Long Island Maritime Museum hosts “’Tis the Season” event

By SAM DESMOND
Posted 12/11/19

Celebrating Sayville’s rich and enveloping Dutch and sea-faring heritage, the Long Island Maritime Museum held its “’Tis the Season” event on Saturday, Dec. 7, offering guided …

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Long Island Maritime Museum hosts “’Tis the Season” event

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Celebrating Sayville’s rich and enveloping Dutch and sea-faring heritage, the Long Island Maritime Museum held its “’Tis the Season” event on Saturday, Dec. 7, offering guided tours of the festive grounds for families and those curious of the lives of the town’s first settlers. Guided by lantern-carrying volunteers, tour groups of about half a dozen were led to the Bayman’s Cottage and the oyster shack on the property before coming back to the main building for hot chocolate, snacks, and crafts to remember the evening.

The Bayman’s Cottage was the first stop for the excited tour attendees, which included a couple of youngsters enamored with the small size of the cottage that housed seven children and two adults. The Beebe House was beautifully refurbished, but most of the original furniture had been burned to keep the house warm following a particularly snowy winter when the family was unable to gather firewood. Local residents have donated items over the years and according to the descendants of the Beebe family, the new furnishings are “much more upscale than the original family had.” 

The oyster shack was a keepsake for all things related to the long history of the oyster and clamming industry in the South Shore. Harold Stumme, dressed in an old naval pea coat, told the tour attendees about the Priscilla, a prized and functional historical remnant owned by the museum that is one of only three oyster sloops left in the country (with the other two in Oyster Bay and Chesapeke Bay). At 10 tons and 60 feet, the Priscilla is a glorious symbol of the vessels of the day. So abundant was the shellfish industry in the area that most driveways in the neighborhood were paved with oyster or clamshells. The world-famous Blue Point oyster was shipped all the way to England, as Queen Victoria was said to be a die-hard fan.

With three tours for the evening, the museum was at capacity. Erin Becker, the volunteer coordinator for “’Tis the Season,” was on hand and on-site most of the evening, directing lantern guides to the most efficient touring schedules.

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