K is for King
Located at 150-03 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica NY 11432
Museum Website: https://www.kingmanor.org/
King Manor Museum
The King Manor Museum is the original country estate of Rufus King, a member of the Continental Congress, a framer and signer of the Constitution, one of the first senators from New York State, the ambassador to Great Britain under four presidents, and an outspoken opponent of slavery. It is a very well organized, gem of a museum.
King bought this house and property in 1805 and lived there with his wife Mary Alsop King, their five children, and hired help. After moving in full time, they enlarged the house and made renovations in 1810 and also expanded the property to 150 acres. A devoted scholar of agricultural science, Rufus focused on improving the land and experimenting with crops, turning it into a successful working farm.
King was a passionate advocate for the early anti-slavery movement in America and used his platforms as the first New York Senator and Ambassador to Great Britain to fight slavery in the United States.
After his death in 1827, Rufus’ eldest son John Alsop King bought the house and farm from his father’s estate. Like his father, John made his career in politics, serving in the New York State Assembly, U.S. Congress, and as Governor of New York from 1857 to 1859.
John carried on his father’s legacy of anti-slavery advocacy and fought for the arrest of men who kidnapped free Black New Yorkers and sold them into slavery.
After the demise of Cornelia King, granddaughter of Rufus King, the house and grounds were purchased by the Village of Jamaica to be used as a park, in 1897. The King Manor Association was formed in 1900 with the purpose of caring for the house and the museum collection. The Association still exists and runs King Manor to this date.
When the western half of Queens, including Jamaica, became part of the City of Greater New York, the house and the property were turned over to the New York City Parks Department which redesignated the land as Rufus King Park.
King Manor Museum is part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and has been declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark and an NYC Landmark.
Today King Manor Museum is the second longest-running historic house museum in New York City. The museum is a picturesque edifice that stands in the center of the square block of Rufus King Park. It is a treasure-trove of 18th century information and stories, and contains furniture, furnishings, books, and pictures that date back to that era.
When I visited last in October 2022, the annual Fall Festival was taking place at the grounds of the museum, with dozens of vendors, and a pumpkin patch for the children.
The museum also on display some of the kitchen implements.
The museum provides an exhibition space, on the second-floor, for artisans to showcase their creative work in the community. The exhibits explore topics relevant to the social questions of the times. Each exhibition is on view for a few months at the museum.
There are several online exhibitions, with interactive elements, available at the museum website.
Kings Manor Museum holds a number of programs on a regular basis.
One of them is ‘Hands On History’, a family program series held each first and third Saturday of the month, from 1-4pm. You can find information about the workshops, school programs and special exhibitions at the museum on the Events Calendar.
That looks like a wonderful museum. I am stopping bt from the A to Z challenge. I always like learning about people who signed the Constitution.