Staten Island Museums and Culture
Known for being the first house museum on Staten Island, this New York City museum is rich in history on many levels. Its name lies in honor for the peace conference of 1776, a commemoration. Constructed circa 1680 by Captain Christopher Billopp, this 2 story rubble-stone masonry masterpiece has been restored over the years, as needed for structural integrity. Its steep gable roof gives the essence of the period. By 1934, much work had been completed including the Colonial Rose Garden and planting 13 trees to represent the original colonies. House tours are offered Friday-Sunday at 1 pm. In the midst of a collection of artifacts from the era, it is almost like stepping back to the time when our great country was still forming. The beauty and serenity overpower you while walking the grounds. Spring and summer bring the vivid colors of the trees to life. Why not stop for a minute to quite literally “smell the roses”? When the sun is descending, gaze over to the waterfront to enjoy the unparalleled sunset that exudes tangerine hues amid a backdrop of amber with scattered tones of violet entice you to just stand in awe of the beauty that is happening right before your eyes.
A bright light on a dark coast, the National Light Museum in Staten Island is one of the newest contributions to American culture and distinguishes an often overlooked part of maritime development. Guest speakers from the museum explain the significance and development of the lighthouse on the east coast. They also speak of the various stories involving the history of shipping and waterways of the State of New York and the application of lighthouses to the modern day maritime world. In Spring of 2012, the National Lighthouse Museum was given a high honor by playing host to the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Titanic to New York. While the museum itself highlights some of the most unique and important developments for lighthouses and boating from the past, the crown achievement of the National Lighthouse Museum has been the development of in-depth boat tours chronicling the different lighthouses along the New York coast. The boat tour, in cooperation with the museum, establishes the history and importance of lighthouses and how they helped in everything from merchant travel to wartime efforts. The National Lighthouse Museum is a beacon, both literally and figuratively, of America’s growth and heritage.
Take a step back in time; as you look around this Staten Island museum of culture, you will see many things that represent the very fiber of America's roots. While walking about, an array of activities to participate in will consume you. Dressed in clothing from the past, it’s easy to forget that you are still here in the 21st century. From a vast amount of building projects to churning fresh butter, one can experience how our ancestors lived and get a glimpse into the semi-primitive culture that existed long before you or I. Nearby Decker Farm has a produce stand that is open all through spring and summer of 2012, boasting bountiful harvests of produce from its well maintained and beautiful organic fields. It is recommended to come early as you will find yourself amid a plethora of beauty, nostalgia, and history all within arm’s reach. At this New York City museum, you can live vicariously through history and really gain a feel for the true American experience. A great place to bring your friends and family to create memories that will last a lifetime. With over 30 historical structures and a whole town to explore, come spend the whole day reminiscing on the practices and history that made you.
The Noble Maritime Museum is a tribute to maritime culture and displays the people and traditions of the working waterfront in its educational exhibitions. Before even entering into the museum, patrons are greeted by a beautiful array of sun and light overlooking the harbor. This is significant because the museum was built around the houseboat home of John A. Noble, the famous maritime artist and recorder of the past. The Noble Maritime Museum plays host to much of his life’s work in documenting the end of the Age of Sail. It is a beautiful example of the history of Maritime events. Several of the exhibitions include the oil paintings of John A. Noble with special focus on ship models and crew presentations, a look at merchant ships and their effect on New York trade, and a Spring 2012 opening of a Titanic exhibit. Also featured at the museum is the history of Sailors' Snug Harbor, the famous retirement home and the oldest charitable institution in America. This New York City museum is a significant part of Staten Island museums and culture, and continues to bring New Yorkers in to visit a storied part of America’s past.
Are you interested in a quirky change to the standard museum experience? The Staten Island Museum is a small but very fun museum located just two blocks west of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. The Staten Island Museum has a fun selection of exhibits that document the art, natural science and history that surrounds Staten Island. One great experience includes taking a look at the geological display that allows visitors to gaze through special microscopes that show the intricate designs within the local soil. Another fun fact is that the museum offers a wall of mounted butterflies and wildlife which is larger than any other display on Staten Island. The Ferry system is also extensively chronicled, showing the history of the ferry and how it has benefitted the people of New York. Always conscious of their family atmosphere, this modest New York museum even offers special free days for its visitors, which gives more people an added opportunity to experience the wealth of natural history. Featuring a variety of experiences and exhibits that are both informative and fun, the Staten Island Museum is really a crown jewel in the museum scene.
One of the most unique and beautifully preserved homes in America is the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum on Staten Island. Maintained to look as it was, over a hundred and fifty years ago, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum is owned and operated by the Sons of Italy as a tribute to the famous Italians Antonio Meucci and Giuseppe Garibaldi. Inside, the house is divided to represent both of these famous men by having a variety of exhibits and displays documenting their lives work. You could try one of the early versions of the telephone which Meucci is proclaimed to have invented years before Alexander Graham Bell or even look at the first underwater communication models. If Italian revolutionaries are more to your liking, you can experience first renditions of Garibaldi’s novels about the Italian people or gaze at Italian artifacts provided directly from the Italian government. The museum is built by the people and for the people, giving its patrons an opportunity to feel a true part of this Italian legacy. This New York City museum is one of the most beautiful depictions of Italian culture and makes it a fun and highly informative destination for any native New Yorker.
One of the most serene museum experiences you will ever have is at Staten Island’s own Museum of Tibetan Art. Nestled amongst a rustic complex that resembles a Tibetan monastery, the museum offers New Yorkers and visitors from around the world an opportunity to experience the eastern philosophies while staying in the New York area. The museum itself offers a variety of live Tibetan cultural experiences designed to enlighten those intrigued about the Eastern Philosophies. The exhibits to be experienced include a very in-depth look at the art and music that developed from the Himalayan area including a how and why explanation of the Tibetan lifestyle. Interested in Tibetan food? The museum also has a vast sampling of different foods and drinks inspired y the Tibetan region. Want to expand your mind? Take one of the classes on meditation and Tai Chi, designed to bring one closer to nirvana. The S even includes musical demonstrations such as the concert series in the Summer of 2012. The Museum of Tibetan Art is a great link to another culture and will give New Yorkers a great opportunity to not only enjoy the beautiful scenery but also to fully immerse themselves into Tibetan society.
The Staten Island Children's Museum appeals to the intrepid explorer in every child. Interactive exhibitions and creative workshops offer plenty of opportunities for hands-on, first hand experiences that nurture children's natural curiosity and creativity. Visits to the museum launch children on a voyage of discovery - about themselves and the world around them.
Are you familiar with the work of Alice Austen? Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, her photography and cultural impact is second-to-none and continues to be the definition of stunning work. The Alice Austen House Museum in Staten Island pays homage to Austen’s work by showcasing her vast talents and restoring her home to an era gone by. When visiting this Staten Island museum, patrons will find themselves admiring the beautiful gardens and simple Victorian design that defines the house that was Alice Austen’s life. By stepping between the doors, you enter in to the private life of this powerfully observant woman and the chronicles of how Austen led her own life via her own testimonials and the documentations of those around her. Hundreds of pictures that Austen took in her lifetime surround you and demand your attention at every turn, complimented by the works of those inspired by her. In Spring 2012, this Staten Island museum featured “Foreclosed” which was a documentation of the American housing crisis. A stunning look between Austen’s work and the modern pieces, “Foreclosed” is a great example of what New York City museums offer, a slice of life.