The City Island Historical Society was founded in 1967 by a group of City Island residents and was incorporated in 1975. Shortly afterward, the Historical Society opened the City Island Nautical Museum on the main floor of the old school building that had housed Public School 17 oat 190 Fordham Street. The Historical Society obtained its 501(c)(3)status in 1984, and its declared mission is as follows:
a. To promote and encourage original historical research;
b. To disseminate and encourage a greater knowledge of the history of City Island, New York, and its environs;
c. To gather, preserve, display, and make available for study artifacts, relics, books, manuscripts, papers, photographs, and other records and materials relating to the history of City Island and the surrounding area;
d. To encourage the suitable marking of places of historic interest;
e. To acquire by purchase, gift, devise, or otherwise the title to or the custody of artifacts, books, works of art, boats and boat-related gear and materials, and other objects relating to City Island history;
f. To administer the museum to meet educational and interpretive goals of the society, offer leisure time activity for the community and visitors.