Officials will unveil circa 1819 painting of Joseph Bonaparte in its original frame that has never before been seen in public
D&R Greenway Land Trust welcomes community members to the public opening of the new Discovery Center at Point Breeze on Saturday, May 20 from 1- 5 p.m.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. in front of the paneled mahogany doors at the entrance to the Discovery Center, 101 Park St., Bordentown.
Barbara “Blue Jay” Michalski will offer a Lenape blessing. Bordentown City Mayor Jennifer Sciortino will be joined with state and local dignitaries to cut the ribbon, along with D&R Greenway President and CEO Linda Mead who oversaw the design of the new museum.
“The two years it took to renovate the 200-year-old house, that was lived in by nuns and priests for the past 80 years, was a flash compared to the property’s 13,000 years of history,” Mead said. “It was a flash that has now put the Bordentown community on the world stage, with a welcoming place full of stories and discoveries that will delight history lovers, nature buffs, and artists alike.”
Preservation of the former estate of Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte, exiled King of Spain and older brother of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France, by the state, City of Bordentown and D&R Greenway in 2020, was heralded in the New York Times, the Times of London and the Spanish News Service.
Following two years of renovations by D&R Greenway, the land trust is opening the former Gardener’s House, the only remaining structure from the Bonaparte era. Guests will be treated to stories of the Crown Jewels, archaeological displays and a circa 1819 painting of Joseph Bonaparte in its original frame that has never before been seen in public.
Local artists will showcase unique features of the land while inviting visitors to discover the special places for themselves. Even the restrooms, named the Delaware River and the Crosswicks Creek Water Closets, share facts and stories about the waterways and history connected to Point Breeze.
Peter Dawson, chair of the Board of Trustees of D&R Greenway, says, “We are excited to offer this opportunity to discover a new place that is important in history and as a unique natural area, while recognizing people whose stewardship of land has protected this place and others for generation upon generation.”
Many centuries before Bonaparte lived at Point Breeze, the land was occupied by the Lenape. Chief Red Feather, an 88-year-old wisdom keeper from southern New Jersey, will be at the grand opening with unique Native American crafts made from stone, wood and leather, offered for purchase. Recognition of the Lenape as the Original People of the Lenapekoking (land of the Lenape) is commemorated with a newly designed flag that recognizes the three Lenape clans: the turkey, the wolf and the turtle. The native peoples are known for their spiritual connection with the natural world that is recognized in the new Discovery Center.
Members of the public are invited to the Public Grand Opening on May 20 to tour of the new Discovery Center and Historic Garden, view art and never-before-seen exhibits and a Delaware River sturgeon sculpture by artist Kate Graves.
Admission is at no cost. Donations are gladly accepted, with a suggested donation of $10 to support conservation of this historic and ecologically sensitive property. All are welcome to discovery.