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Queens Chronicle

Museums are getting a day to call their own

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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 10:30 am

Hospitality is coming to a museum near you.

Not that museums aren’t friendly already. But some can be a little intimidating — and others downright expensive.

The Queens Historical Society, however, is throwing open its 220-year-old doors next Saturday, Sept. 21, to welcome all comers, free of charge.

The historical society, headquartered in Flushing in one of the oldest homes in Queens, is joining more than 1,600 other museums in the 15th annual Museum Day, when institutions around the country are encouraged to drop their admission fees and let everyone hang out.

The idea behind Museum Day came from the Smithsonian museums in Washington DC.

“This is a chance for smaller institutions like ours to join in a huge club,” said Branka Duknic, executive director of the Queens Historical Society.

“We get really great exposure,” she said.

The historical society is located at 143-35 37 Ave. in the Kingsland Homestead, built in the 1780s and one of the first homes in Queens officially landmarked by the city (the Bowne House, circa 1661, across the street was the other).

“There are so many great museums and cultural institutions throughout our country that you may not even know about, some of them right in your own backyard,” Amy Wilkins of Smithsonian magazine told Travel + Leisure.

“Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day draws attention to these hidden gems, showcases their programming, both year-round and Museum Day specifically, and provides an impetus to visit without ticket costs posing a barrier.”

Kingsland has preserved the look and furnishings of a Colonial farmhouse, with updates, like a Victorian sitting room.

Visitors are required to download a ticket from smithsonianmag.com. You can download only one ticket per email address but each is good for two people.

The historical society has been participating in the Museum Day promotion for about five years, said Duknic.

It’s worked very well by providing the museum “with contacts and visibility we couldn’t have gotten otherwise,” she said. “We get people from Manhattan, from parts of Queens we don’t often see.”

The open house tours run from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Museum Day at Queens Historical Society
When: Saturday, Sept. 21, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Where: 143-35 37 Ave., Flushing
Entry: Free. (718) 939-0647,

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