News & Announcements
Boscobel Begins Historical Upgrade
Steven Miller, Executive Director of Boscobel House & Gardens, announced the commencement of sweeping historical upgrades for the entry hall of its iconic c.1808 Federal style mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The project heralds long-term future changes for the house reflecting new interpretive programming.
One of America’s Great Historic Homes
Built by States and Elizabeth Dyckman in the first decade of the 19th century, Boscobel was dramatically saved from demolition, dismantled and moved to its present site in the late 1950s. It was first restored and opened to the public in 1961 with support from Lila Acheson Wallace who, together with her husband DeWitt Wallace, founded Reader’s Digest. Boscobel has long been recognized as one of America’s premier historic homes of the Federal Period. It boasts beautiful rooms reflecting the style, design and living standards aspired to by the new and established gentry of the early Republic, especially landowners of the Hudson River Valley.
In 1977, the mansion was reopened to the public following a year-long complete decorative renovation by Berry B. Tracy, then a curator with the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tracy’s perspective was based on the results of an 1807 estate inventory of States Morris Dyckman and surviving original Dyckman manuscripts.
A Complete Transformation
Subsequent research is now resulting in additional changes for Boscobel. The first and perhaps most visually significant will take place in its grand entry hall. This architecturally classic space with its high ceiling, signature sweeping staircase, columned center arches and dramatic Palladian window will be completely transformed. The walls are receiving a new period-appropriate wallpaper, the floor will showcase a new historic floorcovering, and the painted woodwork trim will receive a new color.
Decisions regarding the wallpaper, floorcovering and paint were all based on extensive research performed by Boscobel’s Curator and Collection Manager, Judith Pavelock. For many years, Ms. Pavelock examined regional, American domestic interiors during the period of Boscobel’s construction. Richard and Jane Nylander are the historic consultants to Boscobel’s upgrade project.
With the exception of the paint color and estate inventory of Boscobel furnishings dated April 27, 1824, comparative historical references will be used where there is no documented information about original decorative elements. Because canvas floorcoverings were common in large entry halls and elsewhere in early American homes, and Boscobel had installed one when it reopened in 1977, that tradition will continue. The new canvas floorcovering replicates the appearance of an off-white marble floor with a scrolling foliage border. It is being handmade and installed by Gwenith Jones and Kenneth Forcier of Gracewood Design in Portland, Oregon.
The ochre-hued wallpaper has an alternating pattern of narrow vertical sheaves bound with tightly cascading swags, flanked by articulated grapevines. It will be meticulously reproduced based on an original documented paper selected from the collection of Historic New England.
Original Paint Samples Uncovered
The updated paint color for the original wood trim of Boscobel’s entry hall was revealed through a scientific study conducted by Dr. Susan L. Buck, a conservator in private practice who specializes in the analysis and conservation of painted surfaces on wooden objects and architectural materials. It will be a cream-colored paint, with a light sheen. In addition to presenting historic upgrades in the Boscobel hall, the process of installation follows precedent.
The wallpaper is being made by Steve Larson at Adelphi Paper Hangings, LLC, in Sharon Springs, NY, a small, artisanal producer of historically accurate block printed wallpapers. It will be installed by Jim Yates, master paperhanger of Historic Wallpaper Specialties, Johnson City, Tennessee, as it would have been two hundred years ago using joined, overlapping sheets and scissor-trimmed ends. The linseed oil-based paint has been handmade as it would have been at the time of Boscobel’s building and applied in a similarly traditional fashion using historic materials by historic paint artisan, Erika Sanchez Goodwillie.
Sneak Peek in March with Completion Set for Spring 2014
The Boscobel project for the grand entry hall is scheduled to be completed this spring, when the mansion typically reopens to the public. However, a sneak peek of the hall for volunteers and members of Boscobel, will take place at the end of March.
Sparkle’s Closing Weekend Extended!
Due to winter storm Electra, Boscobel’s 12/14 Sparkle, Nights of 10,000 Lights event has been rescheduled to Sunday, December 22 making the grand finale of this new holiday tradition a 3-day-long event. Sparkle’s last weekend for 2013 will take place Friday, Saturday & Sunday, December 20, 21 & 22, 5-9pm. Although Twilight Tour tickets are sold out, Grounds Only tickets –with all of the lights and attractions included– are still available. To plan your visit and purchase tickets, see each night’s line-up of attractions on the December Event Calendar at Boscobel.org.
Boscobel Named Best Place to Picnic
Just in time to launch new food service by Hudson’s Hil’s Café & Market!
Readers of Hudson Valley Magazine, in their annual survey for The Best of the Hudson Valley, voted Boscobel as The Best Place to Have a Picnic. Although typically known as a historic house museum from the Federal period, a venue for special events, exhibitions, lectures and more, word is apparently spreading that Boscobel has picnic tables, bistro tables, chairs and grassy lawns overlooking a jaw-dropping spot for one of, if not the best, panoramic views of the Hudson River and its Highlands.
With this in mind, Boscobel decided to offer their visitors an essential picnic amenity – a freshly- prepared, daily-delivered selection of sandwiches, salads and snacks prepared by Hudson Hil’s Café & Market of Cold Spring, NY.
According to Boscobel’s Executive Director Steve Miller, “Visitors can now plan to purchase food and beverages at Boscobel before or after they purchase their admission ticket. They can then head out on the grounds for a picnic experience like no other. Even if they didn’t plan to picnic, rather than leave the property in search of food, they can find a delectable variety right inside our Carriage House. Visitors may even find a picnic basket and/or blanket in our Gift Shop.”
Hudson Hil’s is a small restaurant in Cold Spring NY, only 1.5 miles from Boscobel. Their mission is to create a high-quality dining experience with a casual atmosphere, while integrating New York State products into their menu to help support local small businesses. “We pride ourselves on offering exceptional food with friendly service, says Owner Hilary Hayes.
In 2010, Garrison residents Bob and Hilary Hayes planned to open a restaurant that would take advantage of the Hudson River Valley’s bounty. At the time, Bob was at home with their young children and Hilary was commuting to Wall Street as an equity analyst. A classically trained chef, Bob wanted back in the kitchen, and Hilary wanted more time with their children. By February 2011, they found themselves welcoming more than 150 guests to the gala opening of their new Hudson Hil’s Café & Market, which features only the freshest ingredients from New York organic farms.
Another tasty offering: Boscobel visitors are entitled to a discount at Hudson Hil’s Café & Market. Monday through Friday, present your receipt (for Boscobel admission) to your server at Hudson Hil’s, and receive 10% off your in-restaurant dining. (Offer good only on the day of your visit to Boscobel.) Spend the day! Enjoy stories of the Hudson Valley with an outdoor audio tour, stroll the gardens and grounds, tour the mansion, picnic for lunch or…take a break at Hudson Hil’s…then come back to hike the Woodland Trail and take in the sunset views. Perfect for Metro North day trippers, too.
Friends of Boscobel Membership Campaign Planned for Fall
Steven Miller, Executive Director of Boscobel House & Gardens announced plans last week for a fall membership campaign. The revitalized Friends of Boscobel program will enjoy new status as a committee of the Boscobel Board. The structure will expand museum benefits and enhancements for existing and future Friends of Boscobel. The plan is part of Board-directed development initiatives that will include annual fundraising solicitations and other customary support activities, the benefits of which will be especially directed towards Boscobel’s educational endeavors. To this end, Boscobel created the new position of Museum Educator which is now filled by Lisa DiMarzo, an experienced regional museum education professional.
Boscobel has long welcomed members as Friends of Boscobel. The Friends are appreciated for their support of the historically acclaimed mansion, its collections, programs and land, which boasts one of America’s great views. Indeed, the scenic vista of the Hudson River and its Highlands is iconic and a stunning attraction in its own right. But, it is the landmark Boscobel mansion that commands attention far and wide as one of the country’s finest and most important homes documenting the Federal period in our nation’s history.
Speaking of the integration of the Friends of Boscobel into Boscobel’s proactive development program, Miller noted that, “We have long been deeply appreciative of the role members play as partners in our work to preserve, celebrate and assure a viable future for an extraordinary American legacy. The Friends of Boscobel members program not only supports the work of the staff, board of directors and volunteers, but participants enjoy our wide array of programs and activities as well. We look forward to greatly expanding this valued group as an integral part of our development activities. We are also very pleased that Board member and Vice President Alex Reese, whose mother was a long time Director of Boscobel and who founded the Friends of Boscobel, has agreed to serve as the initial Chairman of this Friends of Boscobel Committee. Donna Blaney, our highly experienced Marketing & Events Manager is the staff liaison.”
Hudson Valley Magazine Selects Boscobel for Photo Shoot
Hudson Valley Magazine, the glossy, regional monthly, staged its fall fashion shoot at Boscobel this week. Its editors envisioned a fairy tale theme and felt “what better place than Boscobel” for a beautiful, enchanted setting? The shoot features one model elegantly portraying characters such as Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Watch newsstands for their September 2013 edition.
Boscobel Thanks Garden Club with Donation
The Philipstown Garden Club, a member of the Garden Club of America, has been lovingly tending to Boscobel’s Herb Garden since the 1960s
To show appreciation for all of their efforts and contributions to the Hudson Valley environment and most specifically to the maintenance and upkeep of Boscobel’s Herb Garden –one of its most appealing visitor attractions– Executive Director Steve Miller presented the PGC with a check for $2,000 this past spring. It continues Boscobel’s annual support of the Club.
Miller stated, “Our partnership with the Philipstown Garden Club is deeply valued. Every Tuesday when I look out my office window, I see their members diligently tending what is certainly an endearing part of Boscobel’s outdoor ‘exhibits.’ Our visitors find the Herb Garden a special treat as there are few, if any, like it in the area. The Philipstown Garden Club is a leading contributor to what makes Boscobel so unique and inviting. We thank them for all their hard work and dedication to our garden’s health and beauty.”
Senator Selects Boscobel for Press Conference
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will visit Boscobel House & Gardens in Garrison, NY on Friday, June 7th at 3pm to announce her legislative initiatives to protect and promote the natural beauty, historic resources and economic potential of the Hudson River Valley. The Senator will announce her introduction and sponsorship of legislation that will help promote recreation and tourism in the region while showcasing the Hudson Valley’s unique role in American history and development.
Boscobel was selected by the Senator’s office as it exemplifies all of the things they are trying to accomplish with the legislation. Area organizations involved with the legislation, such as the Hudson River Valley Greenway, Scenic Hudson, area land trusts, museums, arts and tourism groups, as well as area elected officials will be invited by the Senator’s office. The public is welcome.
Military Families Get FREE Admission to Boscobel this Summer
Active duty military and their families can enjoy free admission at Boscobel House & Gardens, plus more than 1,800 other museums nationwide, from Memorial Day until Labor Day 2013 through the Blue Star Museums program.
Blue Star Museums is collaboration among the National Endowment of the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Monday May 27, 2013 through Monday, September 2, 2013.
The free admission program is available to active-duty military and their family members (military ID holder and up to five family members). Active duty military include Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and active duty National Guard and active duty Reserve members.
Girl Scouts Select Boscobel as Venue for Annual Event
Girl Scouts Heart of The Hudson has selected Boscobel House & Gardens as the venue for their annual Alumnae Association Gathering on June 9, 2013 which will include alumnae ceremonies with remarks from Ms. Janet Hasson, President and Publisher, Journal News Media Group, an Afternoon Tea, garden strolls and a tour of the mansion.
In selecting the perfect location, Ms. Kim Barnett, Volunteer Alumnae Steering Committee Chair & Volunteer Service Unit Manager for East Fishkill area Girl Scouts said, “We considered many venues for this event, but chose Boscobel House & Gardens because the historic nature of the property and breathtaking views of the Hudson River Valley seemed a fitting backdrop for an event that celebrates the memories and traditions of Girl Scouts and its founder, Juliette Gordon Low.”
Steven Miller Appointed as Executive Director of Boscobel
Following an extensive national search, the board of directors of Boscobel House & Gardens has selected Steven Miller of Morristown, New Jersey to be the historic site’s new executive director.
Miller has forty-two years of accomplished museum experience with distinguished institutions throughout the northeast. In addition, he has been a museum consultant, writer, trustee and educator. Most recently, he was executive director of the Morris Museum and the Bickford Theatre in Morristown, New Jersey (2001 – 2011). Prior positions include the Bennington Museum, Bennington, Vermont and the Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio. Miller is a member of the boards of trustees of ArtPride New Jersey and Historic Deerfield, Inc.
He also serves on the American Alliance of Museums’ accreditation visiting committee and is a regular contributor to its Museum magazine. Miller holds a BA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York and an International Graduate Certificate, Principles of Conservation Science from the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property in Rome, Italy. Miller is married to Jane Pelson Miller, deputy director of philanthropy with the Nature Conservancy at its New Jersey office. They have two children, a son, Andrew, of Washington, DC, and a daughter Katherine who is a student in NYC.
Speaking of his new appointment, Miller said: “I am delighted to be joining the dedicated and enthusiastic team of staff, volunteers and directors who have made Boscobel a renowned cultural landmark. This charming mansion, which is unique for its stellar collection, the beauty of its landscape, and a breathtaking view of the Hudson Highlands, is truly a natural and historic American treasure. I will enjoy working with everyone to collaboratively sustain past accomplishments while assuring a bright future for generations to appreciate.”
Barnabas McHenry, president of Boscobel, announced that the board of directors welcomes Steven Miller as executive director. “Steven brings us a wealth of experience in the successful management of museums in the northeast. We are indeed fortunate to have attracted him to Boscobel.”