Description

The museum was constructed in 1799 as the carriage house for the country estate of Colonel William Stephens Smith and his wife, Abigail Adams Smith, daughter of President John Adams.

After the main house burned in 1826 the carriage house was converted into the Mount Vernon Hotel, a country resort popular with New Yorkers who wished to escape the crowded city which at that time extended only as far north as 14th Street.

In 1833 the building became the home for three generations of a New York City family. In 1905, as the area became more industrialized, the building was purchased by the Standard Gas Light Company (today's Con Edison). The Colonial Dames of America, a woman's patriotic society, purchased the building in 1924 and opened it as a museum in 1939. As one of the few remaining 18th-century buildings in New York City, it is a rare reminder of an important era in the city's history.

Programs for seniors:  Museum educators can give presentations at senior centers on 19th-century life in New York City.  Call (212) 838-6878 for information.

Families

The museum offers a variety of evening and weekend events, including lectures, gallery talks, craft demonstrations and performances of period music, drama and dance. Many programs are geared specifically for children. The museum includes a Children's Corner and objects children can handle in the "Touch Collection," found in baskets.

In July, the museum operates a summer camp for ages 9 to 12 which focuses on history and historic crafts, games and field trips.

School/Groups

Guided tours for school groups are available by appointment and are offered Monday-Friday, 10 am-12 pm. Conducted by trained educators, tours include an introduction to the museum, a hands-on workshop using objects from the museum's Handling/Study Collection and a look at the eight period rooms. The program is an excellent introduction for students at all grade levels to New York City history, as well as social history, material culture, visual arts and architecture. With ten school programs from which to choose, the length and level of tours are adjusted to each individual group (grades K to 12). Each program is tied into New York State Learning Standards.

In July, the museum operates a summer camp for ages 9 to 12 which focuses on history and historic crafts, games and field trips.