Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt House Museum Van Cortlandt House Museum - where history lives in The Bronx!

Since 1896, Van Cortlandt House Museum has been under the stewardship of The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York through a license agreement with the City of New York. The Society is responsible for preserving and restoring the interiors, providing and caring for the collections, offering educational opportunities to school children throughout New York City, and assuring that the doors to Van Cortlandt House are open to visitors 6 days a week all year round.

SAVE THE DATE!  We will once again be presenting a History and Culture Day at the Museum.  This year's date is Saturday ...
06/24/2019

SAVE THE DATE! We will once again be presenting a History and Culture Day at the Museum. This year's date is Saturday September 21st.

17 years ago the Rolling Stones launched their North American tour by landing their blimp on the Parade Ground in Van Co...
06/21/2019

17 years ago the Rolling Stones launched their North American tour by landing their blimp on the Parade Ground in Van Cortlandt Park for a photo op. Do you remember that day? It was quite surreal! I wish they'd come back again and stay for a concert.

Still mulling over what your children will do over the summer?  Consider helping them avoid the dreaded "summer slump" w...
06/18/2019
Adventures in Time Summer HIstory Camp at Van Cortlandt House Museum.

Still mulling over what your children will do over the summer? Consider helping them avoid the dreaded "summer slump" with our entertaining and educational Adventures in Time Summer History Camp. We offer two one-week session in August held after most traditional day camp programs have ended. For more information about camp or to register, visit our website: http://www.vchm.org/adventures_in_time_summer_history_camp.html We still have space available in both weeks.

Learn more about our exciting and popular summer history camp at Van Cortlandt House Msueum.

We were delighted to find that Van Cortlandt House was featured in Russell Shorto's The New York Times article on travel...
06/17/2019
In the Hudson Valley, a Drive Back in Time

We were delighted to find that Van Cortlandt House was featured in Russell Shorto's The New York Times article on traveling back in time in the Hudson Valley. He recommends starting at Van Cortlandt House Museum! They even featured a photograph of the house.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/travel/hudson-valley-dutch-russell-shorto.html

One of the most beautiful parts of New York State was once the spine of the Dutch colony, and remnants of its history are everywhere, hiding in plain sight.

One of the prettiest #signsofspring at Van Cortlandt House is virtually impossible to photograph.  There are large drift...
04/19/2019

One of the prettiest #signsofspring at Van Cortlandt House is virtually impossible to photograph. There are large drifts of purple and white violets as well as yellow lesser celandine on the lawn. From afar the white violets almost look like snow. If you're in the neighborhood stop by to see these tiny beauties.

FYI, we will be open on Good Friday, Saturday, and Easter Sunday.
04/18/2019

FYI, we will be open on Good Friday, Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

If you have time to volunteer during the week and would love to get up close and personal with a historic house you shou...
03/25/2019

If you have time to volunteer during the week and would love to get up close and personal with a historic house you should check out the Historic House Trust's Roof-Raiser's Brigade. It's a wonderful program!

Now that Spring is finally here, it's time to consider what your kids will be doing over Spring Break in April.  Why not...
03/21/2019

Now that Spring is finally here, it's time to consider what your kids will be doing over Spring Break in April. Why not send them on an adventure at our Spring Break Mini Camp. This shorter version of our popular Adventures in Time Summer History Camp is a great way to spend a few days learning more about the history of New York during the Colonial and Revolutionary War eras. It's also a great way to "test the waters" to see if you child is interested in our full-week sessions in August.

The schedule for Spring Break Mini Camp is flexible to accommodate busy schedules. Children can attend one, two, or all three daily sessions with each day bringing new activities. Registration is limited to 15 children per day and we expect to sell out.

Follow this link http://www.vchm.org/spring-break-mini-camp.html to register!

Read more about the Blind Earl plates at Van Cortlandt House and how they were salvaged after being damaged in a fire.
03/18/2019
Up from the ashes.

Read more about the Blind Earl plates at Van Cortlandt House and how they were salvaged after being damaged in a fire.

Reclaiming the Van Cortlandt Blind Earl Plates This is the story of how 16 circa 1750 Royal Worcester Blind Earl plates were restored after a tragic fire at the home of their then owner, Miss...

Friday March 8th is observed as International Women's Day in the larger Women's History Month celebrated in the United S...
03/08/2019

Friday March 8th is observed as International Women's Day in the larger Women's History Month celebrated in the United States.

You may not know, but Van Cortlandt House Museum owes its existence to a handful of very determined women. Here's their story ....

​In 1887, after 140 years of occupancy by the Van Cortlandt family and the community of plantation workers, the property was sold to the City of New York and made a public parkland. Before the house became a museum, it saw a variety of uses including as a temporary police precinct house and as a dormitory for ranch hands responsible for taking care of a herd of buffalo.

By 1895, The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York expressed their interest in restoring the house as a museum open to the public. There was only one obstacle keeping the Colonial Dames from this important project; there was no provision in the New York State law allowing the stewardship of a publicly owned building by a private organization. Undaunted, the first Society President, Mrs. Townsend, took the Society's cause to Albany where, on May 22, 1896 in the 199th session of the New York State Legislature, Chapter 837 was approved by the governor and passed by a
3/5's majority to become law.

Chapter 837
AN ACT authorizing the board of park commissioners of the city of New York to transfer the custody of the Van Cortlandt mansion in Van Cortlandt Park to the Society of Colonial Dames of the State of New York for the establishment of a museum for historical relics accepted by the city became a law May 22 1896.
The law enacted as follows:
Section 1. The board of park commissioners of the city of New Transfer of custody of York are hereby authorized and empowered in its discretion to transfer the custody of the old Van Cortlandt mansion in Van Cortlandt park to the Society of Colonial Dames of the State of New York for such period of years and on such terms and conditions as the said board may deem advisable for the establishment in said mansion of a public museum for the collection preservation and exhibition of historical relics.
Section 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

After nearly a year of repairs and restoration, Van Cortlandt House Museum was opened to great fanfare on May 25th of 1897. The original license agreement granted custody of the house to the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York for a period of 25 years at a "peppercorn rent" of $1.00 per year. Although the Society no longer pays the city rent, they remain, to this day as dedicated to Van Cortlandt House as they were in 1896.

In 1967, Van Cortlandt House was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967. The House was declared a New York City Landmark on March 15, 1966, recognizing the historic and architectural importance of both the exterior and interior.

Van Cortlandt House and the park are always very photogenic but especially so after a snow storm.  Here are a few beauty...
03/04/2019

Van Cortlandt House and the park are always very photogenic but especially so after a snow storm. Here are a few beauty shots of the house from early this morning.

02/13/2019
Étude Minimaliste No.1

The wallpaper in the Dining Room was produced by Adelphi.

https://vimeo.com/282606527

Project: "Étude Minimaliste No.1" Promo Client: Adelphi Paper Hangings Production: Untitled Productions Director/Cinematographer: Kevin Pastor 1st…

We couldn't help but get in on this fun Twitter thread.  Angry mallard is one hundreds of Delft tiles in the museum's co...
01/10/2019

We couldn't help but get in on this fun Twitter thread. Angry mallard is one hundreds of Delft tiles in the museum's collection. We will be doing special access Delft Days tours in the coming months for a chance to see these tiny, utilitarian treasures up close.

Van Cortlandt House Museum will be open Saturday and Sunday December 29th and 30th.  We will be closed Monday December 3...
12/28/2018
Twelfth Night - The Holiday Time Forgot

Van Cortlandt House Museum will be open Saturday and Sunday December 29th and 30th. We will be closed Monday December 31st and Tuesday January 1st. We wish all our friends and followers a safe and happy New Year!

The holiday decorations will be on display through January 6th, Twelfth Night. Learn more about this forgotten holiday in the blog post from Sandy Levins for the Historic Camden County.

http://historiccamdencounty.com/ccnews93.shtml

The customs, foods and history of January 6 Twelfth Night celebrations in 18th-century America.

12/26/2018

We are open today starting at 10:00 am. Avoid the crazy post-Christmas crush at the mall with a visit to Van Cortlandt House.

Add one more gift to your Christmas list, a gift to Van Cortlandt House Museum to help us present public programs such a...
12/20/2018
Annual Appeal

Add one more gift to your Christmas list, a gift to Van Cortlandt House Museum to help us present public programs such as our History and Culture Fair, special access tours, and hand's on history presentations. Follow this link to our annual appeal letter on our website.

http://www.vchm.org/annual-appeal.html

Dear Friend, As we approach the end of 2018, many of us take time to reflect on the various experiences and adventures that have enriched our lives throughout the year. We sincerely hope that...

Van Cortlandt House Museum's cover photo
12/05/2018

Van Cortlandt House Museum's cover photo

Don't forget Friday's event where you can see the house decorated for Winter holidays and lit by candlelight. For reserv...
12/05/2018

Don't forget Friday's event where you can see the house decorated for Winter holidays and lit by candlelight. For reservations email to: [email protected] with the number of people in your party.

Welcoming today's fresh recruits. Looking for a unique field trip experience? Bring your class, home school group, or sc...
12/04/2018

Welcoming today's fresh recruits. Looking for a unique field trip experience? Bring your class, home school group, or scout troop for a visit with the Recruiting Serjeant. Even outside of a school field trip, your group will have FUN learning. Call 728-543-3344 or email our educator at [email protected] to book your visit.

All our holiday events in one convenient flyer!
11/05/2018

All our holiday events in one convenient flyer!

With the publication of a new book on archaeology in The Bronx, there's been a renewed interest in archaeological excava...
11/01/2018

With the publication of a new book on archaeology in The Bronx, there's been a renewed interest in archaeological excavations around the borough. Edited by Dr. Allan Gilbert of Fordham University, the book is available though Amazon and The Bronx County Historical Society's website.

There have been two site projects undertaken by Brooklyn College between 1990 and 1992. During two campaigns over the summer, a total of 15,723 objects were discovered. Among them are these lovely pieces of "dipped pearlware" sometimes referred to as Mocha.

These objects are not stored at Van Cortlandt House but they are a part of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission's NYC Archaeological Repository: The Nan A. Rothschild Research Center and available online.

It's a fascinating glimpse into New York City's past just waiting to be explored on a rainy afternoon.

http://archaeology.cityofnewyork.us/

10/12/2018

After yesterday's unexpected closing, we're happy to report that the museum is back open for business!

We have good news and bad news. The good news is that we are having some much anticipated important maintenance done.  T...
10/10/2018

We have good news and bad news. The good news is that we are having some much anticipated important maintenance done. The bad news is that the contractor needs to do it TOMORROW. As a result, the museum and offices will be closed Thursday, October 11th. We apologize for the inconvenience and expect to resume our normal operations on Friday the 12th.

10/09/2018

We've just discovered that our phones have been out of service since earlier this morning. We apologise for the inconvenience. We're back in communication with the world now.

09/21/2018

Thank you to the two teams of New York Cares volunteers and the staff of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park for installing new wood curbing surrounding the beds around the house. The new edging is replacing timbers installed about 30 years ago.

We were included in an article in Travel and Leisure Magazine about where to travel this fall according to your zodiac s...
09/20/2018
The Trip You Should Take This Fall, Based on Your Zodiac Sign

We were included in an article in Travel and Leisure Magazine about where to travel this fall according to your zodiac sign. While we were recommended for history-minded Cancerians, everyone is most welcome to visit, regardless of your sign.

Let the stars be your travel advisors.

Today is #askacurator day on Twitter (@askacurator) get in on the fun there or ask here.  We don't have a dedicated cura...
09/12/2018

Today is #askacurator day on Twitter (@askacurator) get in on the fun there or ask here. We don't have a dedicated curator so our director takes on most curatorial responsibilities. One of her favorite material culture sources are souvenir postcards. Here's one c. 1920 of the East Parlor. If you look carefully you'll see lots of objects that are still in the house, some that are still in the same place, and others that were deaccessioned or moved out of the collections.

Coming up in a few weeks, our first ever History & Culture Fair.  Come enjoy the day at Van Cortlandt House Museum!
09/04/2018

Coming up in a few weeks, our first ever History & Culture Fair. Come enjoy the day at Van Cortlandt House Museum!

08/31/2018

The Museum will be closed Labor Day, Monday September 3. Enjoy the unofficial last weekend of Summer!

We will be be celebrating Museum Day Live with a history and culture fair on the lawn of Van Cortlandt House Museum.  If...
08/24/2018
Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day

We will be be celebrating Museum Day Live with a history and culture fair on the lawn of Van Cortlandt House Museum. If you can't make it to The Bronx that day, consider visiting another museum for free. There are hundreds across the country to choose from.

Of course we'd prefer you come here!

On September 21, 2019, museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a FREE downloadable Museum Day ticket

08/22/2018

Played trap ball at camp on Tuesday, cricket on Wednesday.

We can't guarantee that you'll be as successful but we do guarantee you'll have fun when you borrow our big dice to play...
08/14/2018

We can't guarantee that you'll be as successful but we do guarantee you'll have fun when you borrow our big dice to play Farkle on the lawn. Elias is celebrating a big score! #vchmhistorycamp2018

Day one of the first week of camp is in the books. We had a great day with the kids, half who were repeats and half newb...
08/13/2018

Day one of the first week of camp is in the books. We had a great day with the kids, half who were repeats and half newbies. They spent the day learning about how the house was used and then played indoor Colonial games after lunch. It's looking like rain again tomorrow but there's plenty to keep everyone busy.

If you've visited the museum or walked by the house lately, you've no doubt seen a lot of work being done. Improvements ...
07/26/2018

If you've visited the museum or walked by the house lately, you've no doubt seen a lot of work being done.

Improvements to the boxwood walk and Herb Garden have been undertaken by The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York. We have also had High School Interns from from the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park working on clearing out invasive plants and pruning overgrown shrubs.

All the pruning and clean up has amassed a huge pile of brush. This morning, we're delighted that the rain held off long enough to allow the Van Cortlandt Park Landscape and Natural Areas Crew to bring in a chipper to turn that pile into mulch.

It's beautiful day in The Bronx.  All sorts of flora and fauna are enjoying the great outdoors today.  A particularly lo...
07/19/2018

It's beautiful day in The Bronx. All sorts of flora and fauna are enjoying the great outdoors today. A particularly lovely guest is this Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterfly that's been flitting around the purple coneflower in our Welcome Garden.

Not unlike the American Colonists, British citizens in England were also conflicted during the American War for Independ...
07/16/2018
American Declaration of Independence parchment found in Sussex is authentic

Not unlike the American Colonists, British citizens in England were also conflicted during the American War for Independence. This article about a rare printed copy of the Declaration of Independence recently found and authenticated in Chichester England shows how loyalties were not always so cut and dried.

In the Colonies, politics divided families and neighbors causing families to be uprooted and rifts that were never mended.

https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/american-declaration-of-independence-parchment-found-in-sussex-is-authentic-1-8552371

A copy of the American Declaration of Independence found in Chichester has been verified as one of only two ceremonial parchment copies in the world.

Are you looking to enjoy the day at Van Cortlandt House Museum and plan on bringing more than is practical to schlep on ...
07/09/2018
Uber Offers Discounted Rides To NYC Parks

Are you looking to enjoy the day at Van Cortlandt House Museum and plan on bringing more than is practical to schlep on the subway or a bus? Consider this special offer from Uber for discounted rides to some of NYC's most special parks. Of course we're partial to Van Cortlandt Park!

https://patch.com/new-york/new-york-city/uber-offering-discounted-rides-nyc-parks

The ride-hailing service is giving riders $10 off trips to nine outer-borough parks for the summer.

We all know that George Washington was famous for wearing  false "wooden" teeth but have you ever wondered about his hai...
07/04/2018
George Washington’s Oh-So-Mysterious Hair

We all know that George Washington was famous for wearing false "wooden" teeth but have you ever wondered about his hair and if he wore a wig? This fascinating article from National Geographic gives some insight into Washington's hair and whether or not, like his teeth, it was actually his.

If you're so inclined, there are even instructions on how to dress your hair 18th century style.

That hair you’ve seen so many times on the dollar bill? That hair he’s got crossing the Delaware, standing by a cannon, riding a horse in those paintings? His hair on the quarter? On all those stat…

Address

Van Cortlandt Park At West 246th Street
Bronx, NY
10471-4198

#1 subway to 242nd St./Van Cortlandt Park, #9 Bronx bus to 246th St. stop

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 11:00 - 16:00
Sunday 11:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(718) 543-3344

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