Growing exponentially in membership support from Westchester and Fairfield counties, the Jay Heritage Center (JHC) hosted its annual Fall Family Festival this past Sunday, September 25th, celebrating American culture and traditions. Highlights included costumed tours of JHC's Sesquicentennial Civil War Exhibit "The Jays and the Abolition of Slavery" along with traditional music and activities for all ages.
The event was organized by JHC's Young Preservationists, a group of parents committed to the adaptive reuse of John Jay's landmark home as a community learning center for children and adults, a place furnished with lively ideas and people, not just furniture. The fresh vision of co-presidents, Emma Hanratty and Caroline Wallach had great resonance as over 1200 people showed up to applaud their efforts while munching on crisp autumn apples and sipping cider.
Grownups had plenty to see too as veteran JHC archaeologist, Dr. Eugene Boesch, displayed the Paleo Indian and archaic woodland artifacts he has recovered from the grounds of this national treasure including a 4000 year old projectile point. Bruce Macdonald of Ashwood Restoration opened up his preservation workshop and explained the challenges involved in recreating mahogany spindles for the mansion's 19th century staircase.
The event was part of the Hudson River Valley Ramble weekend which celebrates American heritage in New York State. It also cooincided with President Obama's call to service for National Public Lands, encouraging volunteers all over America to get more involved in the parks they love like the Jay Property.
Photos by Suzanne Clary and Susan Fraser