Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum

Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum Sag Harbor was the 6th largest whaling fleet in the nation, and the largest in New York State. Come explore whaling and village history through paintings, textiles, antique toys, whaling gear, scrimshaw and more!

Special exhibits change yearly. We are now OPEN:
Thursday-Sunday, 10am - 4:30pm, with last entry at 4pm. (we will be closing this season on October 17th)

For your safety, we are currently offering staggered entry (for parties up to 8) on the hour, twenty minutes after the hour, and forty minutes after the hour. Reservations are strongly recommended, and can be made by phone only up to one week in

Special exhibits change yearly. We are now OPEN:
Thursday-Sunday, 10am - 4:30pm, with last entry at 4pm. (we will be closing this season on October 17th)

For your safety, we are currently offering staggered entry (for parties up to 8) on the hour, twenty minutes after the hour, and forty minutes after the hour. Reservations are strongly recommended, and can be made by phone only up to one week in

Operating as usual

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORYSept 21, 1938"The Long Island Express"[With the recent near-miss of hurricane Henri, our ...
09/17/2021

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORY
Sept 21, 1938
"The Long Island Express"

[With the recent near-miss of hurricane Henri, our post today is quite timely: A look back at the Hurricane of 1938, which hit Long Island with full force. This post was written by our summer employee Charlotte Robertson, who has now gone off to her freshmen year of college. Best of luck Charlotte!]

Nicknamed the “Long Island Express” due to its incredible speed, the Hurricane of 1938 was one of the worst natural disasters of the 20th century to strike the northeast, and the ruin to Sag Harbor was significant.

On September 21st, at around two in the afternoon, the Sag Harbor schoolhouse was in full session when the hurricane hit the coast of Long Island. The students, being kept in the building to wait out the storm, watched as every window shattered from the high winds. Glass breakage was one of the primary problems in Sag Harbor; down Main Street, flying glass from broken storefronts injured several passersby.

Several buildings were damaged, including the house next to the Whaling Museum. More than a hundred chimneys throughout the town were torn to the ground. The theatre and the Post Office lost their roofs. The Episcopal Church endured damage to its steeple and shingles. A handful of houses were crushed by debris.
The most notable damage was the 185-foot spire of the Old Whaler’s Church, which was blown off. Built in 1844, it has been said that the church’s spire was so tall that it became a landmark for whalers returning home, as it could be seen from the ocean. It has never been restored.

The storm’s impact was unfortunately during high tide, making Sag Harbor especially vulnerable to flooding. Two boats anchored in the harbor were wrecked. Rowboats glided down the streets to rescue residents from their homes.

The hurricane also created a widespread blackout, preventing all telephone communication. The village was also physically isolated for several hours, the roads being blocked with debris, especially fallen trees.

The loss of trees was widespread. Oakland Cemetery was hit particularly hard, with reported hundreds of trees littering the ground amongst upturned headstones. Fallen pine trees buried the lawns of the John Jermain Memorial Library and the Pierson High School. Five trees fell into Otter Pond. And throughout town, residents mourned their now-empty backyards. As noted by the Sag Harbor Express: buildings can be rebuilt but restoring the village’s beautiful tree population would take half a century.

With modern weather radar and communication systems, Hurricanes can no longer catch us unaware – only unprepared.

[BELOW: 1 - A grove of spruce trees was planted on the turnpike after the Civil War; their toppling caused a near-impenetrable barrier to the village until removed. 2- The remains of the barn-like kiln at Mr. Griffing's Brickyard, located on the way to Bridgehampton. 3- A car on Madison Street pinned by a fallen tree.]

09/16/2021

NEW EXHIBIT! - - FREE OPENING RECEPTION
Saturday, Sept 18th, 6-8pm
(food/drink outdoors; art indoors (masks required indoors)
Please join us to celebrate the opening of our last exhibit of the season - A look at the Hamptons Art Scene through the art collection and memories of the one-of-a-kind Rocco Liccardi.
[The exhibit will run until October 17th]

NEW EXHIBIT! - - FREE OPENING RECEPTIONSaturday, Sept 18th, 6-8pm(food/drink outdoors; art indoors (masks required indoo...
09/12/2021

NEW EXHIBIT! - - FREE OPENING RECEPTION
Saturday, Sept 18th, 6-8pm
(food/drink outdoors; art indoors (masks required indoors)

Please join us to celebrate the opening of our last exhibit of the season - A look at the Hamptons Art Scene through the art collection and memories of the one-of-a-kind Rocco Liccardi.

[The exhibit will run until October 17th]

NEW EXHIBIT! - - FREE OPENING RECEPTION
Saturday, Sept 18th, 6-8pm
(food/drink outdoors; art indoors (masks required indoors)

Please join us to celebrate the opening of our last exhibit of the season - A look at the Hamptons Art Scene through the art collection and memories of the one-of-a-kind Rocco Liccardi.

[The exhibit will run until October 17th]

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORYSep 15, 1884Rum and EnthusiasmOne might think drunk driving wasn’t really a thing until t...
09/10/2021

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORY
Sep 15, 1884
Rum and Enthusiasm

One might think drunk driving wasn’t really a thing until the invention of the automobile. Not true! - as this item from the Sag Harbor Express reveals:

“At about 6pm, a vehicle containing two men filled with rum and enthusiasm dashed down Main Street at a furious pace. The horse turned into the yard of the Nassau House, overturning the wagon, and hurling the occupants to the ground with much force. One man escaped injury; the other was badly cut and bruised about the face and head. The cause of the disaster was quickly drawn from the pocket of one of the men and applied to the head of the wounded one, who soon recovered sufficiently to exclaim “Don’t put too much on,” evidently preferring the internal to the external application. The man was patched up at Lobstein’s Pharmacy; the wagon wasn’t worth it.”

(Pictured: “The Five Stages of Inebriation: Stage 4" – a set of five photographs by comic actor C. P. Pickering, c1860s)

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORY
Sep 15, 1884
Rum and Enthusiasm

One might think drunk driving wasn’t really a thing until the invention of the automobile. Not true! - as this item from the Sag Harbor Express reveals:

“At about 6pm, a vehicle containing two men filled with rum and enthusiasm dashed down Main Street at a furious pace. The horse turned into the yard of the Nassau House, overturning the wagon, and hurling the occupants to the ground with much force. One man escaped injury; the other was badly cut and bruised about the face and head. The cause of the disaster was quickly drawn from the pocket of one of the men and applied to the head of the wounded one, who soon recovered sufficiently to exclaim “Don’t put too much on,” evidently preferring the internal to the external application. The man was patched up at Lobstein’s Pharmacy; the wagon wasn’t worth it.”

(Pictured: “The Five Stages of Inebriation: Stage 4" – a set of five photographs by comic actor C. P. Pickering, c1860s)

AHOY THERE!HAVE YOU HEARD THE WHITE WHALE?LIVE READING OF MOBY DICK AT THE MUSEUMSATURDAY, SEP 11, 1-4:30 pmThe world fa...
09/06/2021
MOBY-DICK Marathon, 2021

AHOY THERE!
HAVE YOU HEARD THE WHITE WHALE?
LIVE READING OF MOBY DICK AT THE MUSEUM
SATURDAY, SEP 11, 1-4:30 pm

The world famous Moby Dick Marathon will be taking place from Friday Sep 10 through Sunday Sep 12th. For those who don't know, its a start-to-finish out loud reading of Moby Dick that takes place in various village locations over the course of three days.

The Museum will be hosting the readers on SATURDAY, SEP 11, from 1-4:30 pm. Come on down and listen to the greatest American novel ever written! We'll have chairs set up outside, but feel free to bring a blanket if you wish.

You can find a listing of the whole schedule of locations and events at:

caniosculturalcafe.org/moby-dick-marathon

Thank you Canio's for making it happen!

Our popular MOBY-DICK MARATHON is back & will be bigger than ever this September, as we emerge from our year of lockdown to gather at several Sag Harbor institutions. We so look forward to sha…

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORYHappy Birthday To You!Mrs. Russell Sage: Born Sep 8, 1828Today we take a break from “stra...
09/03/2021

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORY
Happy Birthday To You!
Mrs. Russell Sage: Born Sep 8, 1828

Today we take a break from “straight-up” history to give a birthday shout out to Mrs. Russell Sage, or, as she was sometimes known in Sag Harbor, “Lady Bountiful.”

Margaret Olivia Slocum was born September 8, 1828 in Syracuse NY, the daughter of Margaret Pierson and Joseph Slocum. She went on to become a teacher in her hometown, and after the Civil War a governess in Philadelphia.

In 1869 she married Russell Sage, a financier / railroad executive. When he died in 1906 he left his $70 million dollar fortune to his wife with no conditions. Suddenly one of the wealthiest women of her time, she quickly turned her attention to philanthropy, often focusing on the well-being of the poor, education, and expanding opportunities for women.

As the birthplace of her two grandfathers (John Jermain and Samuel Pierson), Sag Harbor had a special place in her heart. In 1908 she purchased the old Benjamin Huntting house (now home to the Whaling Museum) to use as her “summer cottage,” and over the next two years turned her philanthropic eye on the village, donating funds to build a new railroad station, Mashashimuet Park, the John Jermain Public Library, and Pierson High School.

She passed away in 1918; the Park, Library, School remain vital institutions in the village more than one hundred years after her death - a testament to her forethought, largesse, and love of the village.

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORY
Happy Birthday To You!
Mrs. Russell Sage: Born Sep 8, 1828

Today we take a break from “straight-up” history to give a birthday shout out to Mrs. Russell Sage, or, as she was sometimes known in Sag Harbor, “Lady Bountiful.”

Margaret Olivia Slocum was born September 8, 1828 in Syracuse NY, the daughter of Margaret Pierson and Joseph Slocum. She went on to become a teacher in her hometown, and after the Civil War a governess in Philadelphia.

In 1869 she married Russell Sage, a financier / railroad executive. When he died in 1906 he left his $70 million dollar fortune to his wife with no conditions. Suddenly one of the wealthiest women of her time, she quickly turned her attention to philanthropy, often focusing on the well-being of the poor, education, and expanding opportunities for women.

As the birthplace of her two grandfathers (John Jermain and Samuel Pierson), Sag Harbor had a special place in her heart. In 1908 she purchased the old Benjamin Huntting house (now home to the Whaling Museum) to use as her “summer cottage,” and over the next two years turned her philanthropic eye on the village, donating funds to build a new railroad station, Mashashimuet Park, the John Jermain Public Library, and Pierson High School.

She passed away in 1918; the Park, Library, School remain vital institutions in the village more than one hundred years after her death - a testament to her forethought, largesse, and love of the village.

FINAL CALL!  FINAL WEEK!!Our Gahan Wilson Cartoon Exhibit EndsSunday, September 5th, at 4:30pmIf you haven't yet seen th...
08/30/2021

FINAL CALL! FINAL WEEK!!
Our Gahan Wilson Cartoon Exhibit Ends
Sunday, September 5th, at 4:30pm

If you haven't yet seen this show, NOW is the time!

We're open Wed-Sun, 10-4:30 (last entry at 4)

FINAL CALL! FINAL WEEK!!
Our Gahan Wilson Cartoon Exhibit Ends
Sunday, September 5th, at 4:30pm

If you haven't yet seen this show, NOW is the time!

We're open Wed-Sun, 10-4:30 (last entry at 4)

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORYc Sep 2, 1901Edgar Gets Angry.Standing at the intersection of Main and Madison (in “Madis...
08/27/2021

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORY
c Sep 2, 1901
Edgar Gets Angry.

Standing at the intersection of Main and Madison (in “Madison Square” as it was once called) is a monument to those village men who served in the Civil War. It was funded by the Ladies Monumental Society and the unveiling ceremony took place with suitable fanfare in October 1896.

Edgar Z. Hunt was a Civil War veteran himself. Born in Sag Harbor (son of Col. Harry Hunt, the founder of the Sag Harbor Corrector) the younger Hunt was both an insurance salesman and surveyor; his reputation and expertise in the latter field evidently known up and down the Island.

By 1901 he was 79 years old, possibly in ill health, and definitely ornery. “I have been guyed of late when downtown,” he complained in a letter published in the Corrector, “about the grade and placing of the iron fence around the soldier’s monument on Madison Square.”

Hunt had been hired by the Village Trustees to survey the plot in preparation of the building of the fence, and he was none too pleased to see the fence company had made such a mess of things. On the north side of the plot the grade fell three inches; instead of taking this into account to keep the top rail level, the fence was instead built to follow the slope. Further, the northwest corner should have stood nine inches about the grade; instead, it was fifteen. In fact, the entire fence was out of plumb and out of alignment. It wasn’t just Hunt who was irritated; another leading citizen said the fence looked “as if it had been dumped from the dray and left as it landed.” Clearly, something had to be done.

And so it was, seven months later… when the fence received a fresh coat of green paint.

Exactly who thought this might resolve the issue – or, in fact, be of any use at all - is not known; but clearly the Village (and no doubt Hunt) remained unhappy. By the next month steps were finally taken to lower the height of the fence, put a concrete coping beneath it, and grade the entire plot properly – in short, everything Hunt had proposed to the Village back when he surveyed it.

So finally, six years after it had gone up, the Corrector was able to report the monument had the “finished appearance, which it should have long since possessed.”

Hunt died three years later in 1905; one hopes, at least, a slightly happier man.

[BELOW: A postcard circa 1905 showing the monument and a proper looking fence.

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORY
c Sep 2, 1901
Edgar Gets Angry.

Standing at the intersection of Main and Madison (in “Madison Square” as it was once called) is a monument to those village men who served in the Civil War. It was funded by the Ladies Monumental Society and the unveiling ceremony took place with suitable fanfare in October 1896.

Edgar Z. Hunt was a Civil War veteran himself. Born in Sag Harbor (son of Col. Harry Hunt, the founder of the Sag Harbor Corrector) the younger Hunt was both an insurance salesman and surveyor; his reputation and expertise in the latter field evidently known up and down the Island.

By 1901 he was 79 years old, possibly in ill health, and definitely ornery. “I have been guyed of late when downtown,” he complained in a letter published in the Corrector, “about the grade and placing of the iron fence around the soldier’s monument on Madison Square.”

Hunt had been hired by the Village Trustees to survey the plot in preparation of the building of the fence, and he was none too pleased to see the fence company had made such a mess of things. On the north side of the plot the grade fell three inches; instead of taking this into account to keep the top rail level, the fence was instead built to follow the slope. Further, the northwest corner should have stood nine inches about the grade; instead, it was fifteen. In fact, the entire fence was out of plumb and out of alignment. It wasn’t just Hunt who was irritated; another leading citizen said the fence looked “as if it had been dumped from the dray and left as it landed.” Clearly, something had to be done.

And so it was, seven months later… when the fence received a fresh coat of green paint.

Exactly who thought this might resolve the issue – or, in fact, be of any use at all - is not known; but clearly the Village (and no doubt Hunt) remained unhappy. By the next month steps were finally taken to lower the height of the fence, put a concrete coping beneath it, and grade the entire plot properly – in short, everything Hunt had proposed to the Village back when he surveyed it.

So finally, six years after it had gone up, the Corrector was able to report the monument had the “finished appearance, which it should have long since possessed.”

Hunt died three years later in 1905; one hopes, at least, a slightly happier man.

[BELOW: A postcard circa 1905 showing the monument and a proper looking fence.

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORYAugust 26th, 1839:  A suspicious looking vesselCaptain Henry Green was one of Sag Harbor’...
08/20/2021

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORY
August 26th, 1839: A suspicious looking vessel

Captain Henry Green was one of Sag Harbor’s most noted and successful whaling masters. Aside from his storied whaling career, he is also known for helping repel the British raid on Sag Harbor during the War of 1812, and for leading a company of fortune seekers out to California during the Gold Rush of ’49. But on August 26th 1839 he made history of a different sort.

On this date Green and his friend Captain Peletiah Fordham were out in Montauk hunting by Fort Pond Bay when they came across four African men dressed in nothing but blankets, only one of whom knew a very little bit of English. The men asked what country they were in, and if was a slave country. Four other black men soon joined them, and eventually they made it clear they wanted Captain Green to come aboard their ship (which was lying off Fort Pond Bay) and sail them to Sierra Leonne. For his services, they would give Captain Green a great deal of money that they had on the ship. Slightly suspicious, Green suggested instead the ship be brought into port. As night was approaching, the men refused, but agreed the ship could be brought to port the next day. Green then asked for proof he would be paid. Some of the men went back to the ship and returned with two trunks. Upon opening them, Green found himself staring at over 400 Spanish doubloons.

It is hard to imagine how history might have changed that day if Green and Fordham had encountered these men a little earlier in the day, or even if the wind had been blowing from a different direction. As is was, the US Revenue Cutter Washington sailed into view and took control of the situation, with her commander Lt. Gedney seizing the “suspicious vessel,” the Africans and the chests of gold as well, leaving Captain Green empty handed.

Although arguably the first on the scene, Captain Green would become a mere footnote in time, as the story soon became an international affair that would change the course of American history.

The name of the vessel was - the Amistad.

BELOW: “The Amistad off Culloden Point,” Contemporary Image, artist unknown.

THIS WEEK IN SAG HARBOR HISTORY
August 26th, 1839: A suspicious looking vessel

Captain Henry Green was one of Sag Harbor’s most noted and successful whaling masters. Aside from his storied whaling career, he is also known for helping repel the British raid on Sag Harbor during the War of 1812, and for leading a company of fortune seekers out to California during the Gold Rush of ’49. But on August 26th 1839 he made history of a different sort.

On this date Green and his friend Captain Peletiah Fordham were out in Montauk hunting by Fort Pond Bay when they came across four African men dressed in nothing but blankets, only one of whom knew a very little bit of English. The men asked what country they were in, and if was a slave country. Four other black men soon joined them, and eventually they made it clear they wanted Captain Green to come aboard their ship (which was lying off Fort Pond Bay) and sail them to Sierra Leonne. For his services, they would give Captain Green a great deal of money that they had on the ship. Slightly suspicious, Green suggested instead the ship be brought into port. As night was approaching, the men refused, but agreed the ship could be brought to port the next day. Green then asked for proof he would be paid. Some of the men went back to the ship and returned with two trunks. Upon opening them, Green found himself staring at over 400 Spanish doubloons.

It is hard to imagine how history might have changed that day if Green and Fordham had encountered these men a little earlier in the day, or even if the wind had been blowing from a different direction. As is was, the US Revenue Cutter Washington sailed into view and took control of the situation, with her commander Lt. Gedney seizing the “suspicious vessel,” the Africans and the chests of gold as well, leaving Captain Green empty handed.

Although arguably the first on the scene, Captain Green would become a mere footnote in time, as the story soon became an international affair that would change the course of American history.

The name of the vessel was - the Amistad.

BELOW: “The Amistad off Culloden Point,” Contemporary Image, artist unknown.

Address

200 Main St
Sag Harbor, NY
11963

Opening Hours

Thursday 10am - 4:30pm
Friday 10am - 4:30pm
Saturday 10am - 4:30pm
Sunday 10am - 4:30pm

Telephone

(631) 725-0770

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum:

Videos

Category

Nearby museums


Other History Museums in Sag Harbor

Show All

Comments

Preservation Long Island is pleased to present a 2020 Project Excellence Award to the community sponsors of the Sag Harbor Hills, Azurest, and Ninevah Subdivisions (SANS) National Register Historic District Survey and Nomination. This project demonstrates exceptional community-based advocacy for historic preservation and documents significant Jim Crow- and Civil Rights-era historic resources on Long Island.
My Great×4 Grandfather was the ships' steward on a whaling ship whose name escapes me, as I haven't seen his letters in over 35 years. I'm very proud of my heritage. I wish my uncle would send me copies, but we're out of touch. But, it's all in my heart.
The Museum sits on the corner of Main and Garden Streets. My Great, Great, Etc. Grandfather built a home on Garden St. in the 1830s. I summered there, and on Shelter Island as a young boy. I wish I could share my memories with you all.
You know it’s summer when the preparations begin for the museum fundraiser exhibit.
Just thinking you might like this!
Having Fun.....