor. Enjoy works for solo wind and brass with fortepiano, including keyed trumpet, alto trombone, natural horn, bassoon, oboe, and flute.  It’s a rare opportunity to spend an evening immersed in an authentic 19th century atmosphere and enjoy an intimate performance of live music of the period — just as the Tredwells and their friends would have.
$20, $15 MHM Members, students and seniors. To reserve tickets, email grandharmonie@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 1, 3 to 6 p.m.
19th Century New Year’s Day in 1950s Holiday Style
Come follow the centuries-old New York tradition of paying New Year’s Day calls, this year with a vintage-twist. Take a tour of the 1850s Merchant’s House Museum, retro-decked with 1950s ornaments and memorabilia, enjoy a cup of hot cider in our period kitchen, take a walking tour of the neighborhood, and enter to win Rudolph’s Raffle. Featuring the collection of Deb O’Nair.
$20, MHM Members $10.