Fraunces Tavern Museum's mission is to preserve and interpret the history of the American Revolutionary era through public education. This mission is fulfilled through the interpretation and preservation of the Museum's collections, landmarked buildings and varied public programs that serve the community. You can stand in the room where General George Washington bid farewell to his officers and explore seven additional galleries that focus on America's War for Independence and the preservation of early American history.
Etienne De Lancey constructed the three-story building at 54 Pearl Street as a family residence. The house was probably three stories and constructed with brick, tile, and a lead roof. It is unclear if the De Lanceys ever lived in it or used it as a rental property. This building is now the main building of Fraunces Tavern Museum.
Samuel Fraunces bought 54 Pearl Street on January 15, 1762 and opened the Sign of the Queen Charlotte (also known as the Queen’s Head Tavern). The tavern became a popular meeting place because it was located near Lower Manhattan’s bustling Great Dock, and because of Fraunces’ culinary skills. He offered some of the best food in the City, including steak, mutton, pork chops, and fresh oysters. The Sign of the Queen Charlotte became so popular with the locals that they began simply referring to it as “Fraunces’ tavern.”Fraunces gives the only known “accurate” description of what the building looked like in the 1760s and 70s in an advertisement he published in 1764. He describes the tavern as, “three stories high, with a tile and lead roof, has fourteen fireplaces, a most excellent large kitchen, fine dry cellars, with good convenient office, sufficient for a large family, the business above mentioned, a merchant, or any other trader, is a comer house, very open and airy, and in the most compleat repair, near to the ferry.”
1905-1907 - In October 1905, William H. Mersereau, a preservation architect, was contracted by Sons of the Revolution to begin the restoration of 54 Pearl Street. Mersereau’s detailed notes and letters offer a closer look into one of the nation’s first and largest restoration projects of its kind. Most of the surviving architectural elements dating back to 1719 were found within the walls of the Long Room: He did extensive research and site analysis but could not locate any image of the building prior to the first fire, which had significantly changed its appearance. The final design was somewhat conjectural and highly influenced by the Colonial Revival movement. Decades of modernization were stripped, starting with the cast iron facade. The deconstruction of 54 Pearl Street revealed red bricks on the Pearl Street side and yellow bricks on the Broad Street side. A definite difference could be seen in the older bricks and mortar of the second and third floors compared to that of the fourth and fifth levels. The south wall of the fourth story revealed the old roof line, which helped Mersereau determine the roof’s original slope.December 4, 1907 - Fraunces Tavern Opens to the PublicWhen restoration was completed in 1907, the building was dedicated and opened as a Museum and Restaurant on December 4, the anniversary of Washington’s Farewell to his officers.1907 – Completed Restoration of Fraunces Tavern1918 - Throughout World War I, Sons of the Revolution sold Liberty Bonds in the Long Room to help raise money for the wartime effort.20th Century - The Long Room for Rent - Throughout the 20th century, the Long Room remained open to the public and could be rented out for parties and banquets until it was reinterpreted as a period room and incorporated into the museum as a gallery.. 1970-1971 - The Long Room Reimagined - Sons of the Revolution hired architect Gerald R. W. Watland, who specialized in 18th century restorations, to restore the Long Room. Watland stripped the Long Room back to its studs and revealed what was believed to be original bricks and beams from the 18th century structure. The Long Room was then reassembled into what is believed to be a more authentic representation of the room George Washington would have seen when he delivered his Farewell Address in 1783.1980s – The Long Room is Reinterpreted - After extensive research, the Long Room on the second floor of 54 Pearl Street was re-interpreted and exhibited as a colonial urban tavern public room in 1982. The landmark exhibition Taverns: For the Entertainment of Friends and Strangers brought national attention to the Museum.