Sylvia Downs Staas Gallery Exhibit
So Ends This Long Journey Exhibit
Early Suffolk Farm Life and The Rise of Crafts Exhibit
Early Suffolk Transport Exhibit
Arms & Armament Exhibit
The museum’s collections consist of approximately 20,000 objects that illustrate the history of Suffolk County and Long Island. The majority of the collections are from the 19th century, but they also include Native American artifacts from the prehistoric to modern time. We have an excellent collection of textiles and costumes, many fine examples of Long Island furniture and silver, as well as fine and decorative arts. The society also collects everyday artifacts, ranging from agricultural equipment and craft tools to household goods. We limit our collecting to objects that relate to the history of Suffolk County, except when an item has wide appeal or great importance for our region. Our primary objective for collecting artifacts is to preserve and document the history of Suffolk County. The collections are open to researchers and the public by appointment. All requests must be sent in writing to the Director. The use of the collections is at the society’s discretion and will only be possible under staff supervision. We reserve the right to limit photography of the collections in storage and on exhibit.
Sylvia Downs Staas Gallery
Paintings and furniture from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries can be seen in the Sylvia Downs Staas Gallery. Of particular note is the c. 1770 mahogany desk and bookcase owned by David Gelston. Grace Floyd Delafield Robinson, a descendant of William Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, donated this desk, along with several other artifacts in the gallery.
So Ends This Long Journey
Whaling was one of the most important industries in Suffolk County in the nineteenth century, although its roots go back to the Native Americans. The exhibit “So Ends This Long Journey” examines whaling on Long Island, and includes recent research on the roles of Native Americans and African Americans.
Early Suffolk Farm Life and The Rise of Crafts
Although difficult to believe today, much of Long Island was rural until the early twentieth century. In fact, Suffolk County is still the State's largest agricultural producer. The exhibit “Early Suffolk Farm Life and The Rise of Crafts” describes agricultural methods and craft production that shaped the lives of Suffolk County residents for two hundred years.
Early Suffolk Transport
In the “Early Suffolk Transport” exhibit visitors will find wagons, carriages, sleds and bicycles. The tools and trades of the blacksmith and wheelwright were necessary in early communities that depended upon horses and wagons for transportation. A 1905 Oldsmobile is the centerpiece in this exhibit that explores the many ways that Suffolk County residents have traveled.
From Near and Far: Ceramics in Suffolk County Households, 1750-1870
Transportation via water routes was much more efficient than traveling overland before the twentieth century. Suffolk County lies on one of the most heavily traveled routes – Boston-New York-Philadelphia – in the country. “From Near and Far: Ceramics in Suffolk County Households, 1750-1870” examines the impact of coastal trade on eastern Long Island by examining types of ceramics that were used on Long Island.
Arms & Armament
Although home to few major battles, Suffolk County men and women have participated eagerly in defense of our country. Our military exhibit includes examples of eighteenth-century flintlocks, a variety of handguns from the nineteenth century, and Civil War weapons and memorabilia.