Material to Study Before Your Visit to the Colonial Dames Museum

Time Line Highlights Including Early History of New York

1492: Columbus discovered America

1609: Henry Hudson, early explorer: Hudson River was named for him

1613: First Dutch Settlers on Manhattan Island

1620: Dutch Trading Post established on Manhattan Island

1625: Fort New Amsterdam established

1626: Pieter Minuet purchased Manhattan for beads and trinkets worth $26.00:
He was first Governor of New Amsterdam

1647-1664: Pieter Stuyvesant, Governor of New Amsterdam

1664: Dutch surrender to English and New Amsterdam becomes New York

1776-1783: Revolutionary War, led by General George Washington
who became the first President in 1789


Key Terms you will hear on Your Visit

Beavers: Small animals whose skins were sent to Holland for making men’s hats. These hats were so popular that the trade of skins helped establish New Amsterdam as a port.

Trade: The exchange, buying or selling of goods; for example beaver furs were shipped to Europe and fabrics and fine household goods were shipped back

Merchant: A person who buys and sells goods for a profit

Tradesman: A person who works with his hands and has learned a special skill

Apprentice: A young person who works for master tradesman to learn a trade or skill

Indentured Servant: A person who works under a written agreement that binds him to work for a certain length of time; for example to pay off the cost of the trip from Europe to New Amsterdam

Slave: A person who is owned by another person and has no freedom at all

Bentside spinet or Harpsichord: An early musical instrument similar to a piano

Minuet: A slow, graceful, stylized dance popular during the colonial era

Quill: A large stiff feather whose tip is sharpened into a point for writing

Carder: A tool similar to a wire brush used to comb or separate fibres, especially wool, before spinning

Spinning Wheel: A foot pedal operated wooden machine used to pull the fibres and twist them into thread or yarn for weaving or knitting

Weave: To form into fabric by passing threads or yarn over and under one another on a loom

Jabot: A broad ruffle of lace worn on the front of a man’s shirt

Pannier: A pair of hoops used to expand or hold out a woman’s skirt at the sides

Fichu: A scarf worn by a woman

Mobcap: A cotton cap worn indoors by women and girls



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)