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Celebrating 140 Years of the Staten Island Museum

On This Day, November 12, 1881 the Natural Science Section of Staten Island met for the first time, paving the way for the Staten Island Museum

(Staten Island, NY – November 10, 2021) On November 12, 1881, a group of young naturalists came together for the first time with the idea to preserve the natural history of Staten Island. That initial meeting of the Natural Science Association of Staten Island has grown into the Staten Island Museum, now celebrating our 140th year!

Over its 140 year history, the Museum has been a leader in the scientific and cultural life of New York City and a valuable resource for environmentalists, historians, artists and researchers. The Museum’s collection of specimens, objects, documents, artwork, and stories has been instrumental in this work.

“We are grateful to the founders for acting on their love for Staten Island and their instincts to preserve specimens. Now, 140 years later, the current museum staff and Board of Trustees are building upon that legacy and pursuing what it means to be a 21st century museum and New York City’s only remaining cultural institution with collections that span natural science, history, and art. We welcome the public to visit us in person for a stunning site-specific artist installation Jennifer Angus: Magicicada or peruse a new online exhibition 140 Objects to experience the collections from home,” said Janice Monger, Staten Island Museum President and CEO.

140th Anniversary Initiatives

140 Objects – November 12 launches 140 Objects, an online exhibition of fascinating items from the Staten Island Museum’s (SIM) collections chosen by collections staff. The exhibition is also the first installment of SIM’s new online collections database, giving unprecedented access to the museum’s extensive collections. The objects featured capture the breadth of the museum’s interdisciplinary offerings in art, natural science, and history including historical maps, periodical cicada specimen, sculptures, modern art, and historical artifacts. Visit www.statenislandmuseum.org/online-exhibitions/140-objects/ to view the complete exhibition. Generous support for 140 Objects has been provided by The Staten Island Foundation.
Jennifer Angus: Magicicada – currently on view in the galleries is a site-specific artist installation by Jennifer Angus. This immersive environment is filled with exquisite patterns and imaginative vignettes unexpectedly created with hundreds of preserved insects that is inspired by the Staten Island Museum’s world-class collection of cicadas and explores themes of the importance of biodiversity. Magicicada refers to a genus of cicada that was designated in 1925 by SIM co-founder and cicada expert William T. Davis. Visit www.statenislandmuseum.org/exhibitions/jennifer-angus-magicicada/ to learn more. Magicicada is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Open Call to Artists for Yes, And: a survey exhibition of art and artists connected to Staten Island. To highlight artists as we come out of the pandemic, this exhibition will be a current version of the Staten Island Museum’s longstanding tradition of holding juried art shows for more than 70 years. The theme Yes, And suggests the abundance of experience on and perception of Staten Island. This complicated and prodigious borough contains a multitude of narratives that cumulatively offer an earnest impression of life in the United States. Applications are being accepted through December 31, 2021. Visit www.statenislandmuseum.org/exhibitions/yesand/ to learn more and apply.
ACEGen – Access, Collaboration, and Equity in Genealogy – behind the scenes the Staten Island Museum is partnering with the Richard B. Dickenson Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (SIAAHGS) and Frederick Douglass Memorial Park to digitize burial records dating back to the cemetery’s founding in the 1930s. Over the next two years, the ACEGen initiative will make city directories from the museum’s collection directly accessible to the public online and pilot digitizing key collections of historical documents that are under-represented in the public record. ACEGen will begin with a special focus on African American records. The initiative is supported with generous funding from New York Community Trust.

Hylan Plaza
Peter Van Dyck (American, 1978)
Oil on canvas, 2013
Gift of Artist | 2015.4.1

Man Looking up on Ferry 1973-1980

Man Looking up on Ferry
Michael Hanulak (American 1937-2011)
Photograph, 1973-1980
Gift of Micol Hanulak | A2014.2


Staten Island Museum Co-Founder William T. Davis in the attic of the Staten Island Museum with the Cicada Collection.
September, 1928.

Wide angle view of the Magicada gallery

Jennifer Angus: Magicicada at the Staten Island Museum

Amessé Photography, 2021.