THE MATTHEWIS PERSEN HOUSE - Temporarily Closed

ONE OF ULSTER COUNTY GOVERNMENT’S OLDEST BUILDINGS

Ulster County invites you to the Matthewis Persen House, a cornerstone of the City of Kingston's historic Stockade District. This house has witnessed 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 and let us take you on a tour and bring Ulster County's rich history alive! The Persen House has received 31,234 visitors during the 2010 through 2019 seasons which includes visitors from all the states in the United States and visitors representing 57 different countries.

Persen House The Persen House, owned by Ulster County since 1914, has undergone extensive restoration since emergency repairs in 1999 revealed its historical significance. Preservation Architect Kenneth Barricklo's Historic Structure Report reveals that the house was built in five distinct phases from 1661 to 1922. The house has witnessed the entire documented history of Kingston and even pre-dates the formation of Ulster County. By touring the house, visitors can learn many important aspects of our local history.

The Persen House is named for its longest living resident, Matthewis Persen. Born in the house in 1739 to Cornelius and Catharina Persen, Matthewis lived and worked out of this house until his death in 1819 at age 80. However, the Persen family were not the first family to own the house. In 1661, the house was built for Gysbert Van Imbroch (and his family) who was brought to the area to serve as the village's barber-surgeon. A permanent exhibit at the Persen House focuses on the 1665 inventory of Gysbert Van Imbroch's possessions, taken at his request of shortly before his death. Originally written in Dutch, this primary source document was translated to English circa 1900 and lists all of the items found in the house at the time of Mr. Van Imbroch's death. 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 Matthewis Persen House Museum & Cultural Heritage Center also functions as Ulster County's Heritage Gateway. Cultural heritage groups from throughout the county guest host at the House on Saturdays throughout the season. These guest hosts share their treasure troves of history and culture with visitors and often feature exhibits, lectures, programs, and even re-enactments!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Matthewis Persen House is temporarily closed. It is our hope that the museum will reopen for tours by appointment during Phase 4 of the Mid-Hudson region’s reopening. Since many guest host organizations may not be able to join us this season, there will be a special exhibit highlighting all of our many Guest Hosts throughout the years. The County Clerk’s Office will also present Gysbert’s Auction: The Auction of Gysbert Van Imbroch’s Inventory, a companion to Gysbert’s Inventory. This exhibit explores the public auction of the inventory created after Gysbert Van Imbroch’s passing in 1665.

Once the Mid-Hudson region has reached Phase 4 of reopening, tours can be arranged by appointment.

Check back for reopening news and keep up with our online activity on the County Clerk’s Facebook Page

For further information about this and other outreach programs of the Ulster County Clerk's Office or if you are interested in scheduling a tour at the House, please call the Ulster County Clerk's Archives at (845) 340-3415.

Persen House Brochure

Persen House Annual Schedule (Coming in April 2020!)