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Welcome to Wyck!
A National Historic Landmark house, garden, and farm, which served as the ancestral home to one Germantown family for more than 300 years. Here, traditional Quaker culture blended with a passion for innovation. The people who lived and worked at Wyck expressed these values through their commitment to education, horticulture, natural history, and preservation. The Wyck Association connects this family and its rich history to our community today through programs that focus on history, horticulture, urban agriculture, and heritage conservation, using the past as inspiration for the future.
Wyck served as the ancestral home of one Germantown family, the Wistar-Haineses, from 1690 to 1973. Today, Wyck engages over 12,000 visitors annually with programs that incorporate the house, outbuildings, landscape, and collections from nine generations and reveal the enduring relevance of Philadelphia history in contemporary life. The Wyck Charitable Trust, created in 1973, established Wyck as a 2.5-acre historic site, and since 1978 the Wyck Association has administered the site. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991, Wyck is a truly remarkable survival of historic Philadelphia life in a densely urban neighborhood. The site consists of a colonial house with innovative 1824 alterations by architect William Strickland; the oldest rose garden in original plan in America; and a collection of 100,000 family papers and more than 10,000 family objects, furniture pieces, and historical curiosities. The site additionally features perennial gardens, a woodlot, fruit trees, extensive vegetable and herb gardens, and a collection of outbuildings from the late 18th century through the early 20th century, including a carriage house, a greenhouse, an icehouse, and a smoke house. The legacies of Wyck's prior owners--Quakers who represented the city's leadership in business, natural history and science, and education reform--are the values of innovation, social responsibility and environmental sustainability. The Wyck Association perpetuates these values through programming utilizing the site and collections. In 2007, the Wyck Association restored the productive gardens that had been on the Wyck site for centuries, having identified the need for such a greenspace in Germantown. The Home Farm is multi-functional, growing food for an on-site farmers market, providing an interactive outdoor classroom for local children and adults, and augmenting the historical-cultural value of the site by interpreting its 300-year-old agricultural traditions. It has become the fulcrum of our new programming of the past five years, which connects historical and modern-day ideas of agriculture, horticulture, preservation, and community. Today Wyck's audience includes Philadelphians and regional/national visitors interested in broadening their knowledge of history, horticulture, and urban agriculture; Germantown children needing safe outdoor space and opportunities for hands-on learning about history, farming, nutrition, and environmental science; and Germantown and Mount Airy neighborhood residents seeking affordable, locally grown and chemical-free produce. In 2011, our Board of Directors adopted a new strategic plan, which has set a course for improved organizational efficiency, identifies new programmatic goals, and presents a vision for Wyck that emphasizes the Wistar-Haines family values of innovation, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability. Our mission is three-fold: to maintain the site so that it is both well preserved and enjoyed; to produce engaging programs that use history to empower participants to improve their lives and the world we share; and to act as a catalyst in the revitalization of Germantown.
- Eileen Rojas
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