Van Cortlandt decorative arts objects

The rich history of the Van Cortlandt Family is told through the interpreted period rooms in Van Cortlandt House and brought to life through carefully chosen objects representing those which would have been available in New York between 1748 and 1823. The greater number of objects is owned by The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York and all the objects you see on exhibit, whether owned or on loan, are the curatorial responsibility of the New York Society.

Most of the objects on exhibit at Van Cortlandt House were not used here during the family’s occupancy.  Because the Van Cortlandt family lived in the house for over 130 years (1748-1886), many of the original objects they used have been dispersed among family members as heirlooms or have simply worn out.  Everyday objects such as hand spun linen bed sheets, dinner plates, brooms, chairs, drinking glasses, shoes, gowns, and men’s suits have not survived.  A number of objects used by the Van Cortlandt family during their occupancy have been gifted back to The New York Society for exhibit in the house and have become among the most cherished items in the collection.   Most of the collection, however, is made up of gifts, purchases and loans gathered by members of The New York Society starting in 1896.  The core of this collection was acquired as gifts from Society members between 1896 and 1945.  Purchases to fill interpretive gaps in the collection and gifts from Van Cortlandt family members continue to this day.



215 East 71st Street,
New York, N.Y., 10021
Tel (212) 744-3572,
Fax (212) 988-1776

Van Cortlandt House Museum

The Van Cortlandt House Museum, is the oldest building in The Bronx, New York City.
Van Cortland House


We offer an authentic experience based on colonial daily life in New Amsterdam through our interactive field trip program which ties in with the New York City Department of Education Social Studies standards.

virtutes majorum filiae conservant

(women are the keepers of the past)