WHAT IS HISTORIC RICHMOND TOWN?
The purpose of the Staten Island Historical Society is to create opportunities for the public to explore the diversity of the American experience, especially that of Staten Island and its neighboring communities from the colonial period to the present. To accomplish this the Society:
Operates and interprets Historic Richmond Town, the largest and most
complete historic village in the City of New York
Collects and preserves the materials of everyday life including the artifacts,
archives and buildings that tell the story.
Conducts and promotes research based on the museum's collections
Shares the collection and knowledge with the public through creative and engaging interpretative activities
Historic Richmond Town is a 501(c)3 educational non-profit
also known as the Staten Island Historical Society.
Our mission gives us the freedom to explore decades of our rich and diverse American life.
We are not limited to a famous event. We are not tied to a historical celebrity. Our region's history is a platform to share about American growth through the centuries.
We go back to the Lenape people, through the settlement of America, into the colonial period, through the American Revolution, on to the Civil War, into the Industrial Revolution, through the 20th century and up until today. We share rural and farm life, town living and the city-suburban relationship. New York City is our backyard, Richmondtown our front porch. Our mission gives us the freedom to explore decades of our rich and diverse American life. It's the stuff that everyone can relate to - no matter their age or background.
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. The museum's focus is to create opportunities for the public to explore the diversity of the American experience from the colonial period to the present.
It's a remarkable living history town and museum complex.
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, with the help of Borough Historian Loring McMillen, 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 350 years of history and culture. That complex includes NYC's oldest continuously working family farm and two other historic sites - including one of the oldest original houses in the country. There is no other place like it in New York City. Over 100,000 people visit the site each year to enjoy tours, education programs, museum exhibitsand special events.
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.
There is no other place like it in New York City.
While many museums use structures to showcase their artifacts, ourstructuresare 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.