Staatsburgh State Historic Site Mission Statement
Friends of Mills
The mission of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) is to provide safe and enjoyable recreational and interpretive opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors, and to be responsible stewards of our valuable natural, historic, and cultural resources.
At Staatsburgh State Historic Site, OPRHP is committed to the preservation of the mansion; its collections; and its associated landscape, outbuildings, and archaeological resources. OPRHP is further committed to the interpretation of these collections and the history of the property to the broadest possible audience. Furthermore, it is the mission of OPRHP at Staatsburgh to maintain the historic estate for public enjoyment and passive recreational use in such a manner that Staatsburgh\’s natural, historic, and cultural resources shall not be endangered or compromised.
Staatsburgh, is a New York State Historic Site located within the boundaries of Mills-Norrie State Park. It is an elegant example of the great estates built by America’s financial and industrial leaders during the Gilded Age.
A 25-room Greek Revival structure was built on the site in 1832 by Morgan Lewis and his wife, Gertrude Livingston, replacing an earlier house that had burned down. This second house was inherited by Ruth Livingston Mills, wife of noted financier and philanthropist Ogden Mills.
In 1895, Mr. and Mrs. Mills commissioned the prestigious New York City architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White to remodel and enlarge their Staatsburg home. After completion in 1896, the house was transformed into a Beaux-Arts mansion of 65 rooms and 14 bathrooms. Its exterior was embellished with balustrades, pilasters, floral swags, and a massive portico. The rooms were furnished with elaborately carved and gilded furniture, fine oriental rugs, silk fabrics, and a collection of art objects from Europe, ancient Greece, and the Far East.
In 1938, the house and 192 acres were given to the State of New York by Gladys Mills Phipps, daughter of Ruth and Ogden Mills. Regular tours of the mansion are offered from the beginning of April to late October, with special Christmas programs and hours in December. Group and school tours are offered year-round.
Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park was donated to the state in 1934 by a sister of Mrs. Norrie. In 1933 a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was established at the park. CCC projects in the park included construction of the road system, parking lots, the railroad underpass, and the Norrie Inn (now the DCC Environmental Museum).
Staatsburgh has a variety of programs to offer school groups. These programs can be presented either on site at the mansion or in your classroom. The programs allow students the opportunity to explore the cultural, technological, scientific, architectural, and economic components of the Gilded Age, the years from 1876 to 1917, when great fortunes were made.
Programs Offered by Staatsburgh
The education staff at Staatsburgh is prepared to offer programs at the mansion, or in our waterfront classroom at our historic Powerhouse, or in your classroom throughout the year. In addition to our regular program offerings, Staatsburgh offers a very special holiday program during the month of December.
THREE WAYS TO PARTICIPATE
Come For the Day
Our facility is available for all-day field trips. Choose an ecology program in the morning. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the scenic Hudson River and schedule an activity in the mansion for the afternoon. Cost: $2.00 a child, Chaperones free.
Spend Part of Your Day
Spend either the morning or afternoon enjoying one of our educational programs. If time permits, enjoy lunch on the park grounds. Most programs can be delivered rain or shine. Cost: $1.00 a child, Chaperones Free.
Many of our programs are designed to be portable. If your circumstances will not allow you to bring your class for an on-site visit, we can bring it to you. Call for more information and availability. Cost: $30.00 a program
Digging Through History.
Students will become historical archaeologists while learning procedures for examining different primary source materials. Hands-on activities allow them to unearth artifacts and discover their meanings. A follow-up DBQ is available for further use in the classroom. Grades 3-6
Conversations in History:
Eavesdrop on history! Listen to several different conversations at the mansion occurring during World War I. Hear how the war affected both the “upstairs” and “downstairs” inhabitants. A related DBQ about World War I is available for later use in the classroom. Grades 5-12
It’s a Gilded Life:
Learn about life in the Gilded Age. Choose from any of the following topics to create an individualized program to meet your curriculum needs. It’s a Servant’s Life; Walk the Halls with Mrs. Harper; The Industrial Age; Etiquette; Immigration; Clothing of the Era; Historical Games. The length of this program is determined by the number of students participating and your time availability. It can be tailored for any grade level.
NEW! Explore the Hudson River:
Learn about the rich history of the Hudson River. Choose any of the following topics to coordinate with your curriculum needs. Overview; Geography; Native Americans; European Exploration and Settlement; Transportation; Industrialization; Pollution and Environmental Issues. Hands-on activities are incorporated throughout the program. The content and length of this individualized program is determined by your interests and time constraints.
A Gilded Age Christmas:
Visiting classes tour the mansion with Mrs. Harper, the housekeeper, who will tell the students about Christmas and the Mills family. Students also participate in a hands-on workshop where they will make a take-home memento related to our historic Christmas theme. Offered throughout the month of December. Grades 3 – 5. Cost: $2 per person.
Conversations in History:
Classes “eavesdrop” on Mr. and Mrs. Mills, their guests, and their servants as they discuss the effect of WWI on their lives. This program is presented in the rooms of Staatsburgh. Grades 7 – 9. Cost: $1 per person.
Learn about the animals living in our surrounding forests and their woodland habitats. Activities include a puppet show, nature walk, hands on activities and games. Grades K-3
Frog in the Bog:
Children learn about the food web through a puppet show based on the story A Frog in the Bog. Hands-on activities and outdoor games teach the importance of our local wetlands. Grades PK-2
Insects play an essential role in our environment. Myths and negative impressions about our creeping crawling friends will be dispelled. Activities include outdoor explorations, hands-on activities, and games. Grades K-4
Skull and Bones:
Children will examine real animal skulls and teeth. As dental detectives they will discover the relationship between the different types of teeth and what an animal eats. The concepts of prey-predator and carnivore-herbivore are addressed in this program. Grades 2-6
River Water Scientists:
Discover the mysteries of the Hudson River. Catch and identify big fish and small plankton. Activities include stream ecology, river seining, and microscope use. Grades 4-6
Learn about the earth’s water supply and the water cycle. Games and hands-on activities emphasize the importance of conserving and protecting this natural resource. Grades K-6
For further information or to schedule a program, contact:
Or phone at (845) 889-8851
The education programs offered by Staatsburgh staff are designed to meet the Learning Standards for New York State.
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Old Post Road – Staatsburg, NY 12580 – (845) 889-8851