We often receive calls, cards and emails from friends and other well-meaning folks who want to know why we haven't repaired this building, conserved that historic home or fixed up a certain part of our sites. Of course, the primary reason is money. It costs to keep American history alive. Even with all the popular events we produce and tightly monitored finances, it takes extra funds to run a museum that sits on over 100 acres on four sites with over 30 original historic structures dating back centuries.
To grasp this please think about how much hard work and money it takes for you to keep up your own home that's likely less than 100 years old. Now multiply that cost almost forty times and by centuries. Then add to that all the other basic expenses museums are responsible for like programs, safety, equipment, supplies, insurance, etc. It really costs. Many friends have understood this and have been generous enough to donate funds or organize fundraisers. Friends who share their concern are valuable, friends who are concerned and then do something about it are precious.
All of these friends have has helped us raise needed funds over the past several years. Currently, over $12,000,000 has been secured. These capital funds will bring major improvements to Historic Richmond Town - beginning in 2014. Most of these projects will take place on our main campus - Richmondtown - but our other sites will be receiving attention too. All of these improvements are designed to help Historic Richmond Town become an even more enjoyable place to visit.
While some institutions are planning one or two major projects, we have eight great things happening soon. We thank our friends and supporters who have made these possible:
- Over the next two years we will be revamping the inner streets of Richmondtown. All our utilities will move below ground. The services to all our buildings will be upgraded. The entire site will made greener and more energy efficient. We will be able to monitor our usage more carefully. The streets will be resurfaced with a more pleasing, uniform, historic park-like material. The current street lighting will be replaced with historic style lamps and poles that will feature LED lighting and give the town a greater historic look and feel. The current sidewalks will be replaced and new walks will be added. The entire project is designed to make the sites more accessible and pleasing for visitors and guests.
- Historic Richmond Town was entrusted with dozens of horse-drawn carriages over the last century. Many of these need conservation and repair. They are currently stored throughout our sites and at off-site locations. These carriages will be brought together under three new roofs back home, on our Richmondtown site. These storage buildings will help us preserve the carriages and begin serious efforts to conserve these classic American artifacts. These buildings will be completed by 2015.
- The Britton Cottage is the oldest building on our Richmondtown site c. 1670. It has been funded for a restoration. When completed in 2014 the historic home will be purposed for use as part of our new new strategic plan.
- The Third County Courthouse Lobby will be refurbished and re-opened as the Laura Patrick Welcome Center. This redesign is much needed with the doubling of our attendance over the last few years. The new Laura Patrick Welcome Center serve our visitors in a much better way.
- We will complete the roof restoration of the library in PS 28. This vital room holds precious documents related to the birth and life of America, New York City and Staten Island. This project will make the area water tight and more appealing to researchers and appointment visitors.
- The Kruser-Finley House will be restored in the spring of 2014 following the fire in November
of 2013. We expect the 1790 home will rise from the rubble and become a new favorite among our guests.
- The Billiou-Stillwell-Perine House (c. 1661-2) will receive a roof repair in early 2014. This will help make the building more secure and watertight. it will be a prelude to further restoration on the building. } Our goal is for school children to tour once more one of the oldest original homes in the country (and the oldest on SI).
- The Judge Jacob Tysen House will see a much needed roof repair and column stabilization during the next year. This project will make the building safer and be the first step for further restoration.
Please keep an eye on us over the next three years. We will continue to bring you great programming and events while we undergo a physical transformation. This is all because of friends like you. Thank you.