Think of a small-scale version of Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg (the polar opposite of Brooklyn's scene-y Williamsburg), and you'll understand the appeal of Historic Richmond Town, NYC's only living-history museum. This 100-acre village, constructed from 1695 to the 19th century, was the site of Staten Island's original county seat. Fifteen of the site's 27 historic buildings are open to the public; more than $12 million has been raised for ongoing renovations to many of the structures. Highlights include the Gothic Revival Courthouse, the one-room General Store, and the Voorlezer's House, the oldest schoolhouse in America (it served as a residence and place of worship, in addition to an elementary school). Also on-site is the Staten Island Historical Society Museum, built in 1848 as the second county clerk's and surrogate's office, which now houses Staten Island artifacts plus changing exhibits about the island.
You may see staff in period dress demonstrate Early American crafts and trades such as tinsmithing or basket making, though the general era meant to be re-created is 1820–1860. December brings a monthlong Christmas celebration; check the website for other special events and educational programs held throughout the year.