Flushing Bowne House Historical Society receives grants to support staff and programs

Bowne House
The Bowne House Historical Society in Flushing. (Courtesy of Bowne House)

During an extraordinarily challenging year for cultural institutions worldwide, the Bowne House Historical Society in Flushing — one of the oldest and most historic houses in New York City — received funding to continue developing programs, care for its renowned collections, and retain its staff educators and research professionals. 

Bowne House was awarded a COVID-19 emergency relief grant from New York Humanities to supplement day to day general operating funds. 

The loss of income from tours and public programs severely handicapped museums throughout the world and the New York Humanities award has helped reduce the impact of financial loss for Bowne House.

New York Community Trust is supporting staff retention during the pandemic allowing Bowne House to employ its educators and research staff throughout 2020. This insures that website content will continue to be developed and new tours for visitors of all ages will be featured once Bowne House is allowed to reopen to the public.

Additionally, Greater Hudson Heritage Network is supporting a dendrochronology survey of 18th and 19th wooden objects in the museum’s collections to determine age and provenance. 

Dendrochronology, the science, or technique, of dating a wooden object by examining the characteristic patterns of annual growth rings in timber and tree trunks, is widely used by museums to arrive at accurate dating for furniture and decorative art objects.

The results of the survey will allow museum interpreters to provide new information to scholars and the visiting public.

“The Bowne House is thrilled to have the timely and generous support of these grantors in support of our educational programs highlighting three centuries of Queens and New York history and their roles in shaping American values,” said Rosemary Vietor, vice president of Bowne House. “During this time, with help from these grants, we have developed virtual tours and programs  in addition to materials that will be available when we reopen.”

Bowne House is inviting the public to a virtual Sacred Sites weekend on Aug. 8 and 9, offered by the Bowne House Historical Society in conjunction with the New York Landmarks Conservancy. 

Courtesy of Bowne House

Sacred Sites Open House allows visitors to explore the wonderful art, architecture and history of New York’s diverse religious sites. 

Researcher Kate Lynch will virtually present a slideshow on “Flushing’s First Quakers: The Bowne House, The Fox Oaks and the Friends Meeting House.”

The Bowne House, built circa 1661, is the oldest house in Queens and second oldest in New York City and State. It was built by John Bowne, who emigrated from England to Boston in 1649 and eventually settled in Flushing while New York was under Dutch rule. 

The Bowne House is a New York City Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For early Quakers, it was a place to gather to worship for over thirty years, even after John Bowne’s arrest for allowing the meetings and his successful defense, making it one of the oldest places to worship in the State.

For further information about the Bowne House, email: [email protected]

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