The Museum’s collection attests to Long Island’s maritime heritage based in the whaling industry. The majority of the Museum’s collections were donated over time, starting as a community repository from the Museum’s founding in 1936.
Totaling 6,000 pieces, most pieces speak to the 19th century whaling industry, specifically Long Island whaling, as well as the local history of Cold Spring Harbor and its growth as a maritime port. When possible, artifacts are integrated into educational programming.
The collection includes:
Over the past 80 years, the Museum has steadily acquired an extensive and varied collection of 6,000 artifacts.
We welcome research requests.
The museum loans objects and photos to appropriate institutions. Please email our Collections & Exhibits Coordinator with a formal request, including a description of the project, timeline, and facilities report. At least 6 months lead time is suggested.
The vast majority of the museum's collections are made up of donations by the local community. The museum primarily accepts donations which document the general maritime history both of Cold Spring Harbor and Long Island, as well as pieces which are part of the general American whaling story. We also accept donations which help our educators teach about the wonders of the oceans.
If you are interested in donating a piece to the collection, first please check out our guidelines. An appointment is required to bring your item to the museum; donations cannot be accepted without one.
Please note we do not appraise any items whatsoever, including scrimshaw, as museums are legally prohibited from doing so. We do not authenticate pieces. Those interested should contact an appraiser or auction house.