Staten Island, one of New York City's five boroughs, has a long history and community of Italian culture. Italian immigrants making their way to America found a haven on Staten Island and combined their heritage from the Old World withtheir adopted New World home. Today, Staten Island has a thriving and close-knit Italiancommunity that still maintains many old structures in homage to Italy. Among these is the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum; an unassuming building that houses many Italian-American treasures and pieces of history. When staying on Staten Island, taking advantage of the special museum is a wonderful way to learn about the history of Italian-Americans and the struggles theyencountered on their journey to the New World.

Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) was an adventurer, explorer, soldier and revolutionary. After spending years sailing to Russia, fighting as a rebel in Brazil, becoming an outcast and being forced to flee Italy, he ended up immigrating to America. While in America, Garibaldi worked as a candle maker. Antonio Meucci is considered the true inventor of the telephone; the museum is amemorial to honor these remarkable men. Spending a day touring this historic home and taking advantage of the community events at the museum, one can experience the rich Italian heritage of America.

Throughout the summer months of 2012, The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum hosts "Il Circo" - Italian for "The Circus." Il Circo is an art exhibit by Staten Island's Italian-American artist Larry DiSalvo that is constructed entirely of discarded junk and scraps. DiSalvo makes the junk into whimsical characters that are relevant to Italian culture. The Museum also offers "Cabaret Nights," with onehaving been hosted in July 2012 and others coming up. Italian-American musicians like LouisPrima, Jr. and Sara Spiegel perform old and new standards, including "Just Gigilo" for thedelight of the audience.

Beyond events, the museum offers regularly scheduled Italian language classes, children'sprograms and guided historical tours. The guided historical tours pair the group with a guide that gives interpretation and insight into the region, museum, displays and the men whom themuseum honors, Meucci and Garibaldi. This makes for a fantastic way to absorb all of the interesting facts and stories of these two men. Reservations are required for a historical tour. Italian language classes are available for visitors, with a half-day intro to Italian offered every Saturday between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm. Kid's programs include hands on displays about the adventures of Garibaldi and guided scavenger hunts around the grounds.

Posted by Dil Gillani on
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