Preservation Magazine, Spring 2016

Transitions: Restored—Staten Island Museum

In each Transitions section of Preservation magazine, we highlight places of local and national importance that have recently been restored, are currently threatened, have been saved from demolition or neglect, or have been lost. Here's one from Spring 2016.

The recently-restored Building A at Sailors' Snug Harbor, now a wing of the Staten Island Museum

photo by: Bruce Damonte

This former dormitory for retired sailors reopened in September 2015 as a new wing of the Staten Island Museum.

In September 2015, the former Building A at Sailors’ Snug Harbor on Staten Island, which was built in 1879 as a dormitory for retired sailors, reopened as an expansion of the Staten Island Museum after a four-year, $30.5 million renovation and restoration.

The City of New York purchased the landmarked building, along with eight others on the Snug Harbor campus, in 1971. The Staten Island Museum (founded in 1881) lobbied for the site to be used as an arts complex, but after the project languished for almost 20 years, it was picked up and championed by museum director Elizabeth Egbert in 2002.

New York–based firm Gluckman Tang Architects created a “building within a building” to achieve the necessary climate control for the museum’s unique collection of paintings, artifacts, and natural history specimens, and specialists cleaned the exterior facade. A new geothermal heating and cooling system helped the building achieve LEED Gold certification.

Katherine Flynn is a former assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.

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