Merchant's House Museum

Merchant's House Museum Life at Home in Mid-19th Century New York City
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www.merchantshouse.org Built in 1832, the Merchant's House Museum is New York City's only 19th century home preserved intact, with original family furnishings and personal belongings. A unique survivor of Old New York, the House offers a rare and intimate glimpse of how a prosperous merchant family and their four Irish servants lived from 1835 to 1865, when New York grew from seaport to thriving metropolis. "The distinction of the Merchant's House -- and it is a powerful one -- is that it is the real thing. One simply walks through the beautiful doorway into another time and place in New York." The New York Times

Good morning, dear ones! My friend @annelaineterese informs me that today is “Hump Day.” As today is Wednesday, I assume...
04/01/2020

Good morning, dear ones! My friend @annelaineterese informs me that today is “Hump Day.” As today is Wednesday, I assume it means that we are at the midpoint of the week, and must climb over a proverbial hill to get through. And this certainly has been a difficult week for us. As music is known to lift the spirits and ease the mind, may I direct your attention to our fine pianoforte, which has graced our front parlor for the past ten years? Mr. Tredwell purchased this rosewood instrument from Nunns & Fischer, located on the Greenwich Avenue and Dey Street (not far from our former home). Notice it’s lovely pie crust molding. Music was an essential part of our parlor entertainments over the years; many a guest would offer an impromptu serenade whilst accompanied by one of our daughters at the pianoforte. My girls acquired this feminine art as part of their “finishing,” at Mrs. Okill’s School, located on the Clinton (now Eighth) Street. Pianoforte lessons were not inexpensive, but Mr. Tredwell never hesitated to ensure that his daughters entered society in possession of all the fashionable accomplishments. Did you notice the decorated paper mache face screens resting on the pianoforte? We use these portable shields when we sit by the fire; they serve to shield the face from the direct heat of the fireplace. Women must have pale skin; it is a mark of gentility, my dears! And what tune do you enjoy hearing at sociables? I am partial to the enchanting “I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls, an aria from the 1843 opera The Bohemian Girl. #pianoforte #merchantshousemuseum #nineteenthcenturylife ##museumsfromhome #tredwellfamily #iamelizatredwell #finishingschool #antebellumnyc #femininearts #musicinstruction #parlorsongs #nychistory #thebohemiangirl #idreamtidweltinmarblehalls

Today in social distancing, and time travel (it’s 1857), the Tredwell daughters are heading down Broadway to E.V. Haughw...
03/31/2020

Today in social distancing, and time travel (it’s 1857), the Tredwell daughters are heading down Broadway to E.V. Haughwot’s fashionable home-goods emporium, a cast-iron beauty that had just opened at Broome Street.

Its five floors are filled filled with imported cut glass and silverware as well as it’s own hand-painted china and fine crystal chandeliers. But perhaps the girls simply want to ride the world’s first passenger elevator, designed by Elisha Otis himself. Cast iron? Elevator? What next, buildings that scrape the sky??

How are you finding yourselves this morning, my dears? It is Mrs. Tredwell; I sincerely hope you are well and safe. Do j...
03/30/2020

How are you finding yourselves this morning, my dears? It is Mrs. Tredwell; I sincerely hope you are well and safe. Do join me as I continue my tour of our front parlor. Please look down and admire the exquisite burst of color and design that is our new French carpet. Kindly note the delicate classical pattern, copied from the frescos found in the ancient city of Herculaneum, which like its neighbor Pompeii, was destroyed in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Mr. Tredwell purchased this fine carpet from R.N. Tinson, located on 359 Broadway. Mr. Tinson, a highly reputable merchant, has been importing French carpets for 20 years. I consider this carpet to be the centerpiece of our recent home redecoration; I do admire the way its vivid colors brighten both parlors. This is of course a reproduction of the original; with our large family and frequent sociables it withstood much wear over the years. My friend @annelaineterese tells me that the reproduction was laid in 1979 at the conclusion of my home’s major restoration. I was indeed relieved to hear that it was laid in the same manner as the original: in 27 inch strips that were then sewn together on the floor. Did you know that the Metropolitan Museum of Art reproduced our carpet for one of their period rooms? Surely a testament to our impeccable taste, my dears! #merchantshousemuseum #frenchcarpet #classicaldesign #museumsfromhome #virtualtour #virtualmerchantshouse #iamelizatredwell #tredwellfamily #seaburytredwell #greekrevival #redecoration #nineteenthceturystyle #neoclassicalstyle

Introducing ... exhibitions “At Home”First up, our blockbuster pre-social distancing ‘Sylvia: A 19th century Life Unveil...
03/29/2020

Introducing ... exhibitions “At Home”
First up, our blockbuster pre-social distancing ‘Sylvia: A 19th century Life Unveiled.) Link in profile.

Pictured: Leather jacket screen-printed with Sylvia’s image, by visual artist Stacy Renee Morrison. #the19thcenturyisstillcool

How are you all this morning, my dears? It is Mrs. Tredwell, ready to cheer you with further glimpses of my lovely home....
03/27/2020

How are you all this morning, my dears? It is Mrs. Tredwell, ready to cheer you with further glimpses of my lovely home. I am so pleased that you have arrived just as we completed our home redecoration, the highlight (pardon the pun) of which is the matching pair of stunning bronze gas chandeliers (or gasoliers) that grace both parlors. Gas lines were laid gradually on Fourth Street (our neighbors the Skidmores had gas in 1845), and thankfully this year (1855) we were able to subscribe. Our monthly bill is high ($5.75), but the expense is certainly worth the bright, shimmering light it provides. The counterweights allow us to raise and lower the fixture as needed for closer illumination. And please admire the etched globes! My friend @annelaineterese tells me that the gasoliers are now fitted with “fiber optics” to approximate the color and brightness of a gas flame. I’m also told that they are believed to be among the oldest domestic gas fixtures in situ in our country. When next you are here for a sociable, my dears, you will see how your taffeta gowns take on jewel-like tones, thanks to this new illumination! #merchantshouse museum #gasoliers #nineteenthcenturylighting #lighting #gaslight #greekrevivalparlor #gaschandelier #tredwellfamily #iamelizatredwell #museumfromhome

Good morning, my dears! It is Mrs. Tredwell, continuing the tour of our lovely Greed Revival front parlor. The drearines...
03/25/2020

Good morning, my dears! It is Mrs. Tredwell, continuing the tour of our lovely Greed Revival front parlor. The dreariness of the day reminds me of the importance of sufficient lighting in a room. My friend @annelaineterese informs me that you now have “electricity” to light a room. You are so fortunate, my dears! When we first moved here in 1835, candles were our primary source of light. Then, when we learned about the use of whale oil lamps, Mr. Tredwell purchased the elegant Argand lamps that grace our mantle. Patented in 1780 by Monsieur Argand of Paris, these fluid-burning lamps provide six to ten times the power of candlelight! Quite an improvement. Please note the ornately etched glass shades that surrounds the burner, as well as the delicate prisms. All designed to reflect light into the dark interior parlor. Of course, the Argand was quite expensive, but Mr. Tredwell never hesitated to purchase the best for his family. They also smoked terribly, which made the air hazy, and the whale oil emitted an unfortunate odor. All that glass makes Argand lamps ver fragile; I always instruct my parlor maid to take extra care when cleaning them. Of course, with the candles and oil lamps, there is an ever-present danger of fire. We must always be vigilant. I do love the ambience the lamps create in our parlor. Don’t you agree? #merchantshousemuseum #argandlamps #nineteenthcenturylighting #oillamps #virtualtour #museumfromhome #virtualmerchantshouse #tredwellfamily #lighting #victorianlighting #greekrevivalstyle #greekrevivalparlor #iamelizatredwell #elizatredwell

#hellohellebores!Our 19th century garden is just waking up to spring. Let these hellebores lift your spirits while we wa...
03/24/2020

#hellohellebores!
Our 19th century garden is just waking up to spring. Let these hellebores lift your spirits while we wait.

From the Who Knew Dept. ‘Helle-‘ comes from the Greek ‘herein,’ to injure; ‘-bore’ from the Greek word for food. Point being: don’t eat hellebores. Yes, they look good enough to eat, but all parts are toxic if ingested.

Ps. Mrs. Tredwell will continue her tour of her home tomorrow.

Good morning, my dears! Our majestic front parlor contains all the elements of the classic Greek Revival style of archit...
03/23/2020

Good morning, my dears! Our majestic front parlor contains all the elements of the classic Greek Revival style of architecture, which was the height of fashion in 1832, when our home was built. Characteristics of Greek Revival style include balance and symmetry, in emulation of classic Greek temples; and elaborate decorative cornices, friezes, and moldings. Please look up at our ornate plaster ceiling medallion, with its acanthus leaf pattern and recessed center. Doesn’t the swirling design create a sense of movement? And note the egg and dart and lamb’s tongue moldings. The massive fluted ionic columns are are replicated in the fireplace surrounds. Our builder Mr. Brewster, informed us that all of the decorative elements were made by pouring plaster into wooden molds, then removed when dried, and installed. So very fragile! And all very grand, as befitting the home of a wealthy merchant, my dears! #merchantshousemuseum #greekrevivalarchitecture #tredwellfamily #seaburytredwell #iamelizatredwell #museumsathome #virtualtour #ioniccolumns #lambstongue #egganddart

Good morning, my dears. My friend @annelaineterese tells me that the “pandemic” continues to cause suffering around the ...
03/22/2020

Good morning, my dears. My friend @annelaineterese tells me that the “pandemic” continues to cause suffering around the world, especially in our beloved New York City. The City was plagued with a wave of yellow fever epidemics from 1795 through 1803, and took the life of Mr. Tredwell’s first cousin. Dr. James Tredwell died on October 1st, 1798, at age 30, while ministering to the victims of the epidemic. He lived and worked in Fly-Market, near Maiden Lane, a poor, crowded area, and for many years home of the oldest open food markets. The Board of Health, created in 1793 in reaction to the epidemic in Philadelphia, did nothing to halt the spread of the disease except quarantine ships. I suspect that my husband, a youth of 18 in 1798, may have delayed his arrival in the City from his farm in Long Island due to the epidemic. But he did arrive eventually, and made quite a life for himself. We must all have patience and fortitude during these trying times, my dears, and thank the physicians, nurses, and other workers who continue to battle this scourge. #merchantshousemuseum #tredwellfamily #epidemics #yellowfeverepidemic1798 #publichealth #stayhome #historyathome #nychistory #nyhistory #historyofmedicine

Good morning, my dears! A sharp-eyed reader @althealogliaseyecandy , commented on the odd cropping of the fanlight in th...
03/21/2020

Good morning, my dears! A sharp-eyed reader @althealogliaseyecandy , commented on the odd cropping of the fanlight in the vestibule. I always refer matters such as this to Mr. Tredwell (who, according to @annelaineterese , is the alter ego of Anthony Bellov, MHM board member and an expert on the architecture of my home). He explained that the vestibule hallway dividing wall was adjusted inside to make the front parlor as large as possible. This does not interfere with the appearance of the fanlight outside, keeping it in proportion with the grand scale of the exterior doorway. If the wall had been extended from the full doorway frame, over one foot of parlor space would have been lost. Thank Heavens for this modification! I have a large family, my dears! I do hope your question has been answered. I do love to talk about my home and family, and therefore encourage you all to ask questions as we explore my beloved home. #merchantshousemuseum #museumathome #virtualtour #tredwellfamily #iamelizatredwell #seaburytredwell #architecture #fanlight #nineteenthcenturyarchitecture #greekrevivalstyle #vestibule #fauxmarbre

My dears, as you enter our front parlor, kindly leave your calling card with my parlor maid so that, as custom dictates,...
03/20/2020

My dears, as you enter our front parlor, kindly leave your calling card with my parlor maid so that, as custom dictates, I may return your social call within one week. We must do all we can to retain the exclusivity of our circle! The Greek Revival front parlor is where I receive; this room has also been the scene of many memorable family events over the years: weddings, funerals, and sociables (my friend @annelaineterese tells me they are now called “parties”). So many memories! When I receive callers, our thick Honduran mahogany pocket doors, which separate the front and rear parlors, remain closed, which makes the room much more intimate, and discourages eavesdropping by the servants. One cannot fail to be impressed by the grandeur of this room, with its soaring 13 foot ceilings, elaborate architectural detail, and bright colors. Don’t you agree? #merchantshousemuseum #greekrevivalarchitecture #nychistory #iamelizatredwell #tredwellfamily #mahoganypocketdoors #architecture #museumfromhome #virtualtour #virtualmerchantshouse

On this beautiful morning in 1855, I am delighted to welcome you to my home on Fourth Street, my dears! Before you enter...
03/18/2020

On this beautiful morning in 1855, I am delighted to welcome you to my home on Fourth Street, my dears! Before you enter, kindly wipe your boots on the built-in scraper in the fence. Our marble steps, (quite a step up for the daughter of a boarding house owner), flanked by magnificent wrought iron baskets, will lead you to a lovely door and fan light. Note the late-Federal facade. And now you enter our vestibule (@annelaineterese calls it the “jewel box”), with its original plaster walls, painted with a turkey feather to resemble Siena marble. This is called “faux marbre,” and was quite the rage in 1832, when the house was built. And now look up, and see the plaster acanthus leaf ceiling medallion. And who can resist these little side lights, with their own charming narrow shutters? All designed to let as much light in as possible, and all together evidence that you are entering the home of a wealthy, sophisticated family! #merchantshousemuseum #nychistory #virtualtour #virtualmerchantshouse #iamelizatredwell #nyhistory #nineteenthcenturyarchitecture #fauxmarbre #fanlight

Good afternoon, my dears. @annelaineterese tells me that everyone is practicing “social distancing.” Mr. Tredwell was se...
03/16/2020

Good afternoon, my dears. @annelaineterese tells me that everyone is practicing “social distancing.” Mr. Tredwell was seeking to do the same when he searched for a new home in the elegant Bond Street neighborhood in 1835. He wanted to remove his family from the increasing crowds, businesses, and filth of the lower Broadway near our Dey Street home. Here is the advertisement he spied, which led us to our new home on Fourth Street. The rest, as has oft been repeated, is history. Do join me as we cross the threshold into the mid-nineteenth century. #merchantshousemuseum #nychistory #tredwellfamily #greekrevivalarchitecture #socialdistancing #newyorkhistory #antebellumnewyork #virtualtour

Good afternoon, my dears. @annelaineterese tells me that everyone is practicing “social distancing.” Mr. Tredwell was se...
03/16/2020

Good afternoon, my dears. @annelaineterese tells me that everyone is practicing “social distancing.” Mr. Tredwell was seeking to do the same when he searched for a new home in the elegant Bond Street neighborhood in 1835. He wanted to remove his family from the increasing crowds, businesses, and filth of the lower Broadway near our Dey Street home. Here is the advertisement he spied, which led us to our new home on Fourth Street. The rest, as has oft been repeated, is history. Do join me as we cross the threshold into the mid-nineteenth century. #merchantshousemuseum #nychistory #tredwellfamily #greekrevivalarchitecture #socialdistancing #newyorkhistory #antebellumnewyork #virtualtour

Good afternoon, my dears! Although we must, in the interest of health, cease our usual social calls for the time being, ...
03/13/2020

Good afternoon, my dears! Although we must, in the interest of health, cease our usual social calls for the time being, my friend @annelaineterese reminded me that I can still welcome you by “posting” photographs of my lovely home on Fourth Street. Join me on Monday as we commence our “visit.” In the meantime, do try to remain calm. In my long life, I have witnessed many epidemics, and I can bear witness to the strength and heartiness of the citizens of our beloved city. New Yorkers are resilient! Be well, my dears, and DO wash your hands with all that clean water you are privileged to have! #elizatredwell #merchantshousemuseum #tredwellfamily #nineteenthcentury #nychistory #epidemics #virtualtour #virtualtourist #socialdistancing

03/13/2020

In response to heightened concerns relating to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and as a matter of care for our volunteers, staff, visitors, community, and city, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝘁'𝘀 𝗛𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗯𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝘂𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗰 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝘄𝗼 𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗸𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼𝗱𝗮𝘆, 𝗙𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘆, 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗰𝗵 𝟭𝟯. We join many cultural institutions across the city and country who are also closing to help limit the further spread of the coronavirus.

We hope to re-open on Monday, March 30, but we will continue to monitor the situation and re-evaluate in two weeks, based on additional information and recommendations from public officials. All tours and public programs scheduled before March 30 have been canceled; ticket buyers will be contacted asap.

Please check our website and this page for updates. During this time, we hope you'll stay in touch! We'll be posting here, and, as always, are available via email.

From all of us here at the Merchant's House, please be well!

03/12/2020

UPDATE: Tomorrow (Friday, March 13) evening's Candlelight Ghost Tours have been CANCELLED. All ticket-holders will be contacted regarding refunds.

As of this afternoon, the Museum's public hours remain the same. We will post here (and at www.merchantshouse.org) if that changes.

As a reminder, we are waiving our 48-hour cancellation policy through the end of March. If you have tickets to an event, but feel unwell, please call or email for a full refund.

Address

29 E 4th St
New York, NY
10003

Subway: 6 to Astor Place, N or R to Broadway/8th, F or B to Lafayette Bus: M5 or M6 to Broadway/4th, M102 to 4th, M1 to Brdwy/8th

General information

HOURS: Thurs-Mon, 12-5pm (closed Tuesday & Wednesday) GUIDED TOUR 2pm Thurs-Mon SELF-GUIDED TOUR booklet available RESERVATIONS not required for groups of less than 10. ADMISSION: $15 General, $10 Students & Seniors, FREE Members and Children under 12. GROUP TOURS: http://merchantshouse.org/visit PROGRAMS & SPECIAL EVENTS: http://merchantshouse.org/calendar

Opening Hours

Monday 12:00 - 17:00
Thursday 12:00 - 20:00
Friday 12:00 - 17:00
Saturday 12:00 - 17:00
Sunday 12:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(212) 777-1089

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“The real thing”

www.merchantshouse.org Built in 1832, the Merchant's House Museum is New York City's only 19th century home preserved intact, with original family furnishings and personal belongings. A unique survivor of Old New York, the House offers a rare and intimate glimpse of how a prosperous merchant family and their four Irish servants lived from 1835 to 1865, when New York grew from seaport to thriving metropolis and the commercial emporium of America. "The distinction of the Merchant's House -- and it is a powerful one -- is that it is the real thing. One simply walks through the beautiful doorway into another time and place in New York." The New York Times

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