History is everywhere! If you find yourself with some free time and are looking to explore the history of our community, the Bronx, then you might enjoy learning about these local museums and historic sites.
Edgar Allan Poe Cottage
The small white early 19th century cottage nestled on Kingsbridge Road and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx was once home to prolific poet Edgar Allan Poe. In 1846 after living in Turtle Bay, Manhattan Edgar, his wife Virginia, and mother-in-law Maria moved into the cottage. While living in the Bronx Poe befriended some of the faculty at St. John’s College ( later renamed Fordham University). It was in this home that Poe wrote “The Bells”, “Annabel Lee,” and “The Cask of Amontillado” and it was also here that his wife Virginia died of tuberculosis. Edgar Allen Poe lived in this home from 1846 until he died while visiting Baltimore in 1849.
The home is open Thursday and Friday 10:00 am -3:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am-4:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm-5:00 pm.
Fee: $5.00 for adults
$3.00 for students (with ID) and seniors.
The Museum of Bronx History
The Museum of Bronx history is managed by the Bronx Historical Society and housed in the Valentine-Varian house, which is the second oldest building in the Bronx. Blacksmith and farmer Isaac Valentine bought this parcel of land and built the two story home in 1758. The home was located near the well-traveled Boston Post Road and was surrounded by farmland. During the Revolutionary War the Valentine family was forced to abandon their home as it was repeatedly occupied by British, Hessian, and American soldiers. Lloyd Ultan documented the home’s importance during the Revolutionary War in his 1983 book Legacy of the Revolution: The Valentine – Varian House.
The home was opened as The Museum of Bronx History by The Bronx Historical Society in 1968.
Celebrating Bronx History-60 years and counting!
Open until April 10, 2016
Curator’s Choice-Selections from the Collections
Open until April 10, 2016
Westchester Town- Bronx Beginnings
Open April 14, 2016-October 9, 2016
This exhibit will be based on the Ferris-Doherty Collection, the largest and most significant collection in the Bronx Historical Society archive. This exhibit will feature photos, documents, home furnishings, textiles, and personal memorabilia that will celebrate and explore the history and heritage of the Town of Westchester and The Bronx, since its 17th century beginning.
The museum is open Saturday 10 am-4 pm and Sunday 1 pm-5 pm.
Fee: $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for students (with ID) and seniors.
The Van Courtlandt House Museum
The Van Courtlandt House is the oldest surviving building in the Bronx. The Van Courtlandts had owned the land the home sits on since 1691, however Fredrick Van Courtlandt began construction on the home in 1748. Unfortunately Fredrick died before the house was completed, he left the home to his son Frances Jay Van Courtlandt and a life-time tenancy to his widow, Frances Jay Van Cortlandt. During the Revolutionary War the home was used visited by notable figures such as Washington, Lafayette, and Rochambeau.
In 1887 the home was sold to the City of New York and made public land. In 1895 The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York wished to restore the house and open it to the public as museum, however “there was no provision in the New York State law allowing the stewardship of a publicly owned building by a private organization.” A year later the society took their cause to Albany where a law was passed which allowed the society to take custody of the home. The house was opened as a museum in 1897, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1967 and was declared a New York City Landmark in 1966.
The home is open Tuesday through Friday 10:00 am- 4:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday 11:00 am- 4:00 pm
Guided tours are available for groups of 8 or more upon request with one weeks advanced notice.
Fee: $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for students (with ID) and seniors, and Wednesdays are free.
Bronx Documentary Center
Co-founder Michael Kamber opened the Bronx Documentary center in 2011 after photographing the conflict in Afghanistan for the New York Times. The center has various photography exhibitions and documentary screenings throughout the year.
The center is currently closed
Open March 10, 2016- March 27, 2016
The Dream by Fabio Buciarelli
Fabio Buciarelli spent five years documenting the stories of individuals and families who have fled war zones in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and beyond. Through his photographs he presents refugees with dignity, as people who dream to be free of war and live in safety.
The center is open (staring in March) Thursday and Friday 3:00 pm-7:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday 1:00 pm-5:00 pm
Exhibitions are always free
Documentary screenings are free for Bronx residents
For non-Bronx residents the suggested donation for documentary screenings is $7.00- $10.00