Ulster County invites you to the Persen House, one of our oldest, most significant buildings. This house has witnessed so many important moments in Ulster County's history. It was burned at least twice, saw wars and revolution and was home to doctors, tailors, grocers, druggists and innkeepers. As you walk through the House, you walk through time. Please join us at the Persen House located at 74 John Street, Kingston, New York 12401 and let us take you on a tour and bring Ulster County's rich history alive!
The Persen House, named after its longest resident Matthewis Persen (1739-1819), and owned by Ulster County since 1914, has undergone extensive restoration since emergency repairs in 1999 revealed its historical significance. A Historic Structure Report discovered that it was built in five phases from 1661 to 1922. The house has witnessed the entire history of Kingston and even pre-dates the formation of Ulster County, so by touring the house, guests learn many important aspects of our local history!
The Matthewis Persen House Museum & Cultural Heritage Center functions as Ulster County's Heritage Gateway. Cultural heritage groups from throughout the county guest host at the House each weekend and share their treasure troves of history and culture with the visitors. The Persen House has received 15,534 visitors during the 2010 through 2015 seasons which includes 483 international visitors representing 34 different countries.
Historical societies and cultural groups from around the county have lined up again this season to host at the House on Kingston Farmers Market Saturdays. Each year we greet new Guest Hosts to the House, and welcome back returning Guest Hosts. These Guest Hosts feature exhibits, lectures, programs, and even re-enactments! Please see the Persen House Annual Schedule for all Guest Host information and activities taking place this season. It is sure to be an exciting year as we continue to keep Ulster County's history alive!
Opening in June 2016, County Clerk Nina Postupack is excited to announce the installation of a new, permanent exhibit at the Persen House. The focus of the exhibit is the 1665 Inventory of the first resident of the House, Gysbert Van Imbroch. Originally written in Dutch, this primary source document was translated to English in circa 1900 and lists all of the items found in the house at the time of Mr. Van Imbroch's death in 1665. This document provides a wonderful window into Dutch colonial life in the 17th Century. Over 1,400 items are listed including books, medical equipment, household items, livestock, clothing and more. How many of these items are still used today? The answer might surprise you!
The house is open Tuesday through Friday 9am to 4:30pm and Saturdays from 9am to 3pm from May 28, 2016 through September 3, 2016. Then Saturdays from 10am to 2pm from September 10, 2016 through November 19, 2016. Admission is free so please join us at the Persen House! Tours can be arranged by appointment as well.
For further information about this and other outreach programs of the Ulster County Clerk's Office or if you are interested in guest hosting at the House please call Ulster County Clerk Nina Postupack at (845) 340-3040.