2014 Programs

 Friday, November 28 – Monday, January 5

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 and evergreens decking the halls, Christmas songs and carols, presents and stockings. And, of course, Santa Claus. On display, rarely-exhibited Christmas presents from the Tredwell collection. Included with regular admission; reservations not necessary.

Return engagement of
A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the MERCHANT’S  HOUSE
Starring John Kevin Jones
20 characters, 1 actor, 1 hour!
Come celebrate the season with this unique retelling of a holiday classic, set in the Museum’s double parlor decorated in 19th century holiday style. Perfect for families.

Thursday, December 11 to Sunday, December 28

“masterful storytelling” and a “tour de force”
“stays true to Dickens’s voice”
“perfectly suited to the season”

Click here for more information.

Tuesday, December 16, 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 as we celebrate the holidays in Old New-York. Tours of the House, holiday music, and a raffle & gift bazaar.
$25. Click here to purchase tickets. FREE for Museum Members (Join Now!)
Members please call 212-777-1089 or email nyc1832@merchantshouse.org to reserve.

Sunday, November 9, 12:30 p.m.
Special Walking Tour: 19th Century Landmark Treasures of Noho
See below for description.

Thursday, November 20, 6:30 p.m.
The First Foodies: The Evolution of Dining in 19th Century New York City
The first half of the 19th century saw seismic changes in the food and dining patterns of New Yorkers like the Tredwells. During this period, restaurants emerged on the scene (initially called “victualling houses”); private grocery stores replaced public markets as the main source for New Yorkers’ daily food needs; and a host of new technologies including gas lines, the ice box, and the cookstove changed food preparation within the middle- and upper-class home. And, yes, people lined up for the 19th century version of a cronut. Join Cindy Lobel, author of Urban Appetites:  Food and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York, as she explores how these changes affected the Tredwells and their circle as well as their servants. The illustrated lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing. $15. Reservations required.

2014 “Spirited” October events

Sunday, October 12, 12:30 p.m.
‘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.
$10, $5 Seniors & Students, Members Free. No reservations.

Tuesday, September 30, 6:30 p.m.
19th Century Lifeways Lecture: The Tredwells’ ca. 1848 Piano, Restored!
Musical instrument conservator Stewart Pollens will describe the design, construction, and special features of the Nunns and Fischer square piano, an instrument made in New York shortly before 1850 and purchased by the Tredwells for the front parlor. He will also discuss the work involved in restoring it to playability.
$10, Free for Members. Reservations required; click here to purchase tickets. Members please email nyc1832@merchantshouse.org to reserve.

Mr. Pollens served as the chief conservator of musical instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art between 1976 and 2006. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Early Pianoforte, published by Cambridge University Press in 1995 (reprinted 2009), and is currently writing The Manual of Musical Instrument Conservation and Bartolomeo Cristofori: Inventor of the Piano, both of which will be published by Cambridge University Press.

Friday, August 8, through Monday, September 29
Exhibition
Lessons Learned: The Tredwell Daughters’ Schoolbooks

A fashionable education for New York City’s well-to-do young ladies covered a variety of subjects, including geography, mathematics, composition, and French; their studies also went far beyond traditional academics with lessons in music, dancing, and other social graces. The five older Tredwell daughters attended Mrs. Okill’s Academy, one of the most elite private female academies of the time, located on Eighth Street. Gertrude, the youngest, attended Miss Gibson’s School on Union Square. On display from the collection, a variety of rarely exhibited lessons and schoolbooks, some bearing the comments and signature of Mrs. Okill herself. Included with regular admission.

Saturday, September 13, 6:30 p.m.
Cooking Demonstration & Tasting in the Period Kitchen
At the Tredwells’ Table — Curry: A History of Cooks and Colonists
Join us for a ‘taste back in time’ as we explore the history and development of curry from its roots in Indian antiquity to its popularity in the early years of the republic, and its appearance today in many world cuisines. Professionally trained chef and Merchant’s House tour guide Carl Raymond will discuss how the savory stew might have appeared on the Tredwells’ dining table as well as share some recipes from 19th century cookbooks. The program will include demonstration of the making of essential spice mixes, and the preparation and tasting of an 1840 recipe as well as a modern version. Wine will be served following the demonstration and the audience will be given a set of recipes to take home. $40, $25 Members. Reservations required; click here to purchase tickets.

Sunday, September 14, 12:30 p.m.
Special Walking Tour: 19th Century Landmark Treasures of Noho
On this one-hour walking tour of the Noho Historic District, promenaders will see 11 buildings designated as individual New York City landmarks. The tour begins at the 1832 Merchant’s House and within a few blocks traces 100 years of social, economic and technological changes in New York during the 19th century, from a residential enclave for the wealthy merchant families of Old New York to a center of manufacturing and busy cultural center. The tour will feature stories of famous as well as infamous residents and builders of these landmarks and the renowned architects who designed them. Stops will include Colonnade Row, the DeVinne Press Building, Astor Library, The Cooper Union, and the Bayard-Condict Building.

The Merchant’s House Museum is a member of the NYC Landmarks50 Alliance, which over the next two years will engage and educate the public about the importance of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Law (April 19, 1965) and celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Wednesday, September 17, 7 to 9:30 p.m.
1832 Society Benefit: 4th Annual Cocktails in the Garden
Host Sponsor STUDIO SOFIELD

The Younger Members of the Merchant’s House Museum (40 and under) invite you to an early fall evening of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in our 19th century garden. Music by No_Sheep.  To purchase tickets: www.merchantshouse.org/cocktails

Sunday, August 10, 12:30 p.m.
Walking Tour of 19th Century NoHo: Glamour & Greed, Money & Murder
Join us for a journey back in time to the elite ‘Bond Street area,’ home to Astors, Vanderbilts, Delanos — and the Tredwells, who lived in the Merchant’s House. You’ll walk the footsteps of these wealthy mercantile families whose elegant Federal mansions once lined the tranquil cobblestone streets. Our tour passes by iconic landmarks such as the imposing Colonnade Row, the Public Theater, and The Cooper Union. On the bustling Astor Place, imagine the drama of events that led to the Opera House riot of 1849, among the bloodiest in American history. And visit the site of the scandalous 1857 Bond Street murder of Harvey Burdell, one of the City’s still unsolved crimes.
Tour is one hour and begins promptly at 12:30 p.m.
Promenaders will return to the Museum in time to take the
 2 p.m. Guided Tour if they wish.
$10. Students & Seniors $5. FREE for Members.
Reservations not necessary.

Thursday, May 1, through Monday, August 4
Tredwell Brides: Changing Wedding Traditions in the 19th Century
This exhibition examines changes in wedding traditions over the course of the 1800s, from the private ceremonies associated with the early-19th century to the lavish affairs common in the post-Civil War period. Wedding customs such as the trousseau, printed invitations, and the giving of gifts will also be explained. On display, Eliza Tredwell’s 1820 empire-style embroidered cotton wedding dress and Sarah Ann Tredwell’s 1872 silk bridal dress made in Paris and the highest fashion of the post-Civil War bustle period. Accessories include silk wedding boots, and earrings, corsage, and headpiece of wax orange blossoms.
Included with regular admission.

Every Thursday in June and July/Museum & Garden Open until 8 p.m. (Last entry 7:30 p.m.)
SUMMER EVENINGS in the GARDEN
Tours & Talks, 6 p.m.
June 5 – Special Opening Celebration. Free admission, guided house tour
June 12 & July 17 – How Our 19th Century Garden Grows
June 19 & July 10 – Summers in Rumson: The Tredwells’ Country Home
June 26 & July 24 – Eating and Drinking in 19th Century NYC
July 3 – Guided House Tour & Patriotic 4th of July Toast
July 31 – Unsolved Murders of the 19th Century
Light Refreshments. Rain or Shine.
Admission $10, $5 Students & Seniors, FREE for Members.

Tuesday, July 22, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The Merchant’s House Museum and Historic Royal Palaces, Inc. invite you to a ‘Tea Tasting in the Garden’
Join us for an evening of tea and sweets in the House’s secret 19th century garden. Emeric Harney, General Manager at Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders will introduce guests to Harney’s Historic Royal Palaces Tea Blends. $20. Space limited.

Sunday, June 15, Tour 2 p.m.
Father’s Day Tribute to Seabury Tredwell
Join us for our special “Life with a 19th Century Father” tour of the Merchant’s House.
Included with regular admission; fathers visit FREE, with accompanying child of any age.

Friday, June 13, 7 p.m.
19th Century Lifeways Concert
A Midsummer Serenade — Music to Greet the Solstice
“Midsummer,” like the title of Shakespeare’s play, refers to the Summer Solstice, a festival of ancient pagan rituals. Come hear songs of nature and sprites in both familiar and undeservedly forgotten period music sung by members of the Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society, soprano Jane Rady, tenors Anthony Bellov and Dayle Vander Sande, with pianist Jai Jeffryes. Delight in this musical interlude in the Museum’s landmark Greek revival double parlors, the City’s only intact authentic 19th century residential interior. Music by Rossini, Brahms, Debussy, and more, with a special tribute to Stephen Foster in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of his death. $25, $15 for Members, Seniors, and Students. Reservations required.

Saturday, June 7, 3:30 p.m.
Special Interactive Tour for Families
A Child’s View of Life in 19th Century New York
29 East Fourth Street was home not only to the eight Tredwell children, but also to two young granddaughters. Come tour the house and learn what life was like for children (and adults) in the 1850s, from schoolwork and chores to games and play. Could you carry a bucket of coal up steep stairs? Do you have a calling card? A top hat? What, no hoop skirt? How did you take a bath? And penmanship really, really mattered.
Best for children 8 to 12 years old.
$15, one adult, one child. $20, one adult, two children (max.). 

Every Thursday in June and July/Museum & Garden Open until 8 p.m. (Last entry 7:30 p.m.)
SUMMER EVENINGS in the GARDEN
Tours & Talks, 6 p.m.
June 5 – Special Opening Celebration. Free Admission. Guided House Tour.

Wednesday, June 4, 6:30 p.m.
19th Century Lifeways Lecture – POSTPONED
Gentrification, 19th Century Style – Transforming the Farms of Greenwich Village
When the Merchant’s House was built, in 1832, its neighborhood was in rapid development as farmland and pasture gave way to the march of the grid and the emergence of fashionable urban enclaves, the city’s first suburbs. Explore the alteration of Greenwich Village’s landscape through the fascinating saga of the Brevoort family farm located just north of the Tredwells’ home. Join Susan De Vries, Director of the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, as she relates the intriguing tales of early 19th century protests against development, rural menageries, fabulous mansions, and extravagant balls.
$15, Members FREE. Reservations required.

May 1 through May 30
Lower East Side (LES) History Month
The Merchant’s House is pleased to participate in the first annual celebration of the rich, diverse history of the Lower East Side, a collaboration of more than 50 LES-based cultural and community groups. Public events, exhibits, tours, and learning opportunities will take place at multiple sites within in the historical definition of the LES—East Village, Chinatown, Little Italy, and Alphabet City.
Opening Picnic, Saturday, May 4, 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Performances and activities for all ages. Pier 42, East River Bikeway
Info & full calendar: www.leshistorymonth.org. #leshistorymonth

Wednesday, May 21, 6:30 p.m.
Lecture & Tasting
America’s Romance with Chocolate: A Sweet Social History

Join us for a delectable evening of talk and tasting as we celebrate our country’s long love affair with chocolate. Culinary historian Cathy Kaufman will present an illustrated lecture followed by a tasting in our period kitchen of handmade chocolate truffles by chef Wai Hon Chu, paired with wine.
At the start of the 19th century, ladies ceremonially drank a breakfast chocolate — touted as a health food — from exquisite porcelain cups. But by mid-century, advances in manufacturing had turned this liquid delight into the chocolate bars that we know today, a portable confection and a luscious treat. This illustrated lecture will trace chocolate’s changing role and form in the social history of 19th century New York.
$40, $75 per couple, to benefit the Historic Furnishings Plan restoration. Reservations required.

Sunday, May 11, 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). Reservations not required.

Tuesday, May 6, 6:30 p.m.
19th Century Lifeways Lecture
The Brides of the Merchant’s House: What They Tell Us about Fashion and Social Custom
June Burns Bové will discuss the two 19th century wedding dresses in the Merchant’s House Museum’s collection in the context of their times. Some wedding customs still linger; some have been discarded; and new interpretations have transformed old meanings. Learn how fashion and social mores influence our opinion of that special day.
$15, Members FREE. Reservations required; click here for tickets.

June Burns Bové is Adjunct Professor, School of Graduate Studies, Fashion Institute of Technology; Textile Conservator, Yeshiva University Museum; and former consultant to The Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tuesday, April 29, 6:30 p.m.
19th Century Lifeways Lecture
The Care and Feeding of Antique Furniture: Tips from an Expert

Misinformation, coupled with downright fear, runs rampant on the subject of caring for antique furniture. Furniture restoration expert Roderick P. Thompson, President, Santo Spirito Restorations, returns for a presentation on the ‘do’s and dont’s’ of proper furniture maintenance. Mr. Thompson covers the nuts and bolts in depth, plus some hints and tips, including the many materials and applications for upkeep and restoration — and how/where/when to use them: glues (hide, epoxy, Gorilla, PVA, etc.); finishes (wax, shellac, varnish and other resins, lacquers, plastics and acrylics, etc.); solvents (alcohol, mineral spirits, acetone, etc.). Mr. Thompson will also address your specific questions during this informative hour-long lecture.

Through Monday, April 14
Exhibition
Out of Their Boxes: The Tredwell 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. Currently on display in Eliza Tredwell’s bedroom: a two-piece pink-and-white striped cotton dress, 1862-1865, made of printed fabric replicating an ikat pattern. The invention of synthetic aniline dyes in 1856 made possible the pink color of the fabric. Included with regular admission.

Friday, April 18, 6:30 p.m.
Candlelight Ghost Tour
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.
50 minutes. $20, $10 Members. 

Saturday, April 5, 6:30 p.m.
Cooking Demonstration & Tasting in the Period Kitchen
At the Tredwells’ Table: Cooking Upstairs, and Downstairs, in the 19th Century

Join us for a ‘taste back in time’ as we discuss foods the Tredwell family and their Irish servants would have eaten in the mid-19th century. Merchant’s House Museum tour guide and professionally trained chef Carl Raymond will demonstrate the cooking of several classic dishes taken from the country’s first cookbooks, with essential cooking hints and tips for 21st century kitchens. The audience will be able to taste each dish with a glass of wine and will receive recipes to take home.
Space is limited. $40, $25 Members

Sundays, March 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, 1 p.m.
19th Century Lifeways Program
In the Footsteps of Bridget Murphy: A Walking Tour 
In this 45-minute walking tour of the neighborhood surrounding the Merchant’s House, we’ll explore the world of the Irish immigrants who worked as domestic servants for the Tredwells and other wealthy families of the Bond Street area. What did they do on their day off? Where did they shop? Go to church? How did they find employment when they first arrived? We’ll explore all of these questions and see sites associated with a servant’s life outside the walls of her employer’s home.

Friday, March 21, 6:30 p.m.
“Spirits of the Irish” Candlelight Ghost Tour   SOLD OUT!
Doors slam, floorboards creak, voices call into the night. For more than seven decades, mystifying and mysterious tales have surrounded the Merchant’s House, leading The New York Times to call it “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House.”  On this candle-lit tour, venture into the shadows of history to see the house where eight people died, and hear true tales of inexplicable occurrences from those who actually experienced them. Many of the most peculiar occurrences have been related to the Tredwells’ Irish servants, and so this special tour will include the 4th floor Servants’ Quarters.
50 minutes. $25, $15 Members.

Sunday, March 16, Tours at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: 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.

Saturday, February 22, 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Special Interactive Tours for Families: A Child’s View of Life in 19th Century New York
29 East Fourth Street was home not only to the eight Tredwell children, but also to two young granddaughters. Come tour the house and learn what life was like for children (and adults) in the 1850s, from schoolwork and chores to games and play. Could you carry a bucket of coal up steep stairs? Do you have a calling card? A top hat? What, no hoop skirt? How did you take a bath? And penmanship really, really mattered. $15, one adult, one child. $20, one adult, two children (max.).  Best for 8 to 12 year olds.

Friday, February 21, 6:30 p.m. – SOLD OUT
Dark Days of Winter Candlelight Ghost Tour
Doors slam, floorboards creak, voices call into the dead of 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”) by flickering candlelight and hear true tales of inexplicable occurrences from the people who actually experienced them. 50 minutes. $20, $10 MHM Members. Reservations required.

Friday, February 14, 7 p.m. SOLD OUT
19th Century Lifeways
Love in the Parlors: A Valentine in Concert
The Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society presents lush, romantic vocal music of the world’s greatest 19th-century composers performed in the Museum’s Greek Revival parlors . Singers Anthony Bellov, Jane Elizabeth Rady, and Dayle Vander Sande perform rarely heard gems by Rossini, Schumann, Liszt, Delibes, Rachmaninoff, Stephen Foster, and more. Chosen by NBC Online as a top pick in 2010 and a top pick by TimeOut NY in 2012 for Valentine’s Day.  75 minutes. $30, $20 Students & Seniors, $15 MHM Members. Reservations required.

Saturday, February 15, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. POSTPONED
Children’s Program – Crochet Class for Girls and Boys 
In the 19th century, needlework of all kinds — including crochet, knitting, and embroidery — was an essential part of the education of young girls. In this 21st century class, your child — girl or boy — will learn the basics of crochet in the Museum’s Greek Revival double parlor, just as the Tredwell daughters would have done. Limited to 10; Girls and Boys ages 8-12 only. Crochet hooks, yarn, and patterns will be provided. $20 per child.

Through Monday, January 27
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. On display in Eliza Tredwell’s bedroom: a purple and white striped silk taffeta and cotton dress, 1840-1850, and a hand-embroidered silk apron, 1890. Included with regular admission.

Tuesday, February 4, 6:30 p.m. POSTPONED
Lecture & Tasting
America’s Romance with Chocolate: A Sweet Social History
Join us for a delectable evening of talk and tasting as we celebrate our country’s long love affair with chocolate. Culinary historian Cathy Kaufman will present an illustrated lecture followed by a tasting in our period kitchen of handmade chocolate truffles by chef Wai Hon Chu, paired with wine.

At the start of the 19th century, ladies ceremonially drank a breakfast chocolate — touted as a health food — from exquisite porcelain cups. But by mid-century, advances in manufacturing had turned this liquid delight into the chocolate bars that we know today, a portable confection and a luscious treat. This illustrated lecture will trace chocolate’s changing role and form in the social history of 19th century New York. $40, $75 per couple, to benefit the Historic Furnishings Plan restoration. Reservations required.

Thursday, January 9 to Monday, March 31
Winter Warmth: How the Tredwells Bundled Up
Rarely seen objects from the original Tredwell collections are on display, including a foot stove, quilts, a muff,  hand-knit ‘joint warmers,’ and a crocheted capelette, all items the family used to (try to) keep warm during the cold winter months.  In the 19th century, there was no escaping the cold. Even with brisk fires burning, water froze in wash bowls, ink froze in wells, and wine in their bottles.  People did what little they could to keep the cold at bay, but interior temperatures in the 19th century were well below today’s standard 68 degrees. Included with regular admission.

Tuesday, January 14, 6:30 p.m.
19th Century Lifeways Lecture
Books & Buildings 1450-1850: Architectural Influences in England & America
Noted architect Curtis Estes explores how four centuries of architectural treatises and pattern books from Palladio’s Four Books of Architecture (1570) to Minard Lafever’s The Modern Builder’s Guide (1833) influenced many significant structures both public and private in England and America, constructed by formally trained architects as well as dilettantes. $15, MHM Members Free. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Wednesday, January 1, 2 to 5 p.m.
‘Come Calling’ on New Year’s Day
Paying calls on friends and family on New Year’s Day was one of Old New York’s most cherished customs. Join us for tours of the house, 19th century readings about New Year’s Day celebrations, and punch and confectionery, as we continue the 19th century tradition of renewing, reviving, and reaffirming friendships. Holiday Raffle drawing at 4:30 p.m.
“New York seemed to enjoy a general carnival. Broadway, from one end to the other, was alive with private carriages, omnibuses, cabs, and curricles, and lines of pedestrians fringed the carriageways.” From the Diary of Philip Hone, 1844.
$20, $10 Members.