Through the experience of an immigrant family's 1890s home, the Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden, preserves and interprets the cultural and horticultural heritage of Flushing, Queens and adjacent communities to engage their ever-changing populations.
At first glance the Voelker Orth Museum appears to be a typical Queens middle class home built in another era. Upon further exploration, one may discover some of the differences as well as the similarities to homes and lives of New Yorkers today. Through its period rooms and rotating exhibitions, the Museum yields stories and serves as a setting to explore connections to our recent past.
Opening in 2003, the Voelker Orth Museum occupies an 1891 house that was purchased in 1899 by a German immigrant named Conrad Voelcker (1861-1930). More than a century old, this house has been the home of one family for nearly its entire history and its appearance has changed little. Voelcker's granddaughter, Elisabetha Orth, left her estate to establish the museum. Click to learn more about the family and the property
Many of the family's furnishings are preserved, including a 1930 Sohmer piano that was made in Queens. Leisure time activities, such as the Wardian plant cases, a library, and garden are reflected in the setting. Click for views of the garden and interior
The Voelker Orth Museum offers exhibitions, house tours, performances, talks and workshops, and educational programs year-round. It is still a work in progress –with more being learned about the family and life in Flushing from their time to the present. The property became a New York City Landmark in 2007, ensuring that this small corner of Flushing's history endures to be studied, experienced and simply enjoyed by generations to come.
The Voelker Orth Museum operates as a private non-profit organization. Its programs receive funding from a number of public and private sources. Programs are generously supported, in part with public funds, by New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts. The Museum acknowledges support from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilman Peter Koo, and the Museum Association of New York, with funds from NYSCA, and NYC's Materials for the Arts.