Peter Stuyvesant

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Asher B. Durand (1796–1886), Peter Stuyvesant and the Trumpeter, 1835. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, Gift of the New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.28

"Peg-legged" Peter Stuyvesant was the last director general of New Netherland. Born in the Netherlands to a minister, he joined the West India Company when he was a young man, and became the director of the Dutch West India Company’s colony in Curaçao in 1642. That’s where he lost his leg, in an attack on the Spanish-held island of Saint Martin.


At the Kids’ Table: How the Kitchen Has Changed

Sarah Lohman

RSVP required

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 14:00 to 16:00
Sat, January 12th, 2013 | 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

How The Kitchen Has Changed

Saturday, January 12th 2-4 pm
What does eighteenth-century Tupperware look like? How about a nineteenth-century toaster? In this program, you'll go on a family scavenger hunt in the New-York Historical Society to uncover the kitchens of the past. Then we'll cook together, making cinnamon toast from SCRATCH—everything from grinding the sugar to making butter by hand! You'll find out how much the kitchen has changed from 2013!

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Cornelia van Varick (1692-1733)


She was a daughter of the Margrieta van Varick, a textile merchant in seventeenth-century New Amsterdam, and grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

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Cornelia van Varick was a Dutch girl who lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn, around 1700. A great deal is known about her household and family because when her widowed mother died, executors compiled an estate inventory that still survives.


The New York History Mysteries Scavenger Hunt

Fri, 11/11/2011 - 18:30
Fri, November 11th, 2011 | 6:30 pm

Event Details

Uncover the most unusual and eccentric aspects of New York City history on this madcap adventure in the newly renovated galleries of the New-York Historical Society. You'll rummage through the Luce Center, a veritable artifact-stuffed attic with such remarkable items as Washington's Valley Forge cot, a piece of a statue pulled down in a riot after the Declaration of Independence was first read in the city, rioting bears and bulls, antique toys, the portrait of a cross-dressing governor and Aaron Burr's death mask.


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Homes of Early New York: Birth of an American Style

Barry Lewis
Thu, 01/26/2012 - 18:30
Thu, January 26th, 2012 | 6:30 pm

Event details

New York and its environs have a surprising collection of houses from the Colonial period through the era of the early Republic. Looking at houses as diverse as the Dutch and Georgian Wyckoff in Brooklyn and the Greek Revival Bartow-Pell in the Bronx, we will see both the evolution of early American home design and why these earlier eras, in their Yankee simplicity, served as template for the modernisms of our own time.

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Business and Industry Collections


From small dry goods stores, commission merchants and tradesmen to large banks and shipping firms, business records make up an enormous segment of the collections and document New York’s growth as an economic center from the 17th into the 20th century. Noteworthy collections include correspondence of New Amsterdam merchant Govert Loockermans, and mercantile records of the Beekman, Hendricks and Leverich families, as well as Quaker merchant Isaac Hicks, Ogden, Ferguson and its related partnerships, Brown Brothers Harriman, John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company, and the records of the American Institute of the City of New York for the Encouragement of Science and Invention.


Beer Here: Brewing New York's History

May 25, 2012
September 02, 2012

To consider the fascinating yet largely anonymous legacy of beer brewing in New York City, the New-York Historical Society presents Beer Here: Brewing New York’s History. This exhibit surveys the social, economic, political, and technological history of the production and consumption of beer, ale, and porter in the city from the seventeenth century to the present.

Bar tray, 1900–1930. The New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bella C. Landauer, 2002.1.3205

In the past three decades, New York City has become an important center of craft and home beer brewing. While this phenomenon began only after President Jimmy Carter signed into law an act that legalized home-brewing, the growth of New York’s present beer industry also marks the resurgence of a long-standing tradition known to few outside the world of beer aficionados. Beer has been brewed in New York City and State since the days of its earliest European settlement, when it was a vital source of nourishment and tax revenues. Brewing continued locally and statewide throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and for much of the nineteenth century New York State was home to one of the country’s largest brewing industries. Early nineteenth-century development of New York State’s hop farming industry was vital to this growth, and from the 1840s through the 1880s the state was the largest producer of hops in the United States.

Exhibit sections explore such topics as: the nutritional properties of colonial beer and early New York brewers in the age of revolution; infrastructure innovations and the importance of access to clean water; large-scale brewing in nineteenth-century New York and the influence of immigration; the influence of temperance and impact of prohibition; bottling, canning, refrigeration and other technological advances; and the state of the city’s breweries in the age of mass production. Featured artifacts and documents include: a 1779 account book from a New York City brewer who sold beer and ale to both the British and patriot sides; sections of early nineteenth-century wooden pipes from one of the city’s first water systems; a bronze medal that commemorates an 1855 New York State temperance law; beer trays from a variety of late nineteenth-century brewers; sign from the campaign to repeal prohibition; and a selection of advertisements from Piels, Rheingold and Schaefer, beloved hometown brewers. The exhibit concludes with a beer hall that features a selection of favorite New York City and State artisanal beers. The beer hall hours are:

Tuesday-Thursday and Saturdays: 2pm–6pm
Fridays: 2pm–8pm
Sundays: 2pm–5pm


Beer Here: Brewing New York's History is proudly sponsored by Crown Holdings, Inc. Additional support is provided by Brooklyn Brewery and Heartland Brewery.


News, Press Coverage and Related Media
New York Times, Upper East Side Streetscapes
New York Times, Exhibition Review
Fox New York
Los Angeles Times
Wall Street Journal

Urban Views: American Cities 1717-1986

November 11, 2011
April 22, 2012

This exhibition features large scale views of American cities. Throughout the centuries, cartographers and artists have been engaged in attempts to show the cityscape as a grandiose entity. This overall concept of the cityscape features works from the eighteenth century to the present, including maps, prints and photographs. The exhibition includes John Harris after William Burgis, A South Prospect of Ye Flourishing City of New York in the Province of New York in America (The Burgis View), 1717; Unknown artist, An Exact Prospect of CHARLESTON, the Metropolis of the Province of SOUTH CAROLINA, 1762; John Bornet, The City of New York from Union Hill, N.J., 1853; the Thomas Air Views of New York City, 1935-1980; and Claude Samton’s Photomontage of Canal Street, 1986.

John Harris (active 1685-1739) after William Burgis (active in the American colonies 1716-1731), A South Prospect of Ye Flourishing City of New York in the Province of New York in America, 1717. Engraving from four plates on four sheets. New-York Historical Society

Supported, in part, with a grant from the New York StateCouncil on the Arts, a State Agency.


Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York

Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York, highlights the histories of 100 notable examples of silver from the New-York Historical Society's collection. Made across the span of four centuries, the objects in the exhibition tell a diversity of stories: many speak to individual accomplishment and family pride, while a few have unsettling ties or backgrounds. The silver, ranging from simple spoons to extravagant trophies, culled from a trove of over 3,000 objects, includes powerful eyewitness artifacts linked to significant moments in the history of New York and the United States.

Black, Starr & Frost (active 1874-1929), Aeronautical trophy, 1907. Silver, wood. New-York Historical Society, Bequest of Alan R. Hawley, 1938.250a-c

Stories in Sterling interprets these compelling objects within a cultural context, focusing on the men and women that made, used, and treasured these objects. The exhibition is organized thematically and addresses issues of silver patronage, usage of objects, rituals of presentation and the meanings of silver as they evolved over time. The exhibition will be enriched by a judicious selection of paintings, prints, photographs, manuscripts, furniture and other documents that illuminate the silver, help bring to life the individuals who acquired it and illustrate the physical context in which it was used.

Objects in the exhibition span the sixteenth through the twentieth  centuries, with a concentration on silver of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While the majority of objects were made in New York, some were crafted as far afield as England, the Netherlands, France, as well as China, Jamaica, and Argentina. All of the silver is firmly connected through its ownership to New York, highlighting the cosmopolitan nature of the city as early as the seventeenth century. For instance, the examples of Dutch silver brought to New York by early settlers, as well as the many imports from England, help chart cultural shifts, taste, and stylistic influence in colonial America and the early years of the nation.   

A fully illustrated, landmark publication published by D. Giles, Ltd of London in October 2011 is available.


 Tour Schedule

Venue Dates
Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, Florida January 28, 2014–April 20, 2014


The Stories in Sterling exhibition and catalog are made possible with generous support from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Paul Guarner, the Walter and Lucille Rubin Foundation, Myron and Adeline Hofer, Dr. Paul Cushman, and Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

Hudson River Birds: In Celebration of the Quadricentennial of Henry Hudson’s Voyage

July 13, 2009
October 11, 2009

The New-York Historical Society, which holds all 435 dazzling preparatory watercolors for John James Audubon’s The Birds of America (1827-38), continues to showcase a thematic selection of these masterpieces in an installation in the Luce Center, rotating them to ensure that these national treasures remain available to future generations.

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus), Havell plate no. 199, ca.1833, John James Audubon, 1785-1851, Watercolor, graphite, pastel, black chalk, gouache, and black ink on paper, laid on card, Purchased for the Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.199

To thematically dovetail with the 400 year celebration of Henry Hudson's historic voyage of discovery, and the exhibition Dutch New York between East and West: The World of Margrieta van Varick at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery organized in collaboration with the New-York Historical Society, five of Audubon's watercolors of birds who perch or live along the Hudson River are displayed. One, the Hudsonian Godwit, is even named after a namesake of the explorer's and is found along the river during migration. Some species are found in New York City, where Audubon himself had an estate ("Minniesland" on the Hudson at West 155th Street), while others are more common to the mid- and upper-regions.

This niche includes one of the most customary denizens of the river, the Common Loon, as well as the Prothonotary Warbler—most easily viewed on boat or by canoe on the Hudson—the Saw-Whet Owl, and the Marsh Hawk. Flowing in a southerly direction for 315 miles, the Hudson River's final 152 miles are a tidal estuary that supports an impressive range of wildlife and birds―resident, breeding, and migratory species―which are a major focus of environmental efforts to restore the natural resources of this legendary waterway.


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