Tag Archives: John Jay Homestead

Peter Feinman: OPRHP and NYS Cultural Heritage

The ongoing look at the history infrastructure in New York State continues here with the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). Within this overall department, Historic Preservation defines itself quite rightly as &#8220an important economic catalyst for New York State,&#8221 although the validity of this assertion often is overlooked by the powers that be. Continue reading

At Olana, The End of a Season and an Era

On Sunday, October 30, 2011, Olana State Historic Site ended its 43rd visitor season, and changed over to its winter schedule (Friday through Sunday). Over 132,000 guests visited Olana in the past year, one beset with an abundance of rain, gasoline prices that threatened to hit $5 during peak travel season, two hurricanes and an October nor’easter. In December of this year Olana will mark another milestone as Linda E. McLean closes her last year as director at Olana State Historic Site, ending an almost 40-year museum career with New York State.

McLean completed a master’s thesis on the photograph collection at Olana, working with then director Richard Slavin, and her abiding interest in Olana and American art developed from that point on. She joined the staff at Olana as Director of Education, stepping up to acting director when Slavin left to accept a post in Cooperstown. In 1980 McLean was offered and accepted a position of Director in her own right at the John Jay Homestead State Historic Site in Westchester County, and remained there until 2000, when she returned as Director at Olana State Historic Site, filling the position vacated by the late James Ryan.

When asked why she was retiring at this point she answered without hesitation. “We have completed all the major parts of the comprehensive plan that was adopted when I first arrived. We have restored the full exterior of the building from the brilliant stencils around the cornices to the bricks and stone of the walls- the roof will be completed this coming summer. We have opened the second floor for touring, restored wall papers, opened a very successful gallery space, restored carpets, textiles, making rooms come alive with the color and beauty that until now had only been known to Olana’s first residents. There are now six restored buildings in use on the property with plans for the restoration of the rest of the barn complex. Overall we have leveraged several millions of dollars in the restoration of the site, the WHOLE site- collections, buildings, and the landscape. And if the years and work at John Jay Homestead are included, the list gets richer, better and longer. It has been a wonderful journey and I have met and had the privilege of working with some amazing people. With the completion of the comprehensive plan, a new Commissioner in Albany and new plans for the whole system of parks and historic sites, it is time to turn the page and turn the site over to a new director, someone who can harness the technology of the 21st century to take Olana through its next round of planning and beyond.&#8221

“And,” McLean added,“it is now time for me to explore the world much as Church did as he gathered ideas for his great works. This is my time to “follow the road less traveled” and see where this next journey takes me. I have been very lucky to have been part of two spectacular historic sites and worked with the people who made them what they are. I have been most fortunate to complete my career at Olana, working to restore it to the grandeur that it knew as the home of artist Frederic Edwin Church. But more important to do this work in the community where I grew up, for the people of a community that nurtured me in my youth and gave me the foundation that allowed me to experience a 40-year career in a field I have loved from the beginning. Now it is time to move on, Church once said, about an hour south of Albany is the center of the world, and I own it, well, I can say, about an hour south of Albany is the center of the world and, for a while, I too, could call it my own.”

Linda is the fourth director for Olana State Historic Site. A successor has yet to be named. At this time all efforts in her office and at the historic site are focused on wrapping up the 2011 season and preparing for what will be a new chapter at Olana State Historic Site. “On behalf of the board and staff of The Olana Partnership, I want to thank Linda for her dedicated service to Olana,” stated Sara Griffen, president of The Olana Partnership. “She has been a true partner these last several years, a trusted colleague and supportive collaborator. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Photo: Main house at Olana. Courtesy Linda McLean.

John Jays Manhattan Historic Walking Tour

John Jay’s Manhattan, an historic walking tour sponsored by John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, will take place Saturday, October 15. Participants will meet in lower Manhattan, and step off promptly at 10:00 a.m., rain or shine. The cost of participation is $20.00 per person- members of the Friends of John Jay Homestead can participate for $15.00.

Founding Father John Jay, America’s first Chief Justice, was born and educated in New York City, and spent much of his life there. The walking tour will trace his haunts, visiting the locations of the places where he lived and worked as one of New York’s leading lawyers and politicians, as well as U.S. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Chief Justice of the United States, and Governor of New York. The tour will recall the time when New York was the capitol city of a young republic, and present a reminder of how the geography and architecture of Manhattan Island have changed since the arrival of the first European settlers in the 17th century.

The walk will cover approximately 1? miles and take about two hours, proceeding at a leisurely pace over mostly level terrain. Comfortable footwear is highly recommended. The tour will both begin and end in lower Manhattan, convenient to several subway lines. Attendance is limited, and advance registration is required- payment is due in advance, and is non-refundable. To reserve your place and learn the tour’s initial gathering place, call John Jay Homestead at (914) 232-5651, extension 100.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located at 400 Route 22, Katonah, N.Y. It is regularly open for guided tours Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and at other times by appointment.

Curators Finds Focus of John Jay Talk

Curator’s Fabulous Finds, a series of artifact talks at John Jay Homestead, will continue on Sunday, October 2 at 2:00 p.m., and will be repeated on Thursday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m. This fall’s lecture will examine and discuss portraits of members of the Jay family from the Homestead’s historic collection. The cost of admission will be $10.00 per person- members of the Friends of John Jay Homestead may attend at no charge.

The functions of portraiture and the differing ways people were portrayed over history will be explored, discussing pictures by such famous painters in the Homestead’s collection as John Trumbull and John Singer Sargent. The techniques of oil painting and watercolor will also be covered. Participants will get a close look at several paintings, and details of the lives of the people in them will round out the talk.

Space at the lecture is limited, and reservations are strongly suggested. To reserve seats, call John Jay Homestead at (914) 232-5651, extension 105.

John Jay was a President of the Continental Congress, the second U.S. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the second Governor of New York State. He retired to Bedford in 1801 to live the life of a gentleman farmer. His home is now a beautiful sixty-two acre historic site that includes lovely walks, several gardens, farm buildings, and a richly-decorated main residence restored to the 1820s, the last decade of Jay’s life.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located at 400 Route 22, Katonah, N.Y. John Jay Homestead is regularly open for guided tours Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and at other times by appointment. The site is one of six historic sites and 15 parks administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Taconic Region. For additional information about John Jay Homestead, please visit www.johnjayhomestead.org.

July 4th Jamboree at John Hay Homestead

On Monday, July 4, John Jay Homestead State Historic Site in Katonah, N.Y. will hold special programs in celebration of America’s 235th birthday.

The festivities will begin at 11:00 a.m. with The American Colonials Fife and Drum Band playing Yankee Doodle and other patriotic songs, followed by a reading of the Declaration of Independence from the front porch of the Jay home. This part of the program will conclude with visitors, young and old, getting an opportunity to sign a copy of the Declaration themselves. The fife and drum concert and reading will be given free of charge.

At noon, tours of the first floor period rooms of John Jay’s house will become available for $5.00 for adults, seniors, and students. Children aged twelve and under, and members of the Friends of John Jay Homestead, can tour the house free. Admission tickets will be sold until 1:30- the historic house will close at 2:00 p.m.

A new part of the program will also begin at noon and continue until 4:00, a July 4th Jamboree, sponsored by the Bedford-Armonk Rotary Club. The Jamboree is a charity event that will take place near the Jay Homestead barnyard, and will include colonial games for kids, wagon rides, a patriotic pet parade and contest, a beekeeper, a blacksmith, a SPCA pet adoption station, live music, and food. Wristbands needed for participation in these activities will cost $10 for adults and $5 for children. The proceeds will benefit John Jay Homestead, the SPCA of Westchester County, and other local community organizations. For more information about the Jamboree, log onto www.july4jamboree.com.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located at 400 Route 22 in Katonah, N.Y. It is one of six historic sites and 16 state parks administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Taconic Region.

Kids History Adventures at John Jay Homestead

This summer your kids can become pioneering wilderness explorers with Lewis and Clark, patriotic soldiers during the War of 1812, and investigative naturalists and archeologists during John Jay Homestead’s History Adventure Days, a themed summer camp weeks at John Jay Homestead, organized as three weekly sessions.

Kids entering grades 2-7 can sign up for one session or all three. This year’s themes are “Exploring the Unknown: Lewis & Clark and the Corp of Discovery” (July 25-29), “Broad Stripes and Bright Stars: The War of 1812” (August 1-5), and “Seeing is Believing: Uncovering the Cabinet of Curiosity” (August 8-12).

Each session runs Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The cost is $250.00 per week. A 10% discount is given to members of Friends of John Jay Homestead. Daily rates are available. More information about the program can be found online or by calling (914) 232-5651 x101. Be sure to register your child soon- spaces are limited and fill up quickly.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located at 400 Route 22 in Katonah, Westchester County, NY. It is one of six state historic sites and 16 parks administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Taconic Region.

John Jays Manhattan Historic Walking Tour

John Jay’s Manhattan, an historic walking tour sponsored by John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, will take place Saturday, May 21. Participants will meet in lower Manhattan, and step off promptly at 10:00 a.m., rain or shine. The cost of participation is $20.00 per person- members of the Friends of John Jay Homestead can participate for $15.00.

Founding Father John Jay, America’s first Chief Justice, was born and educated in New York City, and spent much of his life there. The walking tour will trace his haunts, visiting the locations of the places where he lived and worked as one of New York’s leading lawyers and politicians, as well as U.S. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Chief Justice of the United States, and Governor of New York. The tour will recall the time when New York was the capitol city of a young republic, and present a reminder of how the geography and architecture of Manhattan Island have changed since the arrival of the first European settlers in the 17th century.

The walk will cover approximately 1? miles and take about two hours, proceeding at a leisurely pace over mostly level terrain. Comfortable footwear is highly recommended. The tour will both begin and end in lower Manhattan, convenient to several subway lines. Attendance is limited, and advance registration is required- payment is due in advance, and is non-refundable. To reserve your place and learn the tour’s initial gathering place, call John Jay Homestead at (914) 232-5651, extension 100.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located at 400 Route 22, Katonah, N.Y. It is regularly open for guided tours Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and at other times by appointment.

Illustration: Portrait of John Jay painted by Gilbert Stuart.

John Jay Homesteads Curator on American Silver

Curator’s Fabulous Finds, a series of artifact talks at John Jay Homestead, will continue on Sunday, May 15 at 2:00 p.m., and will be repeated on Thursday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m. This spring’s lecture will examine and discuss British, Spanish, and American silver from the Homestead’s historic collection. The cost of admission will be $10.00 per person- members of the Friends of John Jay Homestead may attend at no charge.

Like all members of the upper class in the early 19th century, the Jays used fine silver on a day-to-day basis. Among the objects to be examined are John Jay’s elegant, Neoclassical Sheffield plate hot water urn and a very rare, early 18th-century sterling silver teapot made for his wife’s grandmother by the noted silversmith, Pieter Van Dyck.

Attendees will also view up close such unusual objects as an 18th-century silver table fork from Spain, a Bull’s Eye lamp (which burned whale oil), a silver and coral whistle and bells (a baby’s toy for play and for teething), and a mote spoon, used for removing stray tea leaves from one’s cup of tea. The differences between sterling silver, coin silver, and Sheffield plate will be discussed, as will the techniques of hand working silver in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Space at the talk is limited, and reservations are strongly suggested. To reserve seats, call John Jay Homestead at (914) 232-5651, extension 105.

John Jay was a President of the Continental Congress, the second U.S. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the second Governor of New York State. He retired to Bedford in 1801 to live the life of a gentleman farmer. His home is now a beautiful sixty-two acre historic site that includes lovely walks, several gardens, farm buildings, and a richly-decorated main residence restored to the 1820s, the last decade of Jay’s life.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located at 400 Route 22, Katonah, Westchester County, NY. John Jay Homestead is regularly open for guided tours Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and at other times by appointment.

Photo: John Jay’s silver tea urn. Courtesy john Jay Homestead.

Youth Mini-Camps at John Jay Homestead

From Monday through Thursday, April 18th through 21st, John Jay Homestead State Historic Site will host Spring School Break Mini-Camps for children aged 5 to 10. Each day’s activities will be two hours long, and be operated as a drop-off program.

The first mini-camp, starting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 18th, will be Here, There, and Everywhere! How did people get around 200 years ago? What types of transportation did they use? How did travel expose people to new and fascinating discoveries? Children will answer these questions while exploring the bedrooms of John Jay and his daughter, Nancy. They will then make a shell craft to take home.

Starting at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19th, the program will be The Artist in You! Do you like art? Do you know the difference between a painting and a print? Or how long it took to have your portrait painted 200 years ago? Children will explore the extensive art collection at the Homestead, and then try their hand at printmaking.

Beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20th, the morning will be devoted to Birds of a Feather. Calling all birdwatchers! Come and explore the Homestead’s beautiful grounds and learn about the birds that live here. See how many different types of birds you can find. Children will then make something to help the birds that live in their own backyards.

Starting at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 21st, the program will be Clean As a Whistle. How did people keep clean, bathe, and do their laundry 200 years ago? How often did they take a bath? If there was no indoor plumbing, where was their bathroom? Children will tour William Jay’s bedroom and the cellar kitchen to learn about personal hygiene 200 years ago, and make their own soap.

The cost of the mini-camps is $15 per child per day- members of the Friends of John Jay Homestead will receive a $3.00 discount. Reservations are required, and can be made by phoning John Jay Homestead’s Education Department at (914) 232-5651 x101.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located at 400 Route 22 in Katonah, N.Y. (Westchester County). It is one of six state historic sites and 13 parks administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation—Taconic Region. For more information about New York State Parks, log onto www.nysparks.com.