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HHT Launches Virtual Dutch Heritage Trail

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HHT’s partner historic houses represent many facets of a shared Dutch-American cultural heritage. Featuring original architecture and interiors, historic collections, and more recent reconstructions, these historic sites follow the threads of Dutch history into the modern age. Linked together, they provide a fascinating portrait of the significant Dutch heritage that remains in New York City, waiting to be explored. Connecting Culture: A Virtual Path through Dutch Heritage at NYC's Historic Houses is a celebration of these varied stories that serves to inspire both in-person and online visitation of these important outposts of Dutch culture.

HHT identified 11 partner sites with strong ties to the Netherlands. At one end of the spectrum is an example such as Wyckoff House Museum, which dates from the Dutch Colonial period, and at the other is a site such as Conference House, which has reproduction orange-and-blue glazed bricks from 1929 that bear the stamp of the Queen of the Netherlands and were installed to match 17th century Dutch bricks. Common themes among these sites are Anglo-Dutch construction methods that persisted long past the Dutch Colonial period and layers of original Dutch architectural fabric that remain at sites better known for later periods of significance, as well as interiors such as the "Dutch Chamber" at Van Cortlandt House Museum that interpret an "imagined" Dutch history and collection items such as kas cabinets and Delft tiles.

HHT secured the services of architectural photographer Joe Pulcinella, who has a personal passion for photographing historic buildings, to capture some of these Dutch features for the trail. Using compiled research and guidance from our partner sites, HHT drafted narratives that serve as a guide on this journey through Dutch heritage. The narrative progresses chronologically over 400 years, from the arrival of the Dutch in the region in the early 1600s to well into the 20th century. 

Via the services of Digital Natives Group, the amazing team behind the new design of our website, the virtual heritage trail was built out and seamlessly integrated into HHT's website. The trail includes a mapping feature, slideshows of high quality photographs, and accompanying text that briefly explains the Dutch heritage at each site and serves to connect the sites thematically. Click here to visit the trail!

HHT launched the virtual heritage trail in March 2021 and it immediately became one of the most visited pages on our website. The trail was featured in the 2021 Jane’s Walk NYC, presented by the Municipal Art Society of New York, and in programs by the New Amsterdam History Center and Untapped New York.

HHT is indebted to Dutch Culture USA and the Consulate General of the Netherlands for supporting the creation of this virtual heritage trail. We believe that virtual engagement is here to stay, and this trail is envisioned as the first among other trails that highlight the underlying bonds that connect our partner historic house museums. HHT is currently pursuing funding to accomplish research in untold histories, including the narratives of enslaved people who lived and worked at these houses, the women who were influential in preserving the sites, and the traces of Lenape history that can still be found. Among the goals of this research is the development of additional virtual heritage trails that can explore this history as it relates to NYC’s historic house museums, and further correct our shared historical narrative to be more inclusive.

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