The Merchant’s House Museum Fears ‘Irreparable Damage’

The Merchant's House Museum Fears 'Irreparable Damage' From Proposed Construction Which Could Cause Walls Crumbling.

Dec 17, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The Merchant's House Museum
The museum. Via the institution.


The Merchant’s House Museum dreads “irreparable damage” from building plans. Overall, a city body decided to support the construction of a new structure adjacent to it. The construction and vibrations of the new building might bring its fragile plaster walls crumbling down. Built in 1832, the museum resides in a historic house in Manhattan’s NoHo neighbourhood.


The Merchant’s House Museum Faces Danger

The Merchant's House Museum
Detail of the historical plaster work at the museum. Via the institution.


The wealthy merchant Seabury Tredwell was once the owner of the institution. It was strategically kept to depict the lifestyle of merchants during the mid-1800s, when New York was a thriving port town. Also, the museum was the first structure in the city to get listed as a landmark following the enactment of a landmark protection law in 1965. On December 12, the Landmarks Preservation Commission convened.


The goal was to determine if 27 East 4th Street, a garage and repair shop, ought to become dismantled, in order to make room for a new structure. The museum lies on 29 East 4th Street. A 2021 document on the city website for the proposed building shows that the firm BKSK Architects designed the project. For more facts about the endeavour, which entails erecting a 95-foot-tall tower with six stories and a ground-floor shops, Artnet News got in touch with the contractor.


The Merchant's House Museum
Vis E. James Schermerhorn.


“The LPC voted to approve the development next door to the Merchant’s House, in spite of overwhelming and unanimous opposition from the community, preservation organizations, public officials and, of course, from the Merchant’s House and our engineers and preservation architects”, the museum said in a statement on Instagram.

Get the latest articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up to our Free Weekly Newsletter


Landmarks at Risk?


the museum ny
The museum.


The developer’s engineers allegedly “admitted,” according to the museum, that they were not aware of any guidelines for preventing harm to historically significant artistic plaster. Also, it further stated that none of the attendees at the event were aware of a study that was commissioned by the museum. Also, verified that irreversible harm “will take place”.


The LPC, for its part, required the developer to watch noise from completion, a major cause of harm. However, the museum thought it was insufficient. It said that by the time these monitoring systems notify users of potentially harmful vibrations, the harm already inflicted.


federal hall new york 1789
A painting showing Federal Hall in New York City in the 1790s, which was where Congress initially convened prior to the Capitol being built in Washington DC, via Federal Hall


“Today’s vote by the LPC to greenlight a development that is certain to cause irreparable damage to the Merchant’s House Museum is a warning to every other landmark in New York City“, the museum said. “If the Merchant’s House goes as subjected to adjacent construction that will destroy its historic fabri. After that, every landmark in New York City is at risk”.






















Author Image

By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.