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Director's Chair

Executive Director, Ed Wiseman, shares his thoughts about running the largest, oldest and most fun cultural institution on Staten Island.



Uncorked-Happy-Gals-700pxThis past Saturday was our Uncorked! fine food and fun fest. We think of this event as a stroll in the park as you relax, eat and drink in culture. It's a bit of San Diego in NYC. Blue and red topped canopies spread out over 25 acres on a beautiful spring afternoon, with the top chefs serving the best food in the area.

The community and out of town guests really enjoyed it. Guests have been coming by the thousands each year to get a taste at this annual festival. This year we were surprised by an overwhelming turnout by 50% over the banner year before. It wasn't easy keeping up with the demand and we are already making plans to handle the larger crowds for next year.

We are often asked how do we attract so many people. After all, our events and programs have helped double our attendance these last few years. That's an amazing feat for a history organization in a decade where national attendance is declining.

Our short answer is that we employ a simple two-part business philosophy here. First, give the public what it wants. Make 'em happy. Second, we make American history and culture Affordable and Accessible for All. We call it our A++ philosophy.

Success = Affordable + Accessible + for All

We work very hard to be more friendly and less expensive than a major league baseball game. For fewer dollars you get hours of fun. And you soak in American culture from 17th century until today.


More Work Thoughts

I shared in my previous post that I believe that the acknowledgement of your work is not as important as the work itself. I've stood on stage many times, been on TV too, accepting awards on my own behalf or with friends and colleagues. But the most satisfying moments were when I sat in the audience and my colleagues were honored for their work. When your writer, editor, camera or sound person wins an Emmy for work on the project you created together, and when they win multiple times, it makes you feel that the stuff you're working on is really good and everyone is benefiting from it. Your efforts have contributed to a success that everyone has shared in. Just another thought on the subject.

The Work is the Thing

Emmy AwardOver the years, as a director and producer in the film and TV world, I had the honor of winning awards for the projects I participated in. It's wonderful to be recognized for your work. Awards make you feel good. They validate your creativity and talent. People cheer for you. But when you walk off the red carpet and have a moment to take a higher view, you realize that your work is the same whether someone gives you an award or not.

Great work is a product of talent and perseverance. We may toil for years and never be recognized. Award or not, the work still stands. Its worth is based on its own merits. When we take a deep breath and step back we realize that the work itself matters more than the awards.

It's our craft work that contributes to the community, elevates it and makes it more valuable. The awards just sit on a shelf somewhere, in the dark waiting for a spotlight. The awards may cause you to grow in stature - and that's cool - but when the work itself shines it carries its own spotlight.


Start of Something Cedar

NY1 Covers the Roof RestorationNY1 Covers the Roof RestorationIt's been an exciting week.  We began restoring the roof on the oldest house on Staten Island (and one of the oldest in New York) the Billiou-Stillwell-Perine House.  It's great when you can put your resources into something tangible that the public will appreciate. The work is very exciting but perhaps what touches me the most is the support that local folks poured into this project.  While some very old homes in the New York area can only afford to patch up here and there, our community took the need to task and raised enough money to restore the whole roof.


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Historic Richmond Town
441 Clarke Avenue

Staten Island, NY • 10306


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