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Message du président



Good day one and all, friends, supporters, and colleagues who care as to our Museum’s status, a home built in 1843 and in the hands of the largest and oldest Italian American organization since 1919.  The Garibaldi Meucci Museum is truly a gem and oftentimes referred to as the “Jewel of the Order,” meaning that the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA) who own the Museum thru the Sons of Italy Foundation 501©3 status is extremely proud to possibly be one of the only ethnic museums in America owned and administered by an organization from whence it derives its roots.


Obviously, such ownership brings about a high level of responsibility to its leadership and members.  And in fact, this past month we initiated an experimental program whereby we made all newly initiated members for the past year in the Grand Lodge of NY, members of the GMM in the hopes that by January 1, 2025 when we send out renewal notices to all current members, that a good percentage will join as members.  Yes, it is true that all members of the OSDIA can come and visit, but without the needed $$$, we would be unable to operate. 


Staffing is always a concern and for some years we have been able to rally with consistency in the staff, but in early May 2024, our GMM Administrator Stephanie Lundegard became ill, and post hospitalization she is currently in a rehab unit.  We are unsure at this time as to her return to regular work hours at the present time, but we are doing our best with ancillary staffing.  Everyone on staff is being cooperative and collaborative in making sure we have the consistent pattern of staffing that we need to keep all running accordingly.  Our other staff that includes long-time supporter and friend Fran Cicero continues to oversee the areas of membership, brick commemorative pathway, and November 9th, 2024 annual Luncheon initiatives all going in the right direction, while AnnMarie Cicero does a great job with student class groups that are now returning from the Covid hiatus of 2019-20, and the past two full years, and she monitors our outreach activities with schools.  We are also fortunate to have a part timer in Adrian, a young gent who takes care of all set ups and maintenance around the property, and we know he is an asset to and for us.  We also have the advice on important pieces of Garibaldi-Meucci history by Prof. Bill Castello, who will be at the GMM one day a week for prearranged tours and other administrative issues that come up, which leads me to the person who oversees our expenditures, Jorene Colontuono, our Bookkeeper and advisor on budget, and what a God send she is!  Most recently, she conveyed to me some good news as to the status of a grant that she followed up on, above and beyond her scope of responsibility, but as stated WE are a family, and when we see a need, we respond.


Volunteers such as Rose Frisari has handled the coordination and teaching of the Italian classes over the years, as well as encouraging Lou Barrella, our Opera aficionado to continue his classes and end the semester with a lovely luncheon and fundraiser, to which volunteer Carol Berardi coordinates the various exhibits.  Yes, it takes a ‘family’ so to speak of interested and dedicated people and to that end I add Marianne Bortone Prince, our co-chair for the GMM who makes regular weekly trips sometimes twice a week to assist and pick up especially now in Stephanie’s absence.  A great writer, minute taker and overall informed person, she is a major benefit to the GMM.  And how about Carl Ciaccio, the Immediate Past Chair of the GMM for all his enthusiasm for the getting of the Tower of Light to the GMM from Venice to day to day work and estimates on all sorts of projects.  On one occasion I arrived seeing Carl moving heavy duty containers for the latest evergreens placed in better sun lighting! 


And so, until the next message, read on, check out the website page after page, help us with donations and contributions, and maybe even help light the Tower on a night, week, month or year as some have done.  We need every helping hand, for YOU too are part of that OSDIA Family and each one can be a partner in preserving our culture, heritage and language.  And so yes, for me too it is a “jewel,” but we must keep it shining!

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