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Are You Up For this Historical Challenge?

Marshall Field Estate in Lloyd Neck

Huntington is holding it’s third Museum Challenge next month. One of the most popular ways to explore Huntington’s past is also one of the most challenging.  Don’t miss out on the excitement as Huntington’s heritage museums invite you to meet the Challenge.

From the birthplace of America’s greatest poet to a 1750 farmhouse that that is still actively cultivated today, Huntington boasts numerous historic museums.  But how many have you actually visited?

You’ll get your chance to see many of them at Huntington’s third Historic Museum Challenge on Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18, 2010.  Nine of Huntington’s historic organizations are opening their museums from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to allow residents and visitors to get a glimpse of the breadth of Huntington’s historic treasures.

Participants who successfully complete the challenge by visiting all ten sites over that weekend will receive a limited edition video history of Huntington.

“Huntington is fortunate to have so many organizations working to preserve its history,” Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said.  “This challenge gives residents and visitors a chance to enjoy Huntington’s museums and collections and learn more about our fascinating past.”

“Last year we found that many of the people who completed the Challenge lived locally, yet they had never visited these museums even if they are regularly open.  The Museum Challenge gave them a great opportunity to learn about the history right in their own backyard,” added Town Historian Robert Hughes.

The following museums will be part of the April 17/18 Challenge:

For the first time, The Arsenal will open up for the Museum Challenge.  This building at 425 Park Avenue in Huntington, adjacent to the historic Village Green, is the only known colonial Arsenal still standing on Long Island. As such it played an important role in Huntington’s early participation in the American Revolution.  In August 1776 this “arsenal” was the distribution point for munitions when the Militia mustered for service in the Battle of Long Island. When repairs were made to the house in 1930, a small cache of colonial muskets were found under the original floorboards, most likely hidden prior to the British occupation of Huntington on September 1, 1776 after the disastrous colonial defeat at the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776.

Operated by the Lloyd Harbor Historical Society (631-424-6110), the 1711 Henry Lloyd Manor House, the birthplace of Jupiter Hammon, the first African American poet published in America, is one of the finest early examples of settlement period architecture still standing in the United States.  Marshall Field used the Manor House as the gatehouse to his estate during his tenure at Caumsett. His brick and iron gates still stand.

The Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum (631-367-3418) houses a nineteenth century whaleboat completely equipped for the hunt, a diorama of Cold Spring Harbor in 1850 as well as an extensive collection of scrimshaw.

The Conklin Farmhouse, circa 1750, withstood the ravages of the American Revolution when the British overtook the town.  For the last100 years it has been owned by the Huntington Historical Society (631-427-7045) whose vast collection of artifacts helps to bring the house alive with distinctive antique furniture and accessories.

The Huntington Historical Society (631-427-7045) will also open the Dr. Daniel W. Kissam House, an outstanding example of federal period architecture featuring intricate decorative moldings and a newly restored mid-nineteenth century kitchen.

Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Building (631-351-3244) was built in 1892, this building served as both the Huntington Public Library and Civil War Memorial. The recently restored building is used today to exhibit the “Treasures from the Collection of the Huntington Historical Society.”

The John Gardiner Farm is the newest museum in Huntington.  Bequeathed to the Greenlawn-Centerport Historic Association (631-754-1180) in 2000, the House opened for to the public for the first time in 2007.  The land is still farmed and contains several outbuildings relating to the area’s agricultural past.

The Northport Historical Society Museum (631-757-9859) was built in 1914 as a Carnegie Library.  The building’s exhibit hall has recently been refurbished and features informative changing displays on the history of the Northport area.

The Huntington Town Clerk’s Archives (631-351-3035) was created in 1993. It houses 1250 linear feet of historical documents which trace the Town’s origins and growth. The Archives is committed to preserving records of historic value generated by the Town’s government.

The Huntington Lighthouse (631-421-1985) sits on a man made island at the entrance to Huntington Harbor.  Currently being restored by the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society, the lighthouse itself is only open in the spring and summer, and so will not be open for the challenge. A display about the lighthouse will, however, be on view in the barn at the David Conklin Farmhouse.

The Walt Whitman Birthplace (631-427-5240) is the site where in 1819, Walt Whitman, widely recognized as America’s greatest poet, was born in the small farmhouse.  Whitman’s writings are treasured for capturing the nation’s spirit during the nineteenth century and examining some of the era’s most significant events including westward expansion, immigration, slavery, and the Civil War.

Guide maps, which double as admission tickets will be available for advance purchase for $10.   Simply contact any of the above participating organizations or the Huntington Historian (351-3244) to purchase your guide map/ admission ticket.  We suggest calling in advance to ensure supplies are on hand.    A family needs only one map for admission to the museums.  Proceeds and donations will provide much needed funds for these groups to continue their preservation and education programs.

To help participants keep their energy up the following Huntington restaurants are offering discounts over the Challenge weekend:  Canterbury Ales, Good 2 Go Deli, Kozy Kettle, La Bottega Gourmet and Munday’s.

The Town of Huntington is sponsoring the event in conjunction with the Huntington Historic Partnership, which is a consortium of local heritage organizations seeking to promote awareness of Huntington’s rich history.

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