While the South has many heritage museums that display collections of historic buildings - there are some stunning ones in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas & Texas - the North has much fewer. Historic Richmond Town in Staten Island attempts to show the rural history of the island, & does so wonderfully. There are over 2 dozen buildings here, some from as early as the 17th century, brought from various parts of the island; a few are in situ [on the original site]. While you need to purchase a guided tour to see the interiors of the houses, you can see them well, any time of day, from the outside, which doesn't cost a penny. And this is a rare occasion when you could be grudgingly forgiven for leaving the architectural guidebook AIA GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY in your hotel or home, since the superb signs outside the houses tell you more than the book possibly could. But do pick up a free map & brochure at the ticket office/gift store. The buildings are outrageously picturesque, & include farm houses, artisans' houses, a church, a schoolhouse, a fine old courthouse (in situ), & even 2 old preserved outhouses - seldom seen in this kind of place! Opposite the courthouse, don't miss the in situ building used as a historical museum, with a small but lovingly presented collection of historic Staten Islandiana & bric-a-brac, including a gorgeous collection of children's & babies' items from 1820 to 1910 - little gloves, shoes, socks, bibs, carriages & toys - a must for anyone who has, works with, or simply likes, little children!
You can get here by bus, but it's quite simple to take the Staten Island Railway (SIR) from the ferry terminal; the train, which does not connect with the subway, is similar to a subway train, & costs the same, MetroCards accepted; if you return by train, the fare is not collected. Get off at Oakwood, & walk west on Cedarwood Avenue, left (south-west) on Amboy Road, & right on Clarke Avenue. At the latter intersection is a small monument to Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer who was the first human to visit the South Pole. On nearby Lighthouse Avenue, there is a Museum of Tibetan Art.
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