attracts viewers from all around Long Island, and for good reason. With a collection of about 200 horse-drawn carriages from across America and Europe, a nine-acre campus full of things to explore, and other changing exhibits, there's always something going on. In no particular order, here are ten not-to-be-missed items to see at The Long Island Museum.
Old Stony Brook Train Station
In 1879, the Long Island Rail Road added a Stony Brook stop to its Port Jefferson line, which enabled tourism to become one of the staples of the region's economy. Kids will love the museum's re-creation of the old train station, featuring the actual depot wagon once used to carry passengers to and from the train station.
On a recent summer Saturday, the herb garden outside the carriage house was fragrant and bustling with butterflies. A stack of printed guides helps the viewer identify each plant in the garden, and benches surrounding it encourage taking a few moments to stop and smell the rosemary.
Original Nassakeag Schoolhouse
Once located at the intersection of Pond Path and Sheep Pasture Road, the museum has on display the actual one-room schoolhouse used between 1821 and 1910 in Three Village. In 1955, the building was moved to the museum grounds and restored.
On display through October 17, the America's Kitchens exhibit has a few interactive elements, with a corn grinding module and a collection of vintage cookbooks from which viewers can copy recipes.
Smith-Rudyard Burial Ground
This historic cemetary has 32 graves, many of which predate the civil war, belonging to some of the area's original families, including the Smiths, Rudyards, Nichols, Hawkins and Mills families. The earliest gravestone is marked 1796!
William Sidney Mount Collection
The life of the famous Stony Brook genre painter is honored with a display of his works in the museum's art gallery. Guide cards on the walls are aimed at helping younger viewers appreciate the paintings right alongside their elder companions.
And, Of Course, the Carriages
There's the fringed basket phaeton, fashionable for women to drive in the late 19th century; the chariot d'Orsay, once owned by William K. Vanderbilt, one of America's wealthiest men; the petite children's carriages and the colorful gypsy carriages and the whimsical popcorn carriages. There are too many to name; these are just a few of the many elegant carriages on display.
Fire Service Carriages
The museum features a handful of old fire service carriages used by firefighters of bygone generations. Among them is a particularly admirable steam pumper, capable of pumping 900 gallons of water per minute, and the actual hose carriage used by the Patchogue Fire Department from 1870 to 1904.
Winter's Finest Sleighs
Before local municipalities began paving roadways, travel during winter on Long Island was often difficult, and sleighs were much better suited for winter traveling than carriages. A variety of elegant cutters, used for both work and pleasure, is on display.
History of Long Island Roadways
A light-up map accompanies a detailed evolution of transportation on Long Island, including a history of Motor Parkway and the Long Island Expressway. The exhibit notes with irony that despite advances in technology, the trip between New York City and Montauk takes almost as long today as it did a century ago!