Transforming one of the city's first landmarked buildings into a world-class museum has been no easy feat, but construction of the future home of the Staten Island Museum is nearly complete, and now, organizers there are asking for help in a final push to get it open. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
There's plenty of history inside a 135-year-old Greek revival building at Snug Harbor that once served as a home to Staten Island's weary sailors.
Outside, the bricks that line the facade are original, broken ones replaced with bricks from the building's footing, and the windows date back to 1879, too.
That's why officials at the Staten Island Museum say it's a natural fit for its expansion, a plan some 50 years in the making.
"It's a huge architectural feat to make this happen," said Cheryl Adolph of the Staten Island Museum. "So I think that in the best way, we've preserved the best parts about the building, and we're using it in a way that I think will make Staten Islanders very proud."
The building became a landmark in 1965, so its redevelopment had to be done carefully and thoughtfully. An old staircase is the only thing inside that organizers decided to preserve. Everything else was completely gutted.
It currently runs off generators - electricity will come in a couple of weeks - and the building will be green.
While a $27 million boost from the city helped retrofit the space, the museum needs an additional $315,000 to add final touches like lighting and display cases. A planned gala on May 10 will help reach that goal.
"Let's celebrate all we've accomplished and what we've been able to bring forward together, and then that will give us the opportunity to also have our models in the building, and people can see, they can imagine what it will become," Adolph said.
Twenty-five-thousand square feet of public space will offer visitors a chance to see exhibits that simply couldn't fit in the museum's current space in St. George.
"Most of it's in the museum attic or in the basement floor," said Ed Johnson, director of science. "So gradually, we'll start bring more and more of these things out as time goes by."
If you'd like to buy a ticket to the gala or make a contribution to the fundraising campaign, visit statenislandmuseum.org.