2022 Past Programs

JANUARY

Special Holiday Exhibition
Open through Sunday, January 9, 2022

Home for the Holidays: A 19th Century Christmas
Step back in time to the 1850s and join the Tredwell family for the holidays. Their elegant parlors are decorated with swags of evergreens, brilliant holly berries, white mistletoe, and red-leafed poinsettias – and a table top tree festooned with ribbons and candles.

Celebrate the season and discover how many of our modern holiday traditions, from table-top Christmas trees, to presents and stockings, Christmas carols and songs (and Santa Claus, too) originated in mid-19th century New York.

Through Friday, January 7
Virtual New Year’s Day 2022 Celebration!
Paying social calls on friends and family on the first day of the new year was one of Old New York’s most cherished customs. Join us – virtually – for good cheer to toast the New Year and learn how New Yorkers like the Tredwells celebrated the day.

In this immersive video experience, we’ll go back in time to the mid-19th century to meet the Tredwells and hear how they’ve been decking the house for New Year’s Day and preparing their lists of social calls. Join us as we continue the 19th century tradition of renewing, reviving, and reaffirming friendships that last the whole year through. 30 minutes. FREE (suggested donation $10).

Wednesday, January 19, 1 p.m.
Old New York’s Best Preserved 1800s Home with Museum Historian Ann Haddad
A Virtual House Tour

Presented by New York Adventure Club
Join Museum Historian Ann Haddad to step back in time to 1835 to explore Old New York through the eyes of the Tredwell family and their four Irish servants. This virtual journey will include highlights of New York City life in 1835 (including its best and worst characteristics) and a look at the house from the ground to top floor, including its architectural details, how the rooms were used, social customs of the period, and original possessions belonging to the Tredwell family. $10. Please contact New York Adventure Club with questions about ticketing or access.

Friday, January 21, 6:30 p.m. CANCELED
Candlelight Ghost Tour of “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House” (The New York Times)
In Person!

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. Masks and proof of vaccination are required.

Wednesday, January 26, 7 p.m.
An Interior Designer’s Perspective: Life, Customs, and Style in Mid-19th Century New York
A Virtual House Tour via Zoom
The miracle of the Merchant’s House is that it remains intact with the family’s original 19th century furniture, decorative arts, artwork, curtains and other textiles, encapsulating a moment in time. In this immersive video experience, you’ll follow interior designer and MHM volunteer docent Dennis McAvena through a unique portal of New York City’s design history. You’ll tour all five floors of this landmark late-Federal and Greek Revival rowhouse, exploring how the design of the period rooms, from the elegant to the utilitarian, reflected the family’s values and taste, and informed their use. A Q&A with host Dennis McAvena will follow the tour. $10, FREE MHM Members.

Friday, January 28, 6:30 p.m.
In the Spirit of Science: Researching the Paranormal Using the Scientific Method
A Virtual Program via Zoom
Is There an Afterlife? Maybe.
Compelling Indicators That Occur at the Time of Death

Talking about death is not a popular topic in Western cultures, to say the least. It’s considered morbid and depressing and makes people very uncomfortable. But hospice nurses, who deal with death daily, describe their job as incredibly fulfilling and positive. What do they know or see that the general public doesn’t? Join hosts Dr. Lee and Dan Sturges as they discuss exactly what happens when you die, and how it might suggest what happens after life.

In the Spirit of Science. Inexplicable occurrences have been reported at the Merchant’s House since 1933, when the last surviving family member died in the house. In March 2020, when the Museum closed due to COVID-19 and the house was empty of staff and visitors, paranormal investigator Dan Sturges and neuroscientist Dr. Lee began conducting extensive research based on the scientific method, using specialized equipment custom-built for the house.  Through unbiased observation and systematic experimentation, their research is building a better understanding of the strange and fascinating phenomena observed at the Merchant’s House. $10, FREE for MHM Members.

 

FEBRUARY

Friday, February 11, to Friday, February 18
Love in the Parlors — A (Virtual) Valentine in Concert
The MHM’s own Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society presents a gala concert of lush, romantic vocal music performed in the Museum’s elegant Greek Revival double parlor, available to watch (or rewatch) all week long. Singers Anthony Bellov, Amy Gluck, Jane Elizabeth Rady, and Dayle Vander Sande perform rarely heard gems of 19th-century vocal music. Chosen by NBC Online and TimeOut NY as a top pick for Valentine’s Day. 65 minutes. $20, $15 MHM Members.
After purchasing your ticket, you will receive a downloadable PDF with viewing instructions.

Thursday, February 17, to Sunday, May 9
On Exhibit: Silk Taffeta Dress, ca. 1858 (MHM 2002.0845)
The core of the Tredwell Costume 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 two piece green silk taffeta dress, ca.1858, trimmed with black cut silk velvet and featuring decorative cross-lacing (with silk tassels) on the sleeves and the back of the bodice. This dress is documented in the Index of American Design (IAD) at the National Gallery of Art, 1943.8.1472. 

Also on display is a theater handbill from 1860, which was discovered in the early 1960s in the pocket of the dress. The handbill was from Laura Keene’s Theatre, located at 624 Broadway, between Houston and Bleecker Street, just a few blocks from the Tredwell home. Handbills were given out on the street and a popular method for alerting locals to new theater offerings.

Friday, February 18, 6:30 & 7 p.m. 
Candlelight Ghost Tour of “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House” (The New York Times)
In Person!

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. SOLD OUT!
Masks and proof of vaccination are required.

Wednesday, February 23, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The Architecture of an 1832 Landmark: Up-Close and Personal
A Virtual Tour Via Zoom

What does the design and construction of the Merchant’s House reveal about its residents and the culture and society in which they lived? The floorplans, building materials, and architectural details all provide important clues.

Join Anthony Bellov for an extraordinary virtual tour of the home of the Tredwell family and their Irish servants. We’ll explore all five stories, from the steep front stoop (made of glistening white marble, the dominant ornamental stone in the early/mid 19th century) to the crawl-space of the attic (featuring a remnant from the house next door, long since demolished). Every architectural element, large and small, is a piece of the puzzle. Taken together, they represent the values, tastes, and lifestyle of wealthy mid-19th century New Yorkers.

After the tour, Mr. Bellov will be joined for the Q&A by Michael Devonshire, Principal and Director of Conservation, Jan Hird Pokorny Associates. Mr. Devonshire has supervised all restoration projects at the Merchant’s House since 1990. He serves on the New York State Historic Preservation Board and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

$10; Free MHM Members.
You will receive a confirmation email from Zoom within 15 minutes of placing your order, and a reminder email one hour before the program.

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

 

MARCH

Thursday, March 3, 6 p.m.
The Tredwells’ World: New York City in 1835
A Virtual Talk via Zoom

Join Museum Historian Ann Haddad and explore the Tredwells’ neighborhood and city as it was in 1835, the year that Seabury Tredwell purchased the Merchant’s House and moved in with his wife, Eliza, their seven children, and their Irish servants. From prestigious neighbors to local shops, churches, and schools, you’ll see the city as the Tredwells did as they began their residency on Fourth Street. $10; Members FREE.

Friday, March 4, 6:30 p.m.
In the Spirit of Science: Researching the Paranormal Using the Scientific Method
A Virtual Program via Zoom
March’s Topic: Belief in Ghosts, Spirits, and the Afterlife across the Globe’s Different Cultures and Religions
In the Spirit of Science is an ongoing virtual program in which paranormal investigator Dan Sturges and neuroscientist Dr. Lee discuss their ground-breaking paranormal research. Inexplicable occurrences have been reported at the Merchant’s House since 1933, when the last surviving family member died in the house. In March 2020, when the Museum closed due to COVID-19 and the house was empty of staff and visitors, Dan and Dr. Lee began conducting extensive research based on the scientific method, using specialized equipment custom-built for the house. Through unbiased observation and systematic experimentation, their research is building a better understanding of the strange and fascinating phenomena observed at the Merchant’s House. $10. FREE for Members.

Sunday, March 13 & March 27, 12:30 p.m.
Walking Tour of 19th Century NoHo: A Century of Change
In Person!
(Second & Fourth Sunday of Every Month)
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 see how the neighborhood surrounding the Tredwells’ home evolved from a refined and tranquil residential enclave into a busy commercial and cultural center during the 19th century.
Tours are one hour and begin outside the museum. Scroll down for more information.
$20. FREE for Members.

Wednesday, March 16, 6 p.m.
The Merchant’s House Museum – An Insider’s Visit
An In-Person Talk presented by the National Arts Club

Anthony Bellov, acclaimed for his in-depth knowledge of the Merchant’s House Museum and its collections, explores the Museum in a way no visitor ever experiences. He’ll open doors and drawers and explore overlooked features which tell us much about the House, the era, the residents (and their ilk) and the servants who made it all possible. This amazing survivor has much to show and tell, if only we know what to look and listen for.

The Merchant’s House Museum, recently rated in the top 3% of all sites to visit in NYC, is a unique survivor of the antebellum city – intact with the possessions of the Tredwell family, who occupied it for nearly 100 years and were determined to keep their home “exactly as Papa wanted it.” Opened to the public in 1936, it’s now threatened with almost certain catastrophic damage by a construction project pending right next door. Free; registration required.

Thursday, March 17, 12 p.m.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: A Tribute to the Tredwells’ Irish Servants
An In-Person Guided House Tour

On this unique guided tour, you’ll visit four floors of period rooms, from the ground floor kitchen to the 4th floor servants’ quarters, to experience what daily life was really like for the Irish servants who lived and worked at the Merchant’s House. This unparalleled tour tells the heroic story of the Irish women who worked in domestic service in 19th century New York, overcoming homesickness, culture shock, and prejudice to cultivate a new home and a new identity on foreign soil – and ultimately altering the face of New York City forever. $20. FREE for Members.

Thursday, March 17, 6 p.m.
In the Footsteps of Bridget Murphy
A Virtual House Tour

The 1855 New York State Census gives us the names of the Irish women who worked in the Tredwell home: Mary James, Mary Smith, and Bridget Murphy, who was just 19 years old. On St. Patrick’s Day, join us for a “back-stairs” virtual tour of the Merchant’s House to experience what daily life was really like for Bridget, and for the thousands of women like her who worked in domestic service in 19th century New York City. We’ll visit four floors of period rooms, from the ground floor kitchen to the 4th floor servants’ quarters, “arguably the oldest intact site of Irish habitation in New York City” (Time Out New York). $10. FREE for Members.

Friday, March 18, 6:30 p.m.
“Spirit of the Irish” Candlelight Ghost Tour
An In-Person 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 hear true tales of inexplicable occurrences from the people 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. 60 minutes. $40, $30 Members.

Celebrating Women’s History Month
Women Who Dared: 19th Century American Women Writers
A Series of Short Fiction Read by Ann Haddad
In celebration of Women’s History Month, revisit our series of readings of 19th century short stories written by American women authors. Compiled and read by Museum Historian Ann Haddad, these stories reveal the harsh realities of women’s lives in a male-dominated world, both inside the home and in society at large. These “women who dared” defied convention by invading the traditionally masculine domain of literature – and they were successful, albeit treated with disdain. In 1855, Nathanial Hawthorne wrote to his publisher, “America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women, and I should have no chance of success while the public is occupied with their trash.”  Despite the popularity of their work, which was published in literary annuals, gift books, and women’s magazines like Godey’s Lady’s Book, they were largely ignored by literary critics until the end of the 20th century. The series concludes with a panel discussion and Q&A with literary and feminist scholar Elaine Showalter, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University, which took place in April 2021.
View the stories on YouTube here.

 

APRIL

Sunday, April 10 & 24, 12:30 p.m.
Walking Tour –
19th Century NoHo: A Century of Change
In Person!
(Second & Fourth Sunday of Every Month)
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 see how the neighborhood surrounding the Tredwells’ home evolved from a refined and tranquil residential enclave into a busy commercial and cultural center during the 19th century.
Tours are one hour and begin outside the museum. $20, FREE for Members.

Wednesday, April 27, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Virtual Behind-the-Ropes Tour: Changing Tastes in 19th Century Furniture
With Anthony Bellov and furniture expert Carswell Rush Berlin
A Virtual Tour via Zoom
This unique virtual tour offers a close look at the Tredwell family furniture collection, examining pieces bought for this house, as well as those brought from their previous home. You’ll learn about both the tastes and values of mid-19th century New Yorkers and how growing international connections made lasting impact on design, trade, and international relations. It’s an extraordinary up-close and personal experience of the Tredwell home you won’t want to miss –– behind the ropes and no stairs to climb!
$10, MHM Members FREE.

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

Thursday, April 28, 6 p.m.
The Evolution of a Neighborhood: NoHo Book Talk with Joan Melnick
A Virtual Talk via Zoom
Co-Sponsored by Village Preservation
Joan Melnick’s The Evolution of a Neighborhood: NoHo is a visual street-by-street visual comparison of the neighborhood, from Great Jones Street to Astor Place. The book curiously follows the transformation of the neighborhood from farmland in the 1700s into the bustling urban community we know today. During our talk, Joan will share her illuminating illustrations of the neighborhood’s evolution as well as discuss her own experiences within her beloved community. Free; register for Book Talk here.

A copy of Joan’s The Evolution of a Neighborhood: NoHo can be purchased directly from the author for $65.00 by contacting her at joan_melnick@fitnyc.edu

Joan Melnick first studied Painting and Interior Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and received her MA in Art Education from New Paltz State University. After completing her studies, Joan moved to Manhattan to begin her professional career as an artist/educator. She taught art in various public-school programs during the ‘60s. She began exhibiting her portfolio in galleries in and around New York City. Joan is currently a Professor of Interior Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

 

Friday, April 29, 6:30 p.m.
In the Spirit of Science: Researching the Paranormal Using the Scientific Method
Virtual Program
April’s Topic – Poltergeists: Messy and Annoying!
Who or what the heck is throwing things, and why? Has any scientific research been done on this phenomenon? We’ll dig into the topic and answer these questions and more. With special guest Matilda Garrido, CT, a MHM volunteer who also has an MS in Thanatology (the study of death, dying, and bereavement).

“In the Spirit of Science” is an ongoing virtual program in which paranormal investigator Dan Sturges and neuroscientist Dr. Lee discuss their ground-breaking paranormal research, which began in 2020, when the Museum closed due to COVID-19. Through unbiased observation and systematic experimentation, their research is building a better understanding of the strange and fascinating phenomena observed at the Merchant’s House.

Have a question about poltergeists? You can submit your questions in advance when you purchase your ticket. $10; MHM Members Free; purchase “In the Spirit of Science” tickets here.