Location: 75 Stuyvesant Place, Staten Island
Enriching the cultural lives of people in our community is the primary purpose of SIIAS. Founded in 1881, SIIAS’ mission was influenced by the ideals of that time, which championed enlightened citizenship. We continue our founders’ vision by focusing our efforts on educational programming and exhibitions where display objects are both physically and intellectually accessible. As New York’s only general interest museum, we exhibit, interpret and preserve our two million natural science specimens, artworks, historical objects, archival documents, photographs, and books for current and future generations.
As the oldest cultural organization on Staten Island, the Institute has been instrumental in the founding of many of the cultural organizations. These include the New York Botanical Garden (our co-founder Nathaniel Lord Britton became its first director), the Staten Island Zoo (originally the Staten Island Zoological Society, a Section of the Institute in 1933), the Staten Island Historical Society, and the Staten Island Children’s Museum. Additionally the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and its 19th Greek Revival historically landmarked buildings would not exist today if the Institute’s trustees and members had not led the movement to save it from demolition in the 1960s.
Originally the Natural Science Association of Staten Island, the Institute also greatly impacted Staten Island contributed to the preservation of the Greenbelt and establishment of environmental other organizations. The founders’ environmental activism first lead them to found a Bird Sanctuary at what is now the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge (after our co-founder). The Parks Department acknowledged our expertise in natural resource conservation and environmental education by asking the Institute to “assume full responsibility and control ... of a program covering the various aspects of a nature study and conservation center” at High Rock
Park in 1989.
Since 1905, the Staten Island Institute of Arts & Sciences receives support from the City of New York which owns its historic building and provides funds for the operation of the Institute through the Department of Cultural Affairs.
Founded in 1881, the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences (SIIAS) has been providing school programs since 1907. As a general museum, we offer children a unique interdisciplinary interpretation of the world by drawing upon our collections and exhibitions in art, natural science, and cultural history.