President’s Letter 2016

November 18, 2016

Dear Members and Friends of Bowne House:

We have enjoyed a busy year at the museum and are looking forward to 2017. With the completion of Phase I of the restoration, the exterior restoration, we have welcomed an increasing number of visitors to Bowne House. Our Director of Education, Elizabeth Martin, Ph.D. has been joined by new volunteers who assist with tours. We offer several types of tours tailored to the ages and special interests of our visitors. Visitors learn about 400 years of American history and the roles played by the Bowne House and by Flushing in shaping our history. We have incorporated archaeological findings from the recent excavation of our cistern into new programs, adding a new dimension to our educational efforts.

Some highlights of our other activities include:

Our active student intern program continued during the summer, with the interns engaging in a variety of projects according to their talents and interests. The collaborative efforts of the interns always provide a unique learning experience for them while assisting us in our work at the museum.

Tasks include researching collection items, social media outreach, and development of new educational materials. The program ended with our traditional Volunteer Appreciation Day picnic, when the interns had a chance to present and showcase their projects to our trustees and staff.

We participated in the NYC “It’s My Park Day”, the New York Landmark Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Weekend (where we had as a special guest the author of a book on religious fredeom).

We took part in New York State’s Path Through History Weekend, which attracts increasing numbers of history lovers to local sites.

We ramped up our family-friendly events, which have drawn an increasing number of participants from the local community. Season activities included Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, a Spring Festival, Fall Festival and Halloween, and will conclude with our annual Holiday House Tour in December.
Our recent newsletter featured articles by our volunteer and collections coordinator and our archivist. We have a huge volume of documents, deeds, family correspondence and other records. These are being analyzed, scanned and preserved. It seems that each week yields a new and delightful discovery among these 300 years of material.

We continue to work towards Phase II, the interior restoration of the museum. We have had 80-90% of the preparatory documentation of the interior finishes completed, and the laser scanning project is wrapping up. The laser scanning work was performed with assistance from the University of Florida, Department of Interior Design and was highlighted in a video presentation at our Award Ceremony and Cocktail Party in March. We are also awaiting completion of architectural plans for the Visitor Center; these plans have been developed by the NYC Parks Department.

The museum has continued to strengthen its partnership with the local community and we work with other organizations to improve our outreach. We are seeing school groups from outside our immediate area take an interest in the museum. Bowne House, John Bowne and the Flushing Remonstrance are part of the New York Curriculum, which gives us a unique opportunity not enjoyed by other historic houses in the city. This recognition has improved our profile and helped us attract a wide audience. We welcome visitors from both near and far while our website expands
our reach and is a source of information for users both national and international.

We would like to thank our members and friends for their generosity. We would also like to recognize those who provided invaluable assistance and counsel: Bolton St. John; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison: and our friends at the New York Botanical Garden. We would like to recognize our institutional benefactors: The Acorn Foundation and New York Community Trust; NYPAP; the Gerson Foundation; the Nautilus Foundation; the Valley Foundation; The Octagon Foundation; Queensboro Hill Community Church, and the Flushing Cemetery.

We would also like to thank our elected officials: Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, NYC Council members Peter Koo, Barry Grodenchik and Daniel Dromm, and Congresswoman Grace Meng for their generous support and encouragement.

Please include Bowne House in your yearend giving plans. Many of our educational programs are free and open to the public, or discounted for students in underserved districts. Your support helps us keep these programs going. A response form is included for your convenience, and you may indicate where you wish to have your donation directed.

Thank you all for contributing to another productive year at Bowne House. On behalf of our
trustees and staff, I would like to with you a Happy New Year.


Morris Hylton III
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