It is the mission of the Staten Island Institute of Arts & Sciences to contribute to the enrichment of cultural life on Staten Island by identifying, collecting, preserving, researching, exhibiting, and interpreting collection objects and themes of artistic merit, scientific, and historical value relating primarily to the people and environment of Staten Island while simultaneously broadening community enrichment through outreach educational programs for a regional audience.
The Staten Island Museum provides exhibitions and educational programs for about 65,000 school children and adults annually. We conduct scientific research such as bird and butterfly counts as well as research on the flora and fauna of Staten Island. We provide public events for artists including the exhibition for local artists and the Annual Fence Show, New York City's second oldest outdoor arts show since 1950. The History Archives & Library of the Museum has been an active collector since 1885 with over 15,000 current and historical books and approximately 100,000 including atlases, maps, videotape, microfilm, business records, local newspapers, oral history interviews on videotape and audio, and individual donor collections pertaining to Staten Island. The Museum annually installs approximately six art, history, and natural science exhibitions in three galleries at its main site and at off-site locations. All of our exhibitions are open to the public and serve as uniquely enriching supplements to our children's educational programs. Our major projects include Title 1 Education, the Ferry Initiative, the Mastering Science Education (M.S.E) and Family Science program. The Title 1 Education program offers free and reduced rate educational programming to economically disadvantaged children from Title 1 schools. Over 600 Title 1 school groups (15,000 students) participate in lessons developed according to NY State Learning Standards in the fields of arts, natural science and local history. The Ferry Initiative offers a newly developed bi-lingual Ferry Tour for Children to 50 school groups and to 50 family groups. The primary audience would be school children (and their families) from local schools with a high percentage of students of Mexican origin or heritage. Based on lessons learnt from implementing the successful Mastering Arts Education (M.A.E.), we plan to develop and implement a Mastering Science Education (M.S.E) program during FY 2006-07 in response to the need of hands-on science education in elementary schools. The M.S.E. program will make a huge difference on how natural sciences are integrated into the core curriculum at elementary schools. It will help teachers become more articulate and confident in the subject matter, which is typically of great interest among the young students. We believe the demand for this program will further increase as the federal No Child Left Behind law, which requires states to test students? science knowledge is implemented starting 2007-08. The Family Science program offers an opportunity for families to work together with hands-on lessons that promote understanding of natural and physical sciences. Building on the history of the museum, as place of research, conservation, and preservation for the last 125 years, we hope to make this public program a first step for families that want to pursue science as a calling, i.e. careers in science, and simply vital aspect of modern life.