Hamptons LivingWhat to Do

Must-See Museums on the East End

Snow is pretty to look at, and what kid doesn’t like sledding when the snow is fresh and powdery? But at some point, even the keenest snowbunny needs to warm up. And, as any parent knows, hanging around the house can get pretty old as winter wears on. Luckily, myriad museums welcome kids and the kids in all of us. Below are just a few of the best that the East End has to offer.

Children’s Museum of the East End

The minigolf course at the Children’s Museum of the East End.
The minigolf course at the Children’s Museum of the East End.
Photo credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly

Located in Bridgehampton, the Children’s Museum of the East End (CMEE) emphasizes learning through play. With over 4,000 square feet of exhibition space, the museum showcases a number of exhibits, including a musical forest, sand puppets and a drop-in art studio. Take advantage of the uniquely East End offerings, like discovering how a windmill works. CMEE is located at 376 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. For more info, visit cmee.org or call 631-537-8250.

East End Seaport and Maritime Museum

East End Seaport Museum
East End Seaport Museum

The Maritime Museum in Greenport at 3rd Street, in the former railroad station adjacent to the Shelter Island North Ferry Dock, houses an array of exhibits on the maritime heritage of the area: the Greenport menhaden fishing industry, the oyster industry, lighthouse lenses, a model ship of the USS Ohio and more. Now through April, the museum is only open by appointment. For more info, visit eastendseaport.org or call 631-477-2100.

Hallockville Museum Farm

Tom Barry woodworking. Hallockville Museum Farm
Tom Barry woodworking at the Hallockville Museum Farm

A tour of the Hallockville Museum Farm is a great way to spend the day on the North Fork. Its 28 acres are home to 19 historic houses, barns and outbuildings. Visitors can experience real farming in the fields and meet the friendly cows, sheep and chickens, and participate in workshops in animal tracking, canning and pickling, and bird walks. Visit hallockville.com or call 631-298-5295.

Home Sweet Home

Take a step back in time at Home Sweet Home in East Hampton. Dating back to the 1720s, the saltbox-style house was built by English settlers and is now a village museum. Open by appointment only, through May. Visit homesweethomemuseum.com or call 631-324-0713.

Montauk Lighthouse

Montauk Lighthouse.
Montauk Lighthouse.
Photo credit: John Bourquin

A journey to the iconic symbol of The End provides not only a chance to visit the first lighthouse in New York State and the fourth oldest lighthouse in the United States, but also trails for hiking, amazing views of the ocean and a museum—home to artifacts, historical documents and photographs—housed in the 1860 Keepers’ House. Open weekends only and select holidays. Visit montauklighthouse.com or call 631-668-2544.

Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum

Annual Strawberry Harvest Festival At Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum.
Annual Strawberry Harvest Festival At Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum. Photo credit: Pamela Greinke

Dedicated to honoring the ancestors and living history of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, the museum and Wikun Village offer exhibitions and displays illustrating and celebrating Shinnecock history. Open Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. 100 Montauk Highway, Southampton. Visit shinnecockmuseum.com or call 631-287-4923.

Suffolk County Historical Museum

Suffolk County Historical Society
Suffolk County Historical Society. Photo credit: Lisa Tannenbaum

From now through March 7, 2015, the Suffolk County Historical Society will host “Ageless Beauty: Antique Dolls Exhibit” by Betty Ann Richardson, with vintage doll paintings by local artist Rani Carson. The exhibit features 100 vintage dolls from the private collection of Betty Ann Richardson, including Heinreich Handwerck, Simon & Halbig, Heubach, and early china dolls from Germany; Jumeau dolls from France; Lensi dolls from Italy; and Pleasant Co., American Girl, and Schoenhut dolls from America.

Also running through March 7 is “Black History Through the Eyes of Dolls,” an exhibit featuring close to 200 African American dolls from the collection of Dr. Judith Kronin.  The exhibit presents a unique perspective on black history, with examples of dolls from every period of American history—slavery, reconstruction, the roaring 20s, the Great Depression, both World Wars, the civil rights era, and up to the present day.  Dr. Kronin’s fascinating collection has been featured in numerous exhibits across the region.

The Suffolk County Historical Museum is located at 300 West Main Street, Riverhead. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit suffolkcountyhistoricalsociety.org or call 631-727-2881.

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