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FAQ

HRT LOGO Web BW TRANS SKYSince the institution has been around since 1856 there is a lot to discover about us.  Here is a quick list of those frequently asked questions and the real answers.

  • What is Historic Richmond Town? Open or Close

    IMG 2112Historic Richmond Town is the largest and oldest cultural institution in Staten Island.  It is the official cultural institution of the City of New York that celebrates centuries of diverse American life.  We interpret from the 1600s until today.

    Our mission is to share the American experience.  We do this through programs, events, exhibitions, publications, films and other forms of storytelling.

  • Is it true that Historic Richmond Town is NYC's only restored historic town? Open or Close

    ChristopherH1Yes. Original, real and unique.  We are the only one of its kind in NYC.  

    And we are not just a town.  We also interpret the oldest continuously working family farm in NYC (1810).  We think of ourselves as a little bit of town and country. 

  • What famous event happened here? Open or Close

    Apprentice Program GLTWe do not focus on famous events or historical celebrities.  We do have a few interesting characters and fascinating moments.  But Historic Richmond Town is not about the rich and famous. It's about everyday people who built this country by working together.  Our stories are in the blacksmith, the shopkeepers, the cooper, the judge and even the children.  These are the men and women from different backgrounds who turned opportunity into community and give us valuable lessons for today. Our archives are rich with stories of these ordinary heroes who believed in their town and each other. We celebrate their lives and learn from their experiences.

  • What can I expect when I visit? Open or Close

    Historical MuseumDuring regular hours you can visit the Courthouse, tour the Historical Museum and stroll the grounds on a self-guided tour.  We recommend that you schedule your visit for one of our daily tours when one of our interpreters will guide you through the theme of the day.  For more active visits join us for a special program or event day. These will have specific crafts and exhibitions on display.

  • How long does it take to get to Historic Richmond Town? Open or Close

    HRT on the Map Travel TimeOf course that depends where you're coming from!  If you're taking public transportation from midtown Manhattan please expect a 90 minute trip one way that includes a subway ride, a ferry trip and a bus or train to our Richmondtown site.  It's a pleasant trip filled with interesting bits and pieces of New York to sightsee including views of the New York harbour, the Statue of Liberty, Governor's Island, the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge, Ellis Island, the Staten Island shoreline and downtown Manhattan.

    The same trip by automobile is half the time: 35 - 45 minutes.  We offer free parking so many guests from the area travel by car or by tour bus directly.  Please prepare for the travel time!  We are in the center of the Island, just ten minutes by car from the four bridges.

  • Can we find something to eat on site? Open or Close

    HRT Bennett PartyWe have a quaint eatery called Bennett Café on site.  It's run by the volunteers of our Women's Auxiliary.  They offer homemade light fare and some specialities.  It's just like mom's kitchen.  Like being in...New England...in a small town...in a  bed and breakfast.  Please check HERE for the Café's schedule and special dinner offerings.  

    You may also pack a lunch and picnic here.   There are also a number of restaurants, pizza parlors and delis a few bus stops away. 

  • What's the difference between Staten Island Historical Society and Historic Richmond Town? Open or Close

    billiou2Staten Island Historical Society and Historic Richmond Town are two different names for the same organization.  The institution has a long history that dates back to 1856 when the Staten Island Historical Society was first established.  Over time the Society transformed and today is more popularly known as Historic Richmond Town.  

    To learn more we suggest that you begin with the Overview section and then continue with Sites, Structures and our Online Collections Database.

  • Is it true that the houses were moved there? Open or Close

    voorlezer4Despite the rumors over the years, most of the structures are on their original spots and were preserved where they were. Others were rescued from destruction and moved to the Richmondtown site.  Either way American history has been saved so that future generations can appreciate  those who went before us.  These men and women built this extraordinary country. Their hands built these wooden homes.  If those people and these houses faced tremendous challenges and adversity and survived, then we too can be built to last.  

    America continues to offer freedom and opportunity to every child, no matter what their background or experience.  Just like their forebears, they can contribute to their own community using their modern day skills and talent.  It's their turn to build on the past and create a brighter future.  

    For more information on the history of the structures and the people who lived in them please see the Four Sites | One Museum section and explore.

  • What is the relationship between Historic Richmond Town and the City of NY? Open or Close

    NYCulture


    HHT

    Historic Richmond Town (Staten Island Historical Society) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has a licensing agreement with the City of NewYork to operate and manage most of the land and structures within the museum. In return, Historic Richmond Town receives funding to help care for the land and structures. Within the museum's four sites there are some properties and buildings owned entirely by the museum. All of the collection items and artifacts are

    Historic Richmond Town is unique in that it's the only Cultural Institution of the City Of New York that is also a member of the Historic House Trust. This means that it has very close and productive relationships with the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Parks.owned directly by Historic Richmond Town.

     

  • Why does Historic Richmond Town have almost all the Alice Austen images? Open or Close

    SIHS Austen 50.015.4495 DONOTCOPY  ID703One of the thousands of recently digitized unpublished Austen Photos.Except for very few images, Historic Richmond Town has the entire photographic work of Alice Austen in its collection. The Austen images were donated to Historic Richmond Town (SIHS) by Ms. Austen when she was still alive.  

    The institution has cared for the collection (over 7,000 images!) for over fifty years.  Historic Richmond Town still retains the copyright to 97% of its Austen collection.  Most recently, they were all digitized under a grant from the IMLS.  The entire collection is now in digital form and will be used as the basis for some new projects in the near future.  You can see some of these in our database.  Making them more accessible is part of our mission.

    The former home of Alice Austen, Clear Comfort, is currently a wonderful historic house museum - the Alice Austen House.  This museum is operated separately by the Friends of the Alice Austen House.  The Alice Austen House is open to the public.  We encourage you to visit this picturesque museum.  Historic Richmond Town has supported the Alice Austen House since its inception by advocating for its restoration and loaning almost all of the images on display at the house.  Historic Richmond Town and the Alice Austen House are both members of the Historic House Trust

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Historic Richmond Town
441 Clarke Avenue

Staten Island, NY • 10306


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