Historic Richmond Town was founded as the Staten Island Historical Society in 1856. The institution still uses both names but is more popularly known as Historic Richmond Town. Historic Richmond Town relies on the history of Staten Island and its neighboring New York area communities to show how ordinary people of every background worked together for centuries to build an extraordinary country. Not being fixed to a specific time period, famous event or person makes us unique in that we can interpret the rich, diverse cultural tapestry of American life at any point in our history.
In the mid-20th century, the Society embarked on an ambitious project to collect, preserve and interpret the material culture of our region. The result is that Historic Richmond Town has become a remarkable living history town and museum complex that evokes. As Staten Island’s largest and oldest cultural institution, Historic Richmond Town possesses some of the most celebrated and storied historical items of American history. There are more than 130,000 artifacts, photographs, and archival collections dating back to the 17th century. The total number of individual objects or bits and pieces of history in our care is close to a million! At the center of our collections are original historic structures dating back as far as the 1660s. While many museums use structures to showcase their artifacts, our structures are among our most significant artifacts. This provides an authentic platform to share the stories of individuals like us – ordinary people who’ve built an extraordinary country.
The town of Richmond has been here since the 17th century. The Staten Island Historical Society came to its rescue and preserved the town as it was. Today, Historic Richmond Town tells the stories of American Life in many places. Visitors can find us in person at one of our four physical sites. They can come to programs, events, and concerts or to research their family tree. They can also experience our collections online through our database or in videos. Through all these venues we reach over 200,000 people each year. The museum also plays an active role in promoting and assisting research beyond the borders of New York and has supported numerous publications, exhibitions, documentaries and other humanities projects both within and outside the United States.
Historic Richmond Town continues to engage the public in a wide variety of ways. Historic Richmond Town is an independent nonprofit cultural institution of the City of New York, which owns a portion of the land and structures that the museum manages. The City supports part of the museum’s operations with public funds from the Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York City Council and the Historic House Trust. The Staten Island Historical Society also receives support from the Staten Island Borough President, New York State Department of Education, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Office of the Borough President, and private contributions from corporations, foundations and friends.
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