U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) today announced that the Staten Island Museum will receive $11,715 in federal grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The funding will be provided through IMLS’s Museums for America (MFA) program, which supports projects that strengthen a museum’s ability to serve its local community. Specifically, the Staten Island Museum will use the MFA funding to preserve and digitize historical land indentures and real estate documents, including wills and land deeds issued under King James I, Oliver Cromwell, King George I, and King George II. The documents will allow researchers to glean historically significant information about land grants and their connection to early American Settlers. It will also help reveal possible ties between current New York residents and their British ancestors.
“With this federal grant, the Staten Island Museum will be able to preserve history better than ever and visitors will be able to marvel at exquisite documents in an innovative way,” said Senator Schumer. “Digitizing this exhibit will make the museum more accessible and technologically advanced. As the borough’s oldest cultural institution, I look forward to watching the Staten Island Museum continue to grow and become an even more vital piece of New York’s cultural fabric.”
“This investment in the Staten Island Museum will help expand exciting new learning and cultural opportunities for New Yorkers especially on Staten Island,” said Senator Gillibrand. “With this funding, the museum will not only be able to preserve these seven original historical documents but also add to their online collection for public display. I will always fight in the Senate to make sure that we invest in high quality programs that preserve our history.”
Congressman Donovan said, “The Staten Island Museum enriches our local culture, and it’s a testament to the staff’s great work that the museum will receive this competitive grant. I’m proud to represent an organization that does such great work to preserve history.”
Staten Island Museum Board Chair David Businelli said, “The Staten Island Museum, which last year opened its new location at Snug Harbor, is thrilled to have received the funding to treat and digitize the seven land indentures which will be used by researchers and scholars and will be accessible to the public on the Museum’s website and physically at the Staten Island Museum’s History Archives & Library, which serves hundreds of people annually.”
The MFA grant program distributed approximately $21 million to 206 projects this year.