The Staten Island Museum has realized a dream 50 years in the making: the expansion to Snug Harbor Cultural Center, a nationally significant historic site that was saved from demolition through the leadership and efforts of Museum members in 1965.
In June 2011, the Museum broke ground and began the construction of a 21st century, fully climate-controlled museum facility, housed within the interior of a 19th century landmarked structure that had been built in 1879 to serve as a dormitory for “aged, worn out and retired seamen.”
After 4 years of construction, the $24.4 million City-funded renovation of Building A into the new home of the Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor is complete. The Museum opened to the public on Saturday, September 19, 2015.
The photos above will give you a sneak peek into the construction progress. To get to the next photo in the series, click NEXT at the bottom right hand corner of each picture. Enjoy!
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Renovated and restored by Gluckman Tang Architects and primary exhibitions designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, the Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor provides over 18,000 square feet of useable space, including four museum-quality galleries, an auditorium/performance venue, and classroom space for school field trips. The Museum will be the first historic landmark building on Staten Island to earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the US Green Building Council and meet the stringent environmental standards of the American Museum Association. The new facility utilizes a closed-loop geothermal system, which uses the earth’s constant temperature and a series of circulating pumps, to heat and cool the building, minimizing the need for fossil fuels and reducing the Museum’s annual operating costs.
Gluckman Tang’s design conceives the project as a “building within a building” to achieve the required environmental conditions appropriate for a museum. With the exception of one historic cast-iron staircase, this necessitated the removal of Building A’s neglected interiors and compromised structure, leaving only the original roof and exterior walls with their historic windows and surrounds intact. A new steel frame was erected inside the building’s shell. New perimeter interior walls create a liner that establishes proper thermal and moisture protection. The existing windows and surrounds were restored. New full-height interior windows, that maintain the environmental criteria and introduce natural light into the galleries, allow the visitor to view the historic windows and surrounds.
The project was anticipated with the renovation of an adjacent building into a new home for the Museum’s History Archives and Library (2009), the establishment of Staten Island History Center, and the creation of the Art Conservation Studio (2008).
Watch the video below to go underground with the Staten Island Museum and learn how geothermal heating and cooling works!