Staten Island Historian to Present 'Italianate Architecture on Staten Island' at Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, 1/19
On Sunday, January 19 at 2 p.m., Staten Island historian Barnett Shepherd will offer a presentation "Italianate Architecture on Staten Island." Inspired by Italian Renaissance town houses found in Florence, the Italianate style of architecture was popular in mid-19th century America, and features heavily cut stone work, elaborate window and door surrounds, projecting eaves and elaborate cornices at the roofline. American architects of the 19th century adapted these features for both public and domestic buildings-Buildings A and E at Sailors' Snug Harbor were built in this style in 1879 and 1880, and there are many private houses in the Italianate style on Staten Island. Examples include 66 Harvard Avenue, built around 1850, and the imposing Gustave Meyer House at 2475 Richmond Road in New Dorp.
Barnett Shepherd was born in Greenville Mississippi. He taught art history at the University of Florida in Gainesville and received a Master's Degree in art history from Indiana University before moving to Staten Island in 1972. From 1978-1981 he was research associate at the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, where he specialized in Staten Island's historic architecture, directing a comprehensive survey of the borough's historic architecture that culminated in a major exhibition and publication "Staten Island: An Architectural History." He is founder and Executive Director of the Preservation League of Staten Island. He has spent many years researching the history of Sailors' Snug Harbor and in 1979 authored the book "Sailors' Snug Harbor 1801-1976." He has also published several scholarly articles on its architecture. Executive Director of the Staten Island Historical Society from 1981 to 2000, in recent years Mr. Shepherd has written papers and lectured on Daniel D. Tompkins, and in May 1995 curated an exhibition on Tompkins in the Historical Museum at Historic Richmond Town. With Lois A.H. Mosley he co-authored "Sandy Ground Memories," a book about the African American community that began on Staten Island in 1850, and he also wrote "Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built." His latest book, "Staten Island Scenery: Paintings, Prints, Drawings and Photographs, 1679-1900" will be published by the Staten Island Historical Society and the Staten Island Museum.
Mr. Shepherd taught Staten Island history at the Discovery Institute of the College of Staten Island, CUNY, from 2003 to 2006, and he researched the historic buildings of St. Paul's Avenue, Stapleton, for Historic District designation by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. And his interest in historic architecture is not just intellectual-Mr. Shepherd resides in the ca. 1835 Judge Jacob Tysen House, a Staten Island Historical Society property located in the Snug Harbor National Register of Historic Places Historic District where he gardens and collects art and antiques.
Admission of $10 includes a light reception.
The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum was the home of Antonio Meucci, the true inventor of the telephone, and a refuge to Giuseppe Garibaldi, the legendary hero who championed the unification of Italy. For over 50 years the museum has fulfilled its mission to preserve the legacies of these great men, and to promote understanding of the Italian-American heritage through cultural, artistic and educational programs and classes. The historic Italian landmark on Staten Island, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum is owned by the Sons of Italy Foundation and administered by the NYSOSIA?GMM?Board of Commissioners.
Regular museum hours are 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 per person, members and children under 10 are free. Call ahead for groups of 10 or more. The first floor of the museum is wheelchair accessible, but the restroom is on the second floor.