A generous grant from the New York Community Trust (NYCT) in 2013 allowed the Historic House Trust of New York City (HHT) to conceptualize, develop, and launch an “Anarchist Plan” at the Lewis Latimer House Museum to maximize strategic, social, and economic impact in Flushing, Queens.
HHT assembled a diverse consulting team made up of HHT staff, HHT partner house staff, Latimer House board members, the site’s caretaker, consultants, and Koch Fellows to work collaboratively on this project. The project equips Latimer House with tools for sustainability by introducing a new model of operation that will engage the community through shared authority, stimulate all the senses during a visit, reflect habitation instead of static exhibition, and propose new preservation standards.
LatimerNOW, as the initiative is titled, held a pilot event called “Latimer Lounge,” where poets, artists, and performers of different ethnicities and languages were invited to gather at the Latimer House for an evening. “Latimer Lounge” was a way to engage with the Flushing, Queens, community by connecting people across experiences and stretching beyond the general history of Lewis Latimer to explore more about how he was a creative person: an inventor and poet, among other practices.
Ultimately, HHT aspires to position Latimer House as an essential community resource that bridges past and present and unites diverse audiences by acting as a center of social history, explorative experience, and common identity.