Explore some of Alure’s favorite Long Island museums

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Long Island has played a major role in the formation of the modern United States. From being the home to the Montaukett and Shinnecock native Americans to its discovery by the Dutch and British in the early 1600s, Long Island has had a rich history throughout the Revolutionary War, the Roaring ’20s and its present-day successes. Families who are looking for a fun activity to do together may want to visit some of the region’s most famous and important museums to learn more about the area where they live.

Long Island Maritime Museum
As an island, much of Long Island’s history is closely related to the sea. The Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville is an inexpensive option for families who want to learn about Colonial ship building, famous shipwrecks, regional fishing and the natural history of the island and its sound. The museum also features extensive detailed replica ships, a maritime library, educational programs and fun annual events, such as a barbecue.

“The museum hosts a Seafood Festival every August that you should not miss! Not only can you take in the history, but you can also see different boats and sample some delicious local seafood.”

Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum
One of the most iconic Long Island landmarks, the Montauk Point Lighthouse has been in operation for more than 200 years, making it the oldest lighthouse in New York. Although originally built under President George Washington in 1796, the lighthouse is still an important tool for navigation. Located in the scenic east end of Long Island, the museum features a number of interactive and multimedia exhibits detailing the history around the lighthouse as well as life operating a lighthouse and how the massive structure works.

Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium
William Kissam Vanderbilt II, the great grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt – one of the richest Americans ever – built this Centerport mansion for personal use in the early 1900s. The mansion was left to Suffolk County in 1944 following his death with a trust that would finance its operation. Today the scenic estate showcases William Vanderbilt’s extensive personal collections of artifacts he picked up around the world. There’s also a planetarium.

This is a spectacular view of Centerport Harbor from the pool deck at the Vanderbilt Museum.
This is a spectacular view of Centerport Harbor from the pool deck at the Vanderbilt Museum.

Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
Located in Glen Cove, Garvies Point Museum and Preserve is the perfect spot for anyone who wants to learn more about the pre-Colonial history of Long Island. With a focus on geology and archeology, the museum looks to explain why Long Island’s landscape and ecosystem are what they are, and how early Native Americans played a role.

Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center
Originally opening in 1980 with a few aircrafts in an un-restored hangar, this a museum underwent a major expansion and renovation in the late 1990’s.  In 2002, this museum located in East Garden City, reopened in a state-of-the-art facility.  The Cradle of Aviation sits on land that was once part of Mitchel Air Force Base and is dedicated to preserving Long Island’s rich aerospace heritage of discovery and inspiring young minds through the use of science and technology.

There are many other historical sites and museums around Long Island that families may enjoy visiting to get a picture of the history around them.

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