Queens is brimming with history, and families can explore the borough’s past at several historic sites this fall and winter. Here are seven great house museums where you can step back in time and learn a little more about the borough, while taking part in fun activities and programs.
Lewis Latimer House Museum, 34-41 37th St., Flushing
Visit the home museum of African-American inventor Lewis Howard Latimer (1903-1928) and learn about his inspiring story through interpretive wall panels with photographs and text, patent reproductions, drawings and poems , original artifacts, facsimiles, furniture and interactive installations. The house museum also sheds light on the lives and accomplishments of other black scientists.
Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 109th St., Flushing
Louis Armstrong, the world’s most famous jazz musician, chose to live in the Corona neighborhood from 1943 until his death in 1971. The house museum supports and promotes the cultural, historical and humanitarian legacy of Louis Armstrong with its collection of archival material that documents the life and legacy of the jazz musician. Additionally, the museum presents public programs such as exhibitions, concerts, lectures, and film screenings, to educate and inspire people of all ages, backgrounds, and locations.
Kingsland Homestead (Queens Historical Society), 143-35, 37th Ave. Weeping Beech Park, Flushing
Learn about Queens history at QHS, the borough’s largest and most active historical society founded in 1968. The organization owns and maintains the Kingsland Homestead, a late-century Long Island Half-House style structure. 18th century which was the first New York City landmark in Queens County. It is located in the historic Weeping Beech Park in Flushing. QHS offers programs for children, adults and seniors. There are exhibitions and outreach programs including slide talks, panel discussions, tours and concerts.
Fort Totten/Bayside Historical Society
Since 1984, the Bayside Historical Society has been located at Fort Totten Park Castle. Built in 1887, the building was originally used by the US Army Corps of Engineers as an officers’ mess and club. The Gothic Revival castle was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1986. The BHS serves as a learning destination by collecting and preserving information about Bayside’s history. It has become home to events, educational programs, exhibitions and archival collections.
Rufus King Manor, 150-03 Jamaica Ave, Southeast Queens
Adults and children can learn about the context of life in Jamaica and the United States in the early 19th century at King Manor, located at 150-03 Jamaica Ave. The only historical museum in southeast Queens, King Manor serves a predominantly minority and immigrant community. engage the public through tours of historic sites, interactive exhibits, lectures, public programs, and school/community outreach.
Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy.
There’s plenty to do at the Queens County Farm Museum in Floral Park! The 47-acre parcel is the longest continuously cultivated site in New York State. The green pasture includes historic farm buildings, a greenhouse complex, livestock, farm vehicles and tools, planting fields, an orchard and a herb garden. Open seven days a week, year-round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors can stroll around the farm and take a tour of historic Adriance Farm and seasonal wagon rides.
Poppenhusen Institute, 114-04 14th Road, College Point
The historic Victorian building at College Point housed the first free kindergarten in America. The institution offered the first free evening classes for adults and today operates as a community cultural center. It offers programs for children and adults that include: karate lessons, group guitar and piano lessons, stress workshops, historical exhibitions, school and summer visits, among other activities.