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“Very Interesting!”

Merchant's House Museum
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Revolutionary War Era Walking Tour
Ranked #128 of 1,099 things to do in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Merchant's House Museum is New York City's only 19th century home preserved intact, with original family furnishings and personal belongings.A unique survivor of Old New York, the House offers a rare and intimate glimpse of how a prosperous merchant family and their Irish servants lived from 1835 to 1865, when New York grew from seaport to thriving metropolis."The distinction of the Merchant's House -- and it is a powerful one -- is that it is the real thing. One simply walks through the beautiful doorway into another time and place in New York."The New York Times
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
95 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Very Interesting!”
Reviewed October 28, 2013

This is a very interesting (haunted) house/museum. My first visit here was a candlelight ghost tour in 2011, which was much fun and a great and strange experience. I highly recommend this tour if you “believe in ghosts”. My second visit to this home was a 2:00 p.m. Sunday tour in October, which, on this day, began in the back garden of this beautiful home. There we learned some history of New York City and of a 19th century merchant’s family way of life. The building, inside and out, is landmark. Our guide, Heide, was knowledgeable and kept the tour very interesting. I highly recommend this tour as well. The Merchant’s House Museum is not your “normal” tourist destination, but, in my opinion, a must see as it is a part of the city’s history.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank Zofia P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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198 reviews from our community

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Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
39 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“The hidden gem of Manhattan”
Reviewed October 18, 2013

It is easy to pass right by the Merchant's House without even noticing it, since it's a normal brick row house like so many others in that area. However, if you don't go in, you're hugely missing out, since it's the single best-preserved home in Manhattan, thanks to some very unusual circumstances. One family lived there almost 100 years, and when the last died, it went to a relative who sold it to another relative - and with amazing foresight, he decided to turn it into a museum. I'm a huge history/architecture person, and go to every historic home I can, wherever I happen to be. The unique thing about Merchant's House is that almost everything in it has been there since the family lived there; much of the furniture is even in the same location as it was when they occupied the house. It really is like a time capsule.

There was no tour going when I arrived, so the docent provided a little binder with descriptions. You start downstairs in a specific location, and read about the room, some of the items in it, and life in that era. I actually preferred this, as it provided an opportunity to get a good look at various details and learn about the day-to-day lives of the family. I don't know how well cooled or heated it is, so you may want to time a visit for milder weather, but I was there last week (mid- October) and it was fine. The other point is that there are a lot of stairs and no ramp access, so those with mobility issues should factor that in. It's also supposed to be super haunted, and that's a big draw for some. It's not spooky, though - just a pretty old house with really high ceilings and lots of cool furniture. If nothing else it's very easy to get a sense of what this family was like just by seeing how they spent their days. The fee is very reasonable and you learn so much. Don't miss it!

Visited October 2013
2 Thank chalupacabra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
246 reviews
80 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“A moment in time preserved”
Reviewed September 28, 2013

We were lucky to catch a tour which helped us to get a flavour of the house and the families who built and lived in it. Because it was lived in by the same family for so long, much of the building and furniture is original. It would be great to see the garden and water cistern being restored. The staff were all enthusiastic. If you like to get a sense of history, it's worth a visit.
Unfortunately the house is probably at great risk form surrounding developments so go soon.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Gulliva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
38 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Nice short tour takes you back in time”
Reviewed September 23, 2013

If you have 1 hr at hand, this is a good tour, either self guided or take the guided tour. Was a little too short for what I had expected but was a good insight into an old building with period furniture and stuff.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Sangs82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Windsor, UK
Level Contributor
45 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Step back in time”
Reviewed September 18, 2013

An excellent way to see inside the house and the life of a merchant's family in 19 th century New York. We took the tour, which was very good and informative. Thought the guide was very diplomatic with the guy whose cell phone rang several times! I guess that was one problem they didn't have back then. The staff were extremely helpful and knowledgeable. We had a great visit. I wish the children's bedrooms and nursery were available to view as well, but I appreciate storage is needed for admin and archives. The rest of the house really does give you a picture of life in another age and all those stairs made you feel for those poor servant girls.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Frances51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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