The Morris-Jumel Mansion Culture & Arts Festival Kicks Off Tomorrow

There’s always something new at Manhattan’s oldest house.  The first ever Morris-Jumel Mansion Culture and Arts Festival – MJM CAFé – kicks off on October 15, 2011.  The MJM CAFé will feature the vibrant music, artistry, crafts and cuisine that make Washington Heights and the neighboring communities of Harlem and Inwood so diverse and dynamic. The CAFé takes place in Roger Morris Park from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and admission is FREE.

Grammy and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda is the guest of honor.  He grew up in Washington Heights and wrote and performed in the hit Broadway play “In the Heights.”

The air will be filled with music. Performers and artists will share their talents with all who attend. The MJM CAFé is destined to become an annual event that delights the senses and stirs the soul. Performers include: The Harlem Swing Dance Society, Ronny Wasserstrom’s Playdate Puppets, Underworld Productions Opera, Singer/Reenactor Rich Bala, Theater for the New City and Poetry by Sheila Maldonado. Artists featured will be Diaspora Now, Mike Fitelson Photography, Cherrymae Designs and Puck Theater Puppets.

The purpose of the festival is to provide an exciting environment for visitors to experience the rich cultural heritage of the community and tell the story of how Morris-Jumel Mansion and this community reflect the story of the American experience from colonial to contemporary times.

Englishman Roger Morris and his American wife Mary built the house. Frenchman Stephen Jumel and his wife Eliza owned the house longer than any other occupants.  The museum is located in the Sugar Hill section where famous African-Americans including Duke Ellington, Lena Horne and Jackie Robinson once lived. Throughout the years, Jewish, Italian, Irish and other ethnic groups have contributed to the vibrancy of the area. The area now reflects the Latino heritage of the residents who have brought their
rich culture to the area.

The MJM CAFé is made possible in part by a grant from the Columbia University Medical Center Office of Government and Community Affairs. Sponsors include City of New York Parks and Recreation, Historic House Trust, Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance and Whole Foods.

Morris-Jumel Mansion is Manhattan’s oldest house.  Built in 1765 by British officer Roger Morris, the house was later inhabited by George Washington during the Battle of Harlem Heights in 1776 and the Jumel family from 1810 to 1865.  The house, now a museum, is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday 10 am to 4 pm.  The museum is located between160th and 162nd Streets just east of St. Nicholas Avenue and can be easily reached via the C train to 163rd Street the A train to 168th Street, or the M2, M3, M101 or M18 bus to 160th Street.

Visit the web site at

The museum is operated by Morris-Jumel Mansion Inc., a donor supported, not-for-profit corporation whose sole purpose is to preserve and interpret it. Morris-Jumel Mansion is owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City.

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