News, events, and updates from the Wyckoff House Museum
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Wyckoff Seasonal Newsletter

Wyckoff House Celebrate 50 Years as NYC's #1 Landmark!

On April 19, 1965, Mayor Robert F. Wagner signed the Landmarks Law of New York City, beginning an era of historic preservation. Following this law the Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House, now known as the Wyckoff House Museum, was the first structure designated as a landmark in NYC. Exactly 50 years since the law was passed, we are celebrating the preservation of the Wyckoff House as NYC's 1st landmarkd with Landmarks Day at the Wyckoff House Museum on Sunday, April 19. 

Touch, Tour, and Talk! Visit the Wyckoff House for one, two, or three offerings as part of Landmarks Day: a family open-house, an architecture tour, or an engaging talk on Brooklyn's 400 years of transformation. There's something for everyone!

Upcoming Events

Landmarks Day

Sunday April 19

Family Open House
Recommended for families with children ages 3 and up. Children must be accompanied by adults.

Behind the Dutch Doors
Admission is on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Neighborhoods of Brooklyn
Professor John B. Manbeck
Only a few spots left!
RSVP for 2pm Lecture
Inside this issue:

A Message from the Staff

Dear Cousins & Friends,

With the snow melted and the tulips beginning to peek through the warming soil, the Wyckoff House Museum itself is abloom with new activities and projects. Here are some of the exciting things on the horizon: 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Law. While the law was signed on April 19th, 1965, the first structure to be designated a NYC landmark, in October of that year, was none other than the Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House. We will be celebrating this important anniversary in our collective history with the Landmarks Day celebration this coming Sunday, and with other activities throughout the year. 

The museum was recently selected to participate in an innovative think tank called ShatterCABINET in partnership with the 1772 Foundation, Chipstone Foundation, and Historic House Trust. In early April, Melissa was joined by board member Elizabeth Wyckoff and our ShatterCABINET Fellow, Monica Montgomery (meet her below) to participate in a two day workshop in Milwaukee, which focused on reconsidering historic house museums and the way they use collections to tell their narrative. Over the next six months we will be crafting information, programs, and tours to reach a broader public audience. 

Spring also marks the beginning of our annual Membership drive, which will offer new perks and opportunities to connect for renewed members. Stay tuned. 

Lastly, we are busily planning this Fall's annual family reunion. After such a large and festive turnout at last year's vineyard and redwood-themed reunion in Santa Clara, we are excited to take the Wyckoff family down south to New Orleans. We will be sending further updates about the reunion shortly. In the meantime you can check out our Reunion page for more information. 

Warm wishes and happy spring,
Melissa Branfman                 Joshua Van Kirk
Director of Education            Museum consultant

Education Update

by Chris Gollmar

It’s a quiet week at the farmhouse, as most NYC schools are on their spring break. When school resumes next week, though, we’ll jump straight into our busy season with school programs, family events, and more.

The next two months will be busy with the final surge of  field trips at the farmhouse. We certainly have a lot of excitement ahead of us this spring! By the time the last day of school rolls around in June, we will have had more students visit the museum than in any previous year. We anticipate having served more than 5000 K-8 students by the end of the school year.

Thanks to a generous funding from Council Member Alan Maisel, we are able to offer schools from his district (District 46) free field trips to the museum. We will be embarking on a program called “Voyage to a New World,” an adaptation of our popular “Colonial Life” program that emphasizes Pieter, Grietje, and family’s Dutch heritage.

We are also expanding our public programs  with family open house days. As part of our April 19 Landmarks Day celebration, we will host our first family open house. In response to visitor feedback, we have put together a number of self-guided and educator-led activities that we hope will appeal to a audiences of all ages.

During this “hands-on history” event, children and their grownups will be able to explore the history of the Old Kitchen, touch our educational artifacts and make crafts in the Common Parlor, and visit the garden to plant seeds to take home. This full morning of diverse, engaging activities should be both fun and educational for the families that join us.

Meet Monica

Monica O. Montgomery is the Historic House Trust Fellow working with the Wyckoff House Museum on the innovative ShatterCABINET project. 

As a former school programs educator, I am thrilled to return to the Wyckoff Farmhouse as a ShatterCABINET fellow to help shape future programming at the museum. About me: I am a cultural entrepreneur and champion of community engagement. I studied Broadcast Communication at Temple University and am completing my Master of Corporate Communication at LaSalle University.

I am no stranger to the Historic House Museum. I currently serve as the Action Director of LatimerNOW headquartered at the Lewis Latimer Historic House Museum. In this role I is enjoy remixing the museum experience, interpreting diversity, creativity and community, to bridge past and present. I believe museums should be in service to society and look forward to building community engagement at the Wyckoff House. 

Rain was no obstacle for St. Nick

Teen volunteers pose for a photo in front of the house
A dance performance at the fair
Educators and volunteers led colonial games for children
Even in the rain, St. Nicholas rode into town at the Wyckoff House. Over 100 kids, families, and friends greeted Old St. Nick with the traditional Dutch carol "Sinterklaas Kapoentje", while kids fed carrots to his horse Schimmel. Inside the house St. Nicholas read The Bakers Dozen before visiting children signed the Red Book. 

Families sipped on cider and snacked on Speculaas while kids crafted pomanders, ornaments, and decorated dutch clogs as take home gifts. 
You can find more photos of the St. Nicholas Day on our Facebook page. To volunteer at our next event, contact us at

Reunion 2015- Save the Date

This October, the Wyckoff Family Reunion heads to "The Big Easy" to "laissez les bon temps roulez" (let the good times roll).
Please save the dates of October 2-4, 2015 in your calendar for this special New Orleans reunion and join us for good food, good friends, and a great time.

Further details such as accommodations and reunion itineraries will be announced in the coming months.

Members Corner

Three generations of Wyckoff descendants pose with Hart cradle, which they donated to the museum's collection over 30 years ago. Wyckoff member, Sarah Lappe from (where else!) Wyckoff, NJ visited us this April only one day before her 89th birthday! Sarah and her mother last visited the Wyckoff House in 1984 upon donating the family heirloom. This 17th century Wyckoff family cradle is now displayed in the museum's formal parlor. For her birthday celebration, Sarah was joined by her children and grandchildren, pictured left. 

Spring Fever

The Wyckoff Farmhouse is off to an active start this Spring!  Garden volunteers, events, new community partnerships and tulips are all signs that Spring is here at last!
A volunteer from East Flatbush Village plants flowers out front
More than 400 community members celebrated Easter at the Wyckoff Farmhouse. Council Member Jumaane Williams and partners from East Flatbush Village hosted an Easter Egg Hunt on the Wyckoff grounds. Families hunted for Easter eggs, met with the Easter Bunny and toured the Wyckoff House. 
Local teens spend Spring Break doing spring cleaning in the Wyckoff Garden.  It was a team effort with Wyckoff staff, Caretaker Dan, Partnerships for Parks, the NYC Parks Department, and Millennium Development After School Programs at Roy H. Mann middle school and Fillmore Academy. Together we filled 80 trash bags, cleaning up the 1.5 acre grounds for the season ahead. 

In Memoriam
by Lucie Chin

Late in the summer of 2007 a small tuxedo cat with big attitude arrived in the Wyckoff garden and became Queen of all she surveyed. She quickly made herself indispensable as Director of Vermin Control, ridding the cellars of mice and keeping them at bay outside. She patrolled the grounds with ears cocked and tail high, vamped for tourist’s cameras, showed off for school kids, slept in the tulips, fiercely guarded her territory and loved her people. She rarely stepped outside the fence. 

Just before Thanksgiving of 2014, The Veterinary Medical Center of Brooklyn, which donates Sylvia's annual checkups, discovered she had cancer. Sylvia soon retired to Lucie’s home and participated in a study of her particular cancer at the Animal Medical Center of NY until she passed away on April 2nd. She will have a permanent place at the Wyckoff farm. 
Monarch butterfly on a pink flower
Sylvia in her natural habitat. An indoor/outdoor cat, Sylvia took full advantage of the historic window sill and double Dutch doors to frolic both inside and outside of the Wyckoff Farmhouse. 
Wyckoff Store

Back by Popular Demand: Shop Items!

Image of wooden model house
Wooden Model House

Back in stock!  Stand-up wooden replica of the Wyckoff House stands at 7.25" across and 3.25" high. Fits perfectly on a desk or windowsill. . $22 each

Buy Online
Delft Tile Coaster Set
Image of holiday hearth cards
These beautiful stone coasters are replicas of the 18th century manganese Delft tiles in the Wyckoff House. $18 for a set of four

Buy Online
For mugs, baseball caps,totes, and many more items, visit our online store!
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