In Kingston — New York’s first state capital — history collides with the modern day to create an interesting and hip destination.
The Matthewis Persen House Museum and Cultural Heritage Center, named after its longest resident Matthewis Persen (1739-1819), and owned by Ulster County since 1914, has undergone extensive restoration since emergency repairs in 1999 revealed its historical significance. A Historic Structure Report discovered that it was built in five phases from 1661 to 1922. The house has witnessed the entire history of Kingston and even pre-dates the formation of Ulster County, so by touring the house, guests learn many important aspects of our local history.
In addition, an archeological dig was conducted by Dr. Joseph Diamond which unearthed approximately 22,000 artifacts. These artifacts date back to 1,500 B.C. and are often on exhibit at the house.
In 2016, County Clerk Nina Postupack announced the opening of a new and permanent exhibit at the Persen House. The focus of the exhibit is the 1665 Inventory of the first resident of the House, Gysbert Van Imbroch. Originally written in Dutch, this primary source document was translated to English in circa 1900 and lists all of the items found in the house at the time of Mr. Van Imbroch's death in 1665. This document provides a wonderful window into Dutch colonial life in the 17th Century. Over 1,400 items are listed including books, medical equipment, household items, livestock, clothing and more. How many of these items are still used today? The answer might surprise you.
The Persen House acts as Ulster County's Cultural Gateway. Throughout the season, local Cultural Heritage and Historical Groups host events, crafts, lectures, artwork, and exhibits which are open and free to the public.
The Persen House offers docent-guided tours, self-guided tours, a Persen House Scavenger Hunt activity for all ages, several historical videos to watch, a Persen House for Kids Activity Booklet and specialized exhibits.
The house is open Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend then Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from September through the weekend before Thanksgiving. Admission is free so please join us at the Persen House. Tours can be arranged by appointment as well.
For further information about this and other outreach programs of the Ulster County Clerk's Office or if you are interested in guest hosting at the House please call Ulster County Clerk Nina Postupack at 845-340-3040.
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