LaTourette Park & Golf Course

Unique Historic Collection Now Coming To You Through Cyberspace: The Online Collections Database Of The Staten Island Historical Society

Monday, March 1, 2010
No. 10

The Staten Island Historical Society has announced the launch of its Online Collections Database featuring over 100 selections from the extensive clothing collection at Historic Richmond Town. The Online Collections Database enables virtual visitors to study selected highlights in addition to the objects on view in museum galleries and historic house settings. This new resource can be visited by using the New! Online Collections Database link found on the home page of Historic Richmond Town’s website.

Objects that are featured on the website include women’s dresses and wedding gowns, men’s and women’s military uniforms, infant’s and toddler’s dresses, and women’s petticoats and other undergarments. The styles and periods represented range from Colonial American, through the Civil War era, and onward to the 21st century. Designer fashions, occupational clothing, and sports attire can all be found, and the stories of individual wearers add human interest to the artifacts.

In all, the Staten Island Historical Society’s clothing collection contains approximately 7,900 items of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and accessories. According to Chief Curator Maxine Friedman, “We chose clothing as the first portion of the museum’s holdings to be made available digitally, due to strong scholarly interest and also because viewers benefit from seeing clothing mounted as it would appear on the human body. Online access also protects the fragile original materials from the risks of long-term display or repeated handling.” Ms. Friedman led a project team of several curators and historians at each photo shoot, ensuring the pieces were handled with utmost care and presented in a historically appropriate manner. Future plans call for collections of furniture, ceramics, and art to be added to the website as the online collection grows.

The Society’s collections tell the story of the American experience through the lives of Staten Islanders. Portions of the collection are displayed at Historic Richmond Town, New York City’s historic village and museum complex (441 Clarke Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10306). The Online Collections Database was made possible by a generous grant from The Coby Foundation, in partnership with The Historic House Trust of New York City. Images for the Online Collections Database were created by V. Amessé Photography.

Historic Richmond Town is a member of the Historic House Trust (HHT). Working with Parks and the nonprofit boards of each house, HHT’s mission is to restore, interpret, and promote the 23 sites in its collection. From modest farmers’ cottages to grand mansions, the houses are located in all five boroughs and chronicle a wide range of cultural, historical, and architectural aspects of New York City.

To visit Historic Richmond Town’s home page:

To visit the new Online Collections Database:

Contact: Vickie Karp/Meghan Lalor (Parks/HHT) (212) 360-1311

Maxine Friedman/Sarah Clark

(Staten Island Historical Society) 718.351.1611, ext. 271

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