Organizational History


Beginnings

The Wyckoff House & Association, Inc., was first formed in 1937 when a large group of descendants of Pieter Claesen Wyckoff and Grietje Van Ness-Wyckoff gathered together to purchase and preserve their ancestral home, the Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House. In the face of potential demolition, the family joined forces with community activists to protect the house over the next few decades. In the 1960’s the Wyckoff House Foundation gained ownership of the property and donated it to the New York City Parks Department, with plans to renovate the building. In 1965 the house became the first structure in New York to be designated a historic landmark. After surviving a fire in the late 1970s, the house was finally restored in the early 1980s.

Since 2001, the house has been opened regularly as a public museum, offering school programs, public events and celebrations, and community farmers markets. In the past several years, the museum has increased its community engagement efforts, doubling the audience and bringing visitors back again and again, with particular focus on engaging  local community members.

Museum Mission

Today, the Wyckoff House Museum’s primary mission is to preserve, interpret, and operate New York’s oldest building and the surrounding one-and-a-half acres of park. Through innovative educational and farm-based programs we build cultural and agricultural connections within our community, emphasizing immigration, family, food, and community through history.

Vision and Belief

As a cultural institution, we strive to be a place of community collaboration and to serve as a reflection of the diverse cultural fabric, both of New York City and of our specific neighborhood at the intersection of  East Flatbush/Canarsie. The Wyckoff House Museum believes that history, immigration, inquiry, and agriculture can change how people learn and think about themselves, and how they connect, whether to their family and past, to the places they live and visit, or to what they eat and grow.

Values

The Wyckoff House Museum achieves this mission and vision by stewarding our historic house and park, and making it an accessible resource to our community, guided by our values. We are:

  1. Community-driven and Responsive: We listen to our community and are adaptive to its needs.
  2. Inclusive and Accessible: We prioritize a decentralized narrative that is warm, welcoming, and relevant to people of all backgrounds and walks of life. We keep all of our programming free or low-cost.
  3. Inquisitive and Educational: We design our programs and our space to invite observation, play, critical thinking, exploration, and wonder.
  4. Fruitful and Sustainable: As stewards of this historic house and park, we promote abundant growth, sustainable agriculture, and sharing in the bounty of our natural environment and garden.
  5. Connective and Collaborative: We collaborate with our community and neighbors to build connections.

 

Association Mission

Rooted in our organization’s founding nearly a century ago, we also promote and  foster the family history and genealogy of the Wyckoff family in America, maintain Association archives, collections, and history, and connect descendants through special events and communications, disseminate educational materials related to the family and the house.

Copyright © 2015 Wyckoff House & Association, Inc.
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