A golden anniversary

By LIZ FINNEGAN
Posted 7/14/16

Since the Long Island Maritime Museum has turned 50 years old this year, LIMM executive director Terry Blitman had an idea for a unique way to recognize that anniversary while clearing out some of the accumulated clutter and making a few bucks for the museum at the same time. The first Barn Sale was held last Saturday and drew out bargain hunters and LIMM supporters.

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A golden anniversary

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WEST SAYVILLE—Since the Long Island Maritime Museum has turned 50 years old this year, LIMM executive director Terry Blitman had an idea for a unique way to recognize that anniversary while clearing out some of the accumulated clutter and making a few bucks for the museum at the same time. The first Barn Sale was held last Saturday and drew out bargain hunters and LIMM supporters.

“We’ve had many people donate items to the museum over the years that we wouldn’t include in our collection,” Blitman explained.  “But people just like the idea of supporting the museum, and we thought this would be a good way to raise money to put toward [expenses].”

On Saturday, a few antique pieces of furniture were displayed in the museum’s main building. In addition to a nice assortment of nautical items from older vessels, vintage flags, beautifully framed maps, prints and paintings were laid out on tables throughout the space. MaryAnn Hamilton, of Oakdale, eyed two oil paintings she said would look great in a home she owns in East Hampton. “I’m buying them,” she said. Hamilton, who is a LIMM member and event volunteer, said she thought the Barn Sale was a “fantastic idea.

“This is the history of our community and I believe in supporting local history,” she added.

LIMM trustee Brian McCarthy, of Islip, liked the idea as well. “Instead of having these things sit in the attic, it’s a good way to make money.” McCarthy purchased a replica early 19th-century flag and several other items, including an old anchor and a winch. “It’ll make a good cleat on the dock,” he said.

The sale took place in a gallery where most of the items on display were not for sale. The museum collection includes a number of artifacts that tell the story of Long Island’s seafaring past, from America’s Cup sailors to the Fire Island Lifesaving stations. Since it was founded in 1966, its mission has been to preserve and maintain that history in perpetuity for educational purposes. 

Illustrator and author Hervey Garrett Smith had been the inspiration and driving force in establishing the museum. The Bayport resident, whose artwork appeared on the covers of Yachting Magazine and National Geographic, also wrote manuals that helped guide others through the sport of sailing. He was a founding member of the Wet Pants Sailing Association and the South Bay Cruising Club as well. Today’s LIMM members continue his commitment in highlighting the South Shore’s rich maritime history.

 Over the years, the museum has grown to include over 20,000 artifacts and nine buildings – including the Rudolph Oyster House that was placed on the National Registry in 2001 – and 50 historic vessels. Among those vessels, the Modesty and the 1888 oyster sloop Priscilla are on the National Registry as well.

After the event, Blitman said, “Everything went great and 70 percent of the items sold.”

She said the proceeds would be used for a new electronic exhibit in the Lifesaving Station gallery. “That will be very exciting,” she added.

For more information about the museum, go to the website: www.limaritime.org.

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