To launch the 2016 season, Historic Huguenot Street will throw open its multiple doors to visitors this Saturday and kick off updated tours designed to take a deeper look at the National Historic Landmark District’s history. The organization has called on interpretive specialist Bill Weldon, former director at the National Association of Interpretation (NAI) and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, to bring out the stories of Native Americans and enslaved Africans who once dwelled here.
Weldon is a career veteran of interpretive planning, training and historical performance, who has scripted, directed and performed in a variety of public programs for historic sites across the US. He has trained Historic Huguenot Street (HHS)’s interpreters for the last three years. “Bill Weldon’s knowledge and experience has helped us tremendously this year,” said Kara Gaffken, director of public programming for HHS. “The stories of Huguenot Street are still so relevant today; we’re telling the story of a refugee diaspora that created Huguenot settlements across the globe, and the accounts of their relationships with the existing communities around them.”
HHS has also expanded on some of the narratives of the street, such as the story of Josiah Hasbrouck, an 18th-century New York Assemblyman and early-19th-century US representative who grew up in the Jean Hasbrouck House. Pieces displayed in the historic houses will now also include Federal, Empire and other collection items.
HHS is a non-profit organization encompassing buildings and acreage that were the heart of the original 1678 New Paltz settlement, including seven stone houses that date from the early 18th century. Originally founded to preserve the collection of stone houses and to conserve important artifacts and manuscripts, HHS has grown into an innovative museum, one chartered to promote the stories of the Huguenot Street families from the 17th century to today.
To celebrate Opening Day, Beekman Boys Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, proprietors of the Beekman 1802 Farm and Mercantile in Sharon Springs and stars of the Cooking Channel’s The Fabulous Beekman Boys, will be at the DuBois Fort from 2 to 3 p.m. Guests of this exclusive meet-and-greet can enjoy wine and cheese from Main Course Catering and ten percent off all Beekman 1802 books and products throughout the Museum Shop, while Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge sign books and extol the pleasures of life on the farm.
The Museum Shop currently carries a variety of Beekman 1802 goods, including heirloom garden seeds, goatmilk soaps, beauty products and the Beekman 1802 Almanac magazine. Admission to the meet-and-greet is $25 per person, ten percent off for seniors and HHS members.
Opening Day at Historic Huguenot Street runs from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, with tours offered hourly, the last tour departing at 4 p.m. Tickets cost $15 general admission; seniors and HHS members receive ten percent discounts, and active military members receive free admission.
Historic Huguenot Street Opening Day, Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., $15, 88 Huguenot Street, New Paltz; (845) 255-1660, www.huguenotstreet.org.