As the College of Staten Island celebrates its 60th anniversary, another historical Staten Island organization, with ties to the College, celebrates success.
It has been announced that The Museum of Maritime Navigation and Communication of New York (MMNCNY) has been recognized by New York State’s Department of Education, receiving an official state charter as of July 2016. The Museum is a participating host site to the CUNY Service Corps for the 2016-2017 academic year and has taken part in previous years through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at CSI.
CSI student Alvin Cheriyan ‘18 works as a Web Specialist, focusing on developing the Museum’s Social Media platform through outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as updating the Museum’s Website. Cheriyan, a Computer Science major, is also working on an app design to showcase specific maritime equipment and allow prospective visitors to preview the Museum prior to their visit.
“The plan is to increase the visitors’ knowledge about maritime history and equipment, while also creating interest in wanting to visit the museum. The goal is also to make the Maritime Museum more engaging and interactive for today’s youth,” noted Cheriyan, adding that, “With my skills and intuition, I plan on helping the Maritime Museum become better known to every generation, and the experience has helped me greatly increase my technical, networking, and social skills.”
CSI Accounting major Miriam Mishkin ’17, who has been working on bookkeeping and even grant writing and research for the Museum, said she has learned a lot during her time there, improving skills like using accounting software.
“It has been a great experience so far,” commented Mishkin.
Museum founder and Chairperson Samir Farag, who is also the CSI Foundation Board President, expressed his enthusiasm for the Museum’s place in Staten Island’s rich history.
“Getting this charter was very important not just for the Museum, but for the community. The Museum’s mission is to teach the history of a great industry that boomed on Staten Island and the State of New York years ago with an emphasis on the technological evolution. Technology has drastically changed over the years, and through the pieces in the Museum, you can see the transition from the sextant — the first navigational tool used in the 1800s (and earlier) — to the GPS that is now on our phones, cars, watercraft, and shipping vessels,” said Farag, a New Springville resident originally from Cairo, Egypt, who collected thousands of pieces over the years, many dating back as far back as 1930.
Farag has displayed pieces from his collection in several other locations over the past two years. Currently, he has items at the Staten Island Children’s Museum, the public library in St. George, and in the Working the Waterfront display in the Staten Island Arts headquarters in the St. George Ferry Terminal. Two years ago, in association with the City’s Parks Department, the MMNCNY’s traveling exhibit was showcased at Conference House Park in Tottenville for several months.
The next step in the Museum’s growth is to find a larger, more permanent location for the MMNCNY, according to Farag.