The Bellport-Brookhaven Museum Complex – The Barn Museum

The Barn Museum is giving visitors an intimate and detailed glimpse into the lives of people who lived on the shores of Bellport Bay for over four centuries. The Barn Museum includes six major historic structures and buildings situated on two acres right in the heart of beautiful Bellport Village.

 

Post-Crowell House

This is the centerpiece of the museum complex. This house in Federal-style was constructed by Hiram Post in 1833. Post, a master ship-builder, erected the $800 house using square nails and wooden pegs while using wood of the highest available quality and he also used extra girth floor beams. Located behind this main house you can find the original historic Milk House that highlights local dairy practices.

Ralph Brown Building

In 1980, Ralph Brown donated this former hardware store to the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society. The building was constructed by Watkins and Robinson in the period 1875-1900 and served to house their business while they were developing Bell Street. Watkins and Robinson were Bellport’s major builders in those years. This way of constructing commercial buildings was at one time common across Long Island.

Blacksmith Shop

The Blacksmith Shop includes a fully working forge and contains tools that were used by local blacksmiths and wheelwrights father and son Joseph and Charles. Someone who knows all about Bellport’s history is Emily Ferrier Czaja, a remarkable artist. Read her interview here.

John Chester Memorial Boathouse

The historic boathouse is showcasing the fully-rigged scooter named “Three-In-One” and “Jealousy”, the fully and beautifully restored catboat by Gil Smith.

Emilie Underhill Studio

The Emilie R. Underhill Studio is a former stable that now houses the Society’s Museum Exchange Shop. Here, you can donate items to the historical society or place them on consignment. To help maintain the museum complex, a modest percentage of all transactions will support the historic society.

Milk House

The milk house was called the ‘springhouse” in earlier days when milk houses were playing a crucial role in American life. A milk house was an enclosed, small 1-room building that was used before refrigeration was invented. It was a housewife’s duty to make sure all milk products would be properly prepared that there was enough for the entire family. This building was the original Post-Crowell house’s milk house.

Exhibits

The Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society’s Barn Museum opens its doors to the public starting Memorial Day through Labor Day but you may also come to visit by appointment. The collection includes pictures, manuscripts, and interesting documents. There are numerous artifacts such as pillboxes, paperweights, figureheads, fiddle music manuscripts, ship models, candy jars, handwoven blankets, grain measures, and many more interesting reminders of what was going on in this tiny corner of our world.

You may also enjoy the Wilbur Corwin’s working Decoy Collection located on the Barn Museum’s 2nd floor where you’ll also find contemporary carvings, folk art pieces, and shorebird decoys.  History plays an important role in Bellport as shows also in the recent St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Very interesting is also the Sperry Gyroscopic Instruments Gallery, a unique exhibit dedicated to the work and life of the gyroscope’s inventor. Mr’ Sperry was a long-time Bellport resident and among the items on display is a copy of the patent issued to Sperry for his amazing invention in 1914.

The Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society cherishes one of the largest collections of early American toleware in the nation. The Emilie Underhill & Ruth Morse Early American Decoration Collection is American’s second after the one at the Smithsonian. Most of the beautiful pieces are dating back to the first half of the 19th century. The Barn Museum displays several of the collection’s pieces and you can view the entire collection by appointment.

Then there is the Gun Collection that includes the tools needed to make bullets and load guns. There is also the powder horn on display that was used in the French & Indian War. Additionally, the exhibit includes guns that were used by average persons in the 19th century as well as an impressive number of military guns that date back to the days of the American Revolution. Read also this article to celebrate Sergeant Stubby, a well-respected Bellport resident.

Check out also the antique tool collection that gives you a glimpse of the everyday tools that people were using to make a living along Long Island’s South Shore in earlier days.

The Historic Society also displays a very extensive doll and toy collection at the Barn Museum. The collection contains many dolls that date back to the mid-1800s and were produced by Europe’s most famous doll makers. The collection’s mostly handmade toys are from the period 1850-1950 and there’s also an impressive tin toys collection.

The Barn Museum grounds additionally houses a turban-crowned, elegant gazebo dating back to 1850 that was originally located in Bellport Lane. In 1997, the gazebo was totally reconstructed and restored to its earlier beauty by using its original parts.

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