The campaign was conceived by Museum Director Michela Traetto as a permanent way for individuals to help preserve the historic landmark while promoting Italian culture, and to "...remember their loved ones in a real and lasting way for generations to come."

Joseph Sciame, a national/state past president of the OSIA and a current co-chair of the NYSOSIA Board of Commissioners recently stated: "The Brick Walkway project will help support the Museum and position it to meet the fiscal challenges of the future...enabling us to continue to carry out our mission of heritage, culture and language. It is most coincidental that this fundraising effort takes place during a special anniversary celebration, focused on Giuseppe Garibaldi, a prime protagonist in the then unification of Italy."

In 1850, exiled freedom fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi lived for a time in the Staten Island home of Antonio Meucci-the true inventor of the telephone. In 1860, after his return to Italy, Garibaldi, with a force of 1,089 volunteers, initiated the movement that led to the creation of the Italy we know today.

The November 5 celebration marks the completion of only the first phase of the project. The ultimate goal is to install 1,089 bricks-representing the 1,089 volunteers who fought with Garibaldi. Bricks are still being offered for sale, at $100, $250 and $1,000 each, and can be purchased for oneself, or given as a gift to remember ancestors, recognize children or grandchildren, or commemorate an event. The bricks can be personalized with a name, special date or brief message, and will be a permanent memorial to those who are named, at one of Staten Island's most historic sites, where future visitors will see the support of Italian heritage and culture for generations to come.

The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum has been owned by the OSIA since 1919. In 1956, under the care of the Sons of Italy Foundation, Inc., the Museum was opened on a limited basis displaying an exhibit memorializing the historic house where Meucci gave refuge to Garibaldi. In 1985, a new exhibit was created by a professional staff, and the Museum expanded its hours and educational offerings. In the quarter century since, the Museum has represented and nourished the spirit and soul of the Italian-American community through a comprehensive program of Italian language classes and cultural events for all ages. For almost a century, the OSIA has fulfilled its mission at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum to preserve the legacies of these great men, and to promote understanding of Italian-American heritage through the cultural, artistic and educational programs and classes offered there.  For information on how to engrave one's name in the history of the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, visit www.garibaldimeuccimuseum.org.

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; however, a restroom is on the second floor. At press time, program funding has been provided through the Order Sons of Italy in America; by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Richmond County Savings Foundation; Northfield Bank Foundation; Coccia Foundation; JP Morgan Chase Regrant in partnership with the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) and by grants allocated by New York City Council members Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo.