The educational programs and collection at the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum offer the Cold Spring Harbor community with a valuable understanding of the whaling industry, one of the earliest major industries of Long Island. The at the museum is the result of the work by the local residents of the community who acknowledged the need for a museum collection in order to preserve the maritime history of the local region, as well as the whaling past of Cold Spring Harbor. Long Island has a particularly dynamic whaling heritage.
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The highlight of the permanent exhibits at Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum is the historic whaleboat. This whaleboat is the only whaling vessel on display in the state of New York that is fully-equipped with the original gear. Other significant items within the museum's collection that are on display include ship's gear, whaling implements, maritime art, ship models, and navigational aids. One of the most notable scrimshaw collections found in the northeast can be seen at the museum as well.
The Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum also contains an archival and library collection of 2,800 secondary and primary volumes, as well as manuscript materials. The collection is made up of volumes and archives from the whaling fleet of Cold Spring Harbor, journals, business correspondence from the Cold Spring Whaling Company, and ship's logs. There are also documents from local families that deal with Long Island's maritime commerce, as well as records from the Cold Spring Harbor Customs House.
Whaling was historically one of the most important industries on Long Island. The whaling industry was significant in shaping the region's economy and society. It also helped contribute to the emergence of the United States in the nineteenth century as a power on an international scale. Cold Spring Harbor, one of Long Island's three whaling ports, offers a small look into a typical whaling town of nineteenth century America. In 1942, the Whaling Museum Society was established to commemorate the heritage of the town.
Since then, the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum has expanded in reach, focus, and size. The museum today is well-known within the community for its unique, innovative, and creative approaches to sharing the story of the region's whaling heritage, particularly by means of its educational programs offered year-round. The museum serves as an important symbol for the region's whaling industry, which has had a significant impact on the culture of the community and the nation. The collection of objects and archives at the museum consists of six thousand artifacts documenting the general maritime and whaling history of the whaling port of Cold Spring Harbor, as well as that of Long Island and general history of whaling in the United States.
Through several permanent exhibits, rotating exhibitions, educational programs, and special events, the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum fully utilizes its resources to offers many services to both locals in the community and visitors alike. Over twelve thousand students participate in school programs every year, and the museum features several activities for children. The museum also offers camp programs, family events, scout programs, and more.
279 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, website, Phone: 631-367-3418