Resolution J493-2013

Commending the Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden upon the occasion of celebrating its 10th Anniversary on July 28, 2013



  • Feb 28, 2013: ADOPTED
  • Feb 13, 2013: REFERRED TO FINANCE


LEGISLATIVE  RESOLUTION commending the Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctu-
ary and Victorian Garden upon the occasion of celebrating its 10th Anni-
versary on July 28, 2013

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body that  the  quality  of
life of the citizens of the State of New York is greatly enriched by its
exceptional cultural, educational and recreational institutions; and
  WHEREAS,  Attendant to such concern, and in full accord with its long-
standing traditions, this Legislative Body is justly  proud  to  commend
the  Voelker  Orth  Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden upon the
occasion of celebrating its 10th Anniversary on Sunday, July  28,  2013;
  WHEREAS, The Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden,
through  the  experience  of an immigrant family's 1890s home, preserves
and interprets the cultural  and  horticultural  heritage  of  Flushing,
Queens  and  adjacent  communities  to  engage their ever-changing popu-
lations; and
  WHEREAS, The Voelker Orth Museum is an 1891 house and Victorian-styled
garden located in the Murray Hill section of Queens, an  early  commuter
suburb for New York City's growing middle class, established in the late
1800s; and
  WHEREAS, Chartered by the New York State Board of Regents as a history
museum,  the  Voelker  Orth  Museum is a multi-disciplinary organization
whose name and focus, and principal support was derived from  the  Muse-
um's benefactor, the late Elisabetha Orth; and
  WHEREAS, The property was originally part of the estate of the Parsons
family  who developed a successful nursery business in the 19th century;
  WHEREAS, Conrad Voelcker purchased the home in 1899;  a  German  immi-
grant, he started a printing business in Manhattan and published a wide-
ly read German newspaper; and
  WHEREAS,  Conrad Voelcker's daughter married Dr. Rudolph Orth, the son
of German immigrants and a Cornell graduate, who became a police surgeon
with the NYC Police Department; they  had  a  daughter,  Elisabetha  who
became a teacher and lived in the family home throughout her life; and
  WHEREAS, When Elisabetha died in 1995, she left the house and property
to  establish  the  Voelker  Orth  Museum,  Bird Sanctuary and Victorian
Garden; and
  WHEREAS, Acting posthumously, on the directions described in  Elisabe-
tha  Orth's  will,  a  committee formed drawing representatives from the
Queens Botanical Gardens, the Queens Historical Society and the Theodore
Roosevelt Bird Sanctuary to establish the new organization in 1997; and
  WHEREAS, The Voelker Orth Museum was incorporated in 1999  and  opened
to the public in 2003 following extensive restoration of the 1890s house
and garden; and
  WHEREAS,  Based  in an area that is rich in history and dynamic in its
diversity, the Voelker Orth Museum invites  audiences  in  Flushing  and
beyond  to explore and experience connections to the past and our shared
heritage; it is a place for discovery, reflection and learning; and
  WHEREAS, The Voelker Orth Museum engages audiences through  the  arts,
nature,  horticulture  and  local history; it is committed to presenting
programs in  a  multi-disciplinary  manner,  using  different  modes  of
inquiry and discovery; and
  WHEREAS, The Museum provides a number of volunteer and intern training
opportunities,  working  with  the  Chinese  Planning  Council, Flushing
International High School, Korean Community Family Services,  and  other
area  schools  and colleges; young people get to experience working with

primary source documents in the archives, learn researching methods  and
participate in gardening; and
  WHEREAS,  Public  programs  include an annual Oktoberfest, free summer
performances of Shakespeare in the garden, jazz and  classical  perform-
ances in the parlor, family programs about honeybees and home gardening,
jewelry-making workshops, lectures and tours about local history; and
  WHEREAS,  The  remarkable success of the Voelker Orth Museum is due in
large part to its dedicated board of directors  and  Executive  Director
Deborah  Silverfine;  the board members are Ferdinand Gerber, President;
Catherine Fitts, Vice-President; James  Driscoll,  Vice-President;  Lola
McLinden,  Treasurer;  Marianne  Giacalone,  Secretary; Arlene Cusumano;
Lynn Hanousek; Joan Kingsley; Patricia Sherwood; Barbara Silver;  Roland
G.  Wade; and
  WHEREAS,  The  expert staff of the Voelker Orth Museum, are and always
have been characterized by an impressive commitment, an unbridled enthu-
siasm, and an uncompromising standard  of  excellence,  and  accordingly
merit the commendation of this Legislative Body; now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED,  That  this  Legislative  Body pause in its deliberations to
commend the Voelker Orth Museum, Bird  Sanctuary  and  Victorian  Garden
upon  the occasion of celebrating its 10th Anniversary on July 28, 2013;
and be it further
  RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to the Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden.


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