Merchant's House Museum

Occupying an elegant 19th-century residence, the Merchant's House Museum offers a glimpse into the lives of a prosperous New York family. This unique historic house museum displays thousands of antique items, ranging from furniture and lighting devices to cooking tools and books. Click to book your NYC Downtown Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour.

History

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In 1832, Joseph Brewster constructed a charming home in a part of New York City that was considered relatively tranquil. In 1835, Seabury Tredwell purchased the property upon his retirement from the hardware business. This successful merchant passed away in 1865, and his family continued to live in the home for decades to come. Affluent and well-established in the commercial and social circles of NYC, the Tredwell family had their own servants. By the mid-19th century, the family's once quiet and prestigious neighbourhood was heavily influenced by rapid industrialization and urbanization. Nevertheless, Gertrude Tredwell stubbornly decided to live the rest of her life in the elegant, but crumbling home. After her death in 1933, George Chapman eagerly bought the property to save it from destruction. Chapman was a distant cousin to the Tredwell family. After some major renovations, the Old Merchant’s House officially opened as a museum in 1936. For more than two decades, Chapman continued to provide financial support to the organization.

Architecture

It is unclear who designed the Merchant’s House. The exterior is Late-Federal style, and the interior is classic Greek Revival. At the time it was built, the row house was similar to an array of other buildings that lined the elite Bond Street area. However, the Merchant's House Museum now boasts the status of being one of the finest examples of 19th-century residential architecture in the city. The Merchant’s House is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. New York City granted it landmark status in 1965. Click to book your NYC Downtown Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour.

Collection and Highlights

The core collection at the Merchant's House Museum consists of more than 2,500 items. Most of the artifacts are authentic personal possessions that once belonged to the Tredwell family. In the furniture category, more than 100 pieces are on display in the museum that are essentially set up as period rooms. The set of 12 dining chairs were crafted by the prominent cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe. Oil lamps, chandeliers and other lighting fixtures are included in the gallery space. Visitors can also expect to see traditional textiles, including elegant dresses and suits that have been worn by members of this successful family. Books, toys, kitchen utensils and decorative objects are some other items that make up the unique collection at the Merchant's House Museum.

Visiting Merchant's House Museum

The Merchant's House Museum is nested in in the heart of historic NoHo. This historic property literally stands at the unofficial border of Greenwich Village and East Village. Washington Square Park is one of the most notable features of these two districts that have been traditionally known for their Bohemian character. You can conveniently get to the museum by taking a subway ride to the Astor Place station. This underground stop is served by the 4 and 6 lines, which run through most of Manhattan. Four additional subway lines stop at the Broadway-Lafayette Street station that's just a few blocks south of the museum. You'll also find numerous Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) buses circulating the grid layout of Lower Manhattan. Surrounded by multiple triangular plots, the busy Cooper Square doesn't have the most car-friendly layout in the borough. Therefore, it's highly recommended that drivers seek parking space in some of the residential neighbourhoods that branch off the Bowery.

Location: 29 East Fourth Street, New York, NY, 10003

Click here to visit Merchant's House Museum official website.

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