The Sag Harbor Whaling Museum is a certified National Treasure and officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This museum and historic structure tells the story of the maritime industry in the state of New York and is home to the largest collection of whaling equipment in the state. Our Long Island personal injury lawyers think any maritime history buffs in the area should make sure to make a stop here at least once. Here is some general information on the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum:
History of the Structure
The museum is housed in a historic building which was built in 1845 by wealthy merchant whaler Benjamin Hunting II at the peak of the Sag Harbor maritime industry’s success. This house was designed by Minard Lafever in the Greek Revival style, with ornate features like a temple-front portico and fluted Corinthian columns. Lafever edged the home’s roofline with maritime-themed features, including a row of decorative crenellation with figures of alternating flensing knives and blubber spades. The front door is framed by a gigantic pair of whale jawbones.
Once you enter the house/museum, you’ll see a spiraling staircase that leads to a domed skylight. The AIA Architectural guide once called the home “Long Island’s finest example of high style Greek revival architecture.”
Highlights of the Whaling Museum
In a sense, the original home is a piece of maritime history in and of itself – with its maritime-themed features and the fact that one of New York’s most successful whalers lived there. Today, you can find a huge collection of whaling ship equipment, including:
- Try pots
- Flensing knives
- Blubber spades
- Scrimshaw carvings etched on whale ivory
- Harpoons in a dedicated Harpoon Room
- Shipbuilding tools
- 19th-century whale hunts
This building is also the home of a Masonic lodge on the second floor.
Past Events at the Museum
The museum regularly hosts cultural events, including maritime-themed events and others, such as art shows. Here are some recent noteworthy events held by the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum:
The 725 Group Art Exhibition
Held from September 21 through October 31, the 725 Group Art Exhibition showcased artwork from a variety of Sag Harbor resident artists, sculptors, and photographers. This exhibition reflects Sag Harbor’s long history of artistic tradition, which is a major part of the town’s identity.
The Wake of the Whale: A Lecture on Hunter Societies in the Caribbean and North Atlantic
On October 25, 2018, the museum invited University of the South professor Russell Fielding to give a lecture called The Wake of The Whale, which helped educate visitors about the history, art, and difficulties of whaling in the Caribbean and North Atlantic.
Ghost Walking Tour
This past Halloween season on October 26, the museum had a haunted walking tour of Sag Harbor. Tour guide Annette walked groups through several locations in the village, telling ghost stories that have been reported there.