Located on the Great South Bay in Sayville, the Long Island Maritime Museum captures and displays a living history, a rich nautical heritage. Even on a cold December afternoon, there was lots to see and much to learn while walking around the grounds. As a bonus, a helmeted diver was working underwater, scraping barnacles. Moving along the dock, I saw the Priscilla, a newly restored 1888 oyster dredge that worked the bays of Long Island, and the Charlotte, a 19th Century tugboat that has been receiving a complete mechanical and electrical restoration in preparation for her sailing in the Spring of 2005.
The Museum grounds, once part of the Meadowedge Estate of Mrs. Florence Bourne Hard, now comprise fourteen acres and five historic buildings. Wandering through the buildings, you will find boats of many types, dugout canoes to sailing sloops; some in the restoration process, some in pristine condition. One can imagine the use of these crafts over our historic past and picture the men and women who made their living in our waters.
"The Great South Bay was once home to the most productive oyster industries in the United States. Take a look at that industry and the families who made it work, as well as what happened to it and aqua- culture in the Great South Bay today."
The Long Island Maritime Museum is located on the historic West Sayville waterfront and offers year-round events and activities for the general public and for school groups. With a collection of over 10,000 objects, a rich archive of documents and photographs, and five historic buildings, the museum is a treasure chest of Long Island History. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sundays from noon to 4:00 pm. Call 631-HISTORY (477-8679) for information, or visit their website at www.limaritime.org.