Housed in a historic building just a short walk from the Staten Island Ferry, the Staten Island Museum is a small Smithsonian-style arts and science music that feature a wonderful mixture on the cultural and ecological history of Staten Island.

Wonderfully-curated displays covert the Lenape native people of Staten Island, the history and founding of the Staten Island Ferry, and a display of local flora and fauna from the area. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the museum has a charm that is will make you want to return again and again. You’ll also love the slower pace of Staten Island, a nice change from the dizzying pace of Manhattan.

The Staten Island Museum began in 1881, when a group of 14 young Staten Island naturalists had the foresight to pool their nature collections and begin research out of a concern that “the rapid growth of the community has obliterated many of (Staten Island’s) most interesting natural objects.” Long before eco-tourism and the entire green movement, the group aspired to keep a record for future generations against the anticipated loss of plant and animal species, and advocate for environmental preservation.

By 1905, the founders expanded the goals of the museum to include works of art and important historic documents to providing a cultural education for the residents of the Island community. As the Staten Island Museum grew throughout the 20th century, it became a center for intellectual and scientific discourse, and became instrumental in the founding of the Staten Island Zoo, the Staten Island Historical Society, and the New York Botanical Garden. Today, the Staten Island Museum continues to build its collection of authentic specimens, photographs and field notes of Staten Island’s ever-changing biodiversity which spans more than 150 years.

The Staten Island Museum’s new building will add an additional 10,000 square-feet to its space, and will enable curators to add artwork and natural science objects that have been out of the public eye for many decades. The museum’s permanent exhibits feature:

Lenape: The First Staten Islanders – Artifacts from the Museum’s renowned Lenape Collection with pieces that date back to the Paleo-Indians of more than 10,000 years ago.

Wall of Insects – Fascinating butterflies, cicadas, and beetles from the permanent collection burst with colors and different shapes.

Staten Island Ferry: The First 100 Years of Municipal Service – Coinciding with the Ferry’s Centennial Anniversary in 2005, the Staten Island Museum opened a new permanent exhibition celebrating one of NYC’s best-loved icons.