President’s Letter 2015

May 30, 2015
Dear Members and Friends of Bowne House:
On Tuesday, June 23 at 6 PM the members of the Bowne House will hold their 2015 Annual Meeting. We will meet at the museum, 37-01 Bowne Street and hope you will join us there.

We are delighted to share good news with you – Phase I, the Structural Stabilization and Exterior Restoration of Bowne House is complete. This has been a very lengthy and complex process, from the preparation of the Historic Structures Report (HSR) in 2006 through the design phase, and involving a team of preservation architects and other consultants, followed by construction work. The construction phase alone took two years.

We are now actively planning for the next phase, the interior restoration of the museum. NYC DDC (Department of Design and Construction) will be working with us in planning and executing this phase, which involves interpretation and restoration of sensitive interior finishes, including plaster and paint as well as restoration of wood flooring.
Once again, the HSR will guide the interior work.

This has been an active year. With the completion of Phase I, we have resumed our onsite programs and are accepting tours by appointment. To accommodate requests and to engage our visitors, we have added two educators who are knowledgeable about early American history. We have updated and freshened our educational programming, adding information discovered during the restoration process.

Other activities included:

Participation in the annual Historic House Holiday Tour, December 7, 2014. We were one of a group of 7 sites in Flushing offering special holiday programming.
With the help of our interns and educator, we mounted an exhibit at the Flushing Library: “The Secret Lives of Dresses”. A workshop for younger children was held in conjunction with the exhibit.
Our annual volunteer Appreciation Day cookout was held in the garden during the summer.
During the school year and through the summer, teams of volunteers worked at the museum in a variety of tasks.
Other noteworthy events:
Our 2013 intern, Lauren Brincat, gave a presentation on our Bowne House collections at the Wintherthur Furniture Forum, held in March. The Forum was titled: From New Netherland to the Empire State: New York Furniture. Also presenting was Peter Kenny, a member of our Museum Advisory Committee.

We have several events planned for 2015. These include:

The NY Landmarks Conservancy’s city-wide Sacred Sites Weekend, May 16-17. Bowne House will be one of three historic sites participating in Flushing. We will join with the Friends Meeting House (1694 to celebrate this event. Congresswoman Grace Meng and Dr. R. Scott Hanson will speak on Queens’ history and its contributions to the principle of freedom of conscience in America. Please check our website for details of events.
On May 16, we will once again participate in the Yale University Day of Service. This is a national program sponsored by university alumni; groups of volunteers gather to perform community service.
With help from a generous grant from Councilman Peter Koo, 20th District, Queens, we are planning a horticulture program – East-West Cultural and Botanical Encounters, Pat II. The goal of the program is to educate the public about Flushing’s role as the cradle of early American horticulture. We will be sponsoring a lecture on horticulture as well as an exhibit. Please check our website for details.
Bowne House is a member of the Landmarks50 Alliance, a group of museums and cultural institutions organized to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of New York Landmark Preservation Law. Events began last year and continue through 2015. As a member of the Alliance, the Society is planning a very special celebration. This will take place on October 10th, 2015, at the museum. That morning, we will commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the dedication of Bowne House as a museum. October 10th is also the anniversary of the original charter of the Town of Flushing. Please plan to be with us for this celebration.
We have many people to thank this year. Most of all, we are grateful to our many members who gave so generously in order to get the restoration project underway. We could not have managed without the support of our membership and of our elected officials.

We would especially like to thank the following organizations for their support: the Acorn Foundation, the Colonial Lords of Manors in America, the Gerson Family Foundation, The Octagon Foundation, New York Community Trust, The Flushing Cemetery Association, Queensboro Community Church, Parsons Family Trust, Pomeroy Foundation, Thorne Foundation, Valley Foundation as well as the many individuals who contributed to the museum.

I would also like to extend special thanks to our pro-bono teams at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, LLP and Bolton St. John, who have provided advice and guidance.

Thank you again for your support of Bowne House and we hope to see you at the Annual Meeting.


Morris Hylton III