Touring the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Harlem

Dining Room at Morris-Jumel House

With my mom visiting this week, I joined her on a tour of museums that I had never visited despite having lived in New York for ten years.  We had tried to go to the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace Historic Site, but when we arrived, we found that the museum is closed “until further notice.” (I later learned that they are waiting to repair the fire escape.)

This is Harlem?!?

Since the Teddy Roosevelt birthplace was closed, we headed uptown to 163rd St and Amsterdam Ave to the Morris-Jumel Mansion, another museum I had never visited. The mansion was actually kind of small, due to the fact that it was a mere summer retreat for the Jumels, but my mom has an almost unhealthy curiosity of old places and the now-dead persons that have inhabited or walked through them. I took a few photos of these haunted spaces.

George Washington led a revolution before Facebook

The mansion is one of the many “George Washington Slept Here” places that one finds up and down the Atlantic coast, and indeed we saw the room where the Commander-in-Chief had not only slept but also commanded troops. There was even a great contemporary mixed media art piece, by Felipe Galindo, that imagined George Washington as launching a revolution, not unlike how the Arab ones were launched earlier this year. (Or were they? Discuss.)

If you had never been here, it’s worth the trek uptown. There is not very much to do once you get there, but seeing the oldest surviving house in New York, it’s a good site off the beaten track.

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