Surrounded by the Long Island Sound, Great South Bay, and Atlantic Ocean, it’s easy to picture why Long Island would have such a rich maritime history and heritage. The area is wonderful for walking the sandy coasts, going fishing on a charter boat, taking a dip in the water, collecting seashells and other sea life, and surfing the waves. Our close proximity to the water has made way for a rich maritime history of the area along with many museums to go visit to learn about it.
Whether you reside in Nassau or Suffolk County, there are many museum options for nautical lovers and seafaring folk to visit. On your visit you’ll have the opportunity to take a look back at Long Island’s maritime history, encounter various artifacts, get educated on the region, and then be able to share that pride and knowledge with your children and family.
Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville – Open Monday through Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-4, the Long Island Maritime Museum is committed to the preservation of Long Island’s rich nautical culture and educating visitors about Long Island’s role in maritime history. The museum exhibits artifacts from ships wrecks and rescue stories, an extensive library, ship replicas, and information about the creatures living in Long Island waters and area’s maritime heritage.
The Whaling Museum and Education Center in Cold Spring Harbor – This museum is teeming with maritime and whaling history. With thousands of artifacts and primary and secondary sources in their archives you can actually go back in time and review the Cold Spring Whaling Company’s own ship logs and authentic records from the Cold Spring Harbor Customs House. The museum also has scrimshaw, model ships, whaling tools, and a huge sperm whale jaw to stand next to and take a photo with.
Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum – A small, charming museum packed with artifacts from the whaling days of Sag Harbor, navigational tools, scrimshaw, model ships, and changing exhibits throughout the year. The museum is in operation weekends until Columbus Day and admission is $6 for adults, $5 for students & seniors, and $2 for children 11 and under.
East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation in Greenport – Originally part of the Long Island Rail Road, the building the museum is in is one of the few original stations left on Long Island constructed prior to the 1900s. Exhibits include lighthouse lenses, like the Fresnel lenses, and information about the maritime heritage of the area and fishing industries. Admission to the museum is free.
American Merchant Marine Museum in Kings Point – Open Tuesday through Friday from 10-3, the mission of the American Merchant Marine Museum is to instill an appreciation of the United States Merchant Marine Academy and maritime services to the public and those in the service. The collection currently consists of modern and antique navigational tools, maritime artwork, ship models depicting various ship sizes and ships throughout history, and much more maritime memorabilia.
Which of these museums have you had the chance to visit? Tell us about your trip!