We particularly pride ourselves on being a small organization with large impact on the community. We truly love what we do, and we hope to sea you soon!
Please make an appointment to meet with staff. The general office line is (631) 367-3418.
Please make an appointment to meet with staff. The general office line is (631) 367-3418.
In Alphabetical Order:
In the summer of 1974, I was asked to fill in for a friend who was working weekends at the Museum. I continued for several years whenever the friend could not make work. In 1977, I was added officially to the staff. After graduating CW Post School Of Professional Accountancy in 1981, I became the accountant for the Museum and have served in that capacity ever since.
I worked at Zeidman, Lackowitz & Company Certified Public Accountants, Syosset NY for 25 years. I am currently the Chief Financial Officer for The Inn At New Hyde Park.
I belong to the New Hyde Park Fire Department where I have served as Captain Of Protection Engine Co. #2, an Emergency Medical Technician and Captain of the Termites Racing Team. I served as President of The Nassau County Volunteer Firemens Parade and Drill Team Captain's Association. I am a member of the Huntington Community Band and the Lindenhurst Brass Marching Band. I sing in the St. Annes Garden City Choir and am a member of the steering committee for the annual Newsday / Hofstra High School Marching Band Festival. I am a member of the National Eagle Scout Association and serve as Treasurer for the New Hyde Park Village Museum Association.
I enjoy spending time at my summer home located in Glen Spey NY, golfing and collecting antique vehicles.
I am excited to be a part of the Whaling Museum's team in 2022.
One of my favorite things to do in life is explore museums. I studied history at Binghamton University and then at SUNY Old Westbury where I played for the college golf team.
I enjoy listening to all kinds of music including hip hop and classic rock. When I am not working, I spend time golfing, playing tennis, skiing, and hiking with my Portuguese Water Dog.
Being part of the museum has been an exciting endeavor for me as I've always enjoyed visiting Cold Spring Harbor, whether walking around the town, hiking or spending some time in the Library.
I graduated from Adelphi University in 2021 and am currently working toward my MBA at Hofstra University.
I enjoy sharing all I've learned about whaling and Long Island's nautical history with the people that come in and out of our doors.
GINA VAN BELL
A wonderful team of people, a great working environment and a mission to engage the community in Long Island’s history has brought me back to the museum. I started in 2009 as a museum educator with little background in whales and ocean life and quickly developed a love for these incredible animals and the lives of the whalers and sailors that thrived because of them. In 2016 I left the museum to explore other passions and worked as an arts administrator until coming back to the museum in my new role in March of 2022.
Before beginning my work with non-profit cultural arts organizations, I worked as a Product Development associate for a corporate fashion company in NYC. I graduated from SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Business Management. Always an art student, I thought my place was in the very artistic fashion world, but after about 5 years of this work, I wanted a change and decided to leave this career path to pursue my Masters in Education at CUNY Hunter College. It was the best decision I ever made because it led me to where I am today, working for a nonprofit cultural arts organization that cares about the community and is an educational institution.
On my days off, you very well may find me at the museum with my children as they have grown to love this museum as I have. My free time is spent visiting museums, parks, and endless amounts of time with my large extended family. I also love to travel and sometimes spend my vacations searching for the sweetest desserts hence the cakes in my profile photo.
After I graduated from Stony Brook University with a Master’s in History I was curious about museum work and the opportunities that are available in this field. I joined The Whaling Museum team in August 2021 because I wanted to learn more about working in a museum.
I was lucky to find a museum nearby that related to my interest in the American whaling industry. Since joining the Whaling Museum staff I have found plenty of opportunities and a lot of encouragement in exploring different aspects of museum work. I am grateful and thrilled to be a part of the team!
When I am not working you can usually find me digging in a garden or buried in a book with a cat in close proximity.
Being a part of the Whaling Museum team is such an amazing experience. I truly enjoy welcoming guests to the museum and helping out with family programs, birthday parties, and summer camps. And I really appreciate everyone I work with.
Outside of the museum, I am studying civil engineering at New York University with a focus on transportation systems. In the future, I hope to shape New York's transit system to improve mobility for everyone and to move people as safely and efficiently as possible.
I am thrilled to be on The Whaling Museum team! It is great be part of an organization that values education, the environment, and sharing and preserving local history. My role here is to facilitate the overall business flow of the Whaling Museum.
My career path has been a winding road yet has a common thread of helping others and facilitating the smooth operations of programs. After growing up on Long Island and graduating from Adelphi University with a B.A. in Communicative Disorders, I worked for Frost Valley YMCA and The Community YMCA in various roles including Environmental Educator, Camp Director, Teen Program Director, and Alumni Coordinator. Hiring and training staff for camp programs led me to matching employers’ needs with qualified candidates as a Senior Agent with Randstad, a multinational human resources consulting firm. Upon returning to the non-profit sector, I worked as Development Coordinator for Sustainable Long Island and further honed my skills in event planning, fundraising, and database management. Working at The Whaling Museum has proven to be a wonderful opportunity to pull all of these skills together.
When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, trivia games, golf, catching live music, knitting, and reading.
As a person who is passionate about art history, museum curation, and child education, becoming an Educator at the Whaling Museum has been a dream come true. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to travel all over Long Island and educate kids on our whaling history!
I graduated from Fordham with a major in Medieval Studies and a minor in Art History. My scholastic experience has helped me discover my interest in sharing history with others, and as one of the first points of contact between the public and past, I see museums as the best places to pursue my interests. Though 19th century Long Island may be a few leaps away from Medieval Europe, both time periods have produced unconventional, detailed artworks that I want to help people appreciate.
My history as a camp counselor and a substitute teacher has given me a lot of experience working with kids, and I am glad to continue working with them as an Educator. I have always been a big arts and crafts fan, so when I’m helping kids make whale puppets or home-made wind socks, I’m having as much fun as they are.
When I’m not hopping from library to library for our Outreach programs, I’m working on getting my Masters in Medieval Studies. When I’m not doing that, I’m either knitting, drawing, baking, watching pro-wrestling, or running.
BRENNA RAE McCORMICK-THOMPSON
CUrATOR OF EDUCATIoN
I'm incredibly proud to be part of the Whaling Museum's wonderful team! Having grown up both in coastal New England and along the shores of Long Island Sound, I have always been fascinated by the complex relationships that exist between people and the sea. I was first drawn to the study of maritime history while completing my BA at Drew University, where I spent a year researching early American maritime literature and the role it played in the creation of a new national identity. Increasingly interested in Public History, I shifted my focus to the interplay between maritime heritage sites and collective memory while completing a joint MA in Global History at Georgetown University and King's College London.
No stranger to the world of museums, I have previously worked at Historic Hudson Valley, the New-York Historical Society, Royal Museums Greenwich, the Westchester Children's Museum, and the South Street Seaport Museum. It is a joy to be able to add the Whaling Museum to this list.
When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, reading, exploring new museums, or of course, spending time down by the sea.
My work centers on bringing others closer to the wonders of the world. I started getting involved with teaching when I was 14, and I received my BA from Hunter College and MA in Museum Education from Bank Street College. Originally from Brooklyn, I joined the museum in 2008 in an effort to revitalize the organization's vision, and I have tremendously enjoyed being part of the exciting growth in a petite but vibrant gem on Long Island. Taking a creative interpretation of the museum's historic collection, I create opportunities which spark curiosity and creativity in individuals through interdisciplinary, constructivist learning.
Previous experiences include teaching about nature and environmental studies in the education departments of the Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and running programs about science, botany, and culture at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. As surprising as this may sound, the Whaling Museum presents the most amazing opportunity for me to combine all of these interests! It has been particularly rewarding sharing our inspiration and approaches with others at museum conferences. I recently served on the Board of the Museum Association of New York.
Aside from my fascination with the ocean, my curiosity is ever-growing: why the natural world works the way it does, and why people do the things they do. Other interests are herpetology, archaeology, the secret lives of bugs, geology, Native cultures, vegetable gardening, whistling, and creative writing. I am committed to living a vegan lifestyle.
STORE manager & ADMISSIONS ASSOCIATE
Sailing to Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT each summer for over 18 years has instilled in me an interest in maritime history. What a joy it is to work at the Whaling Museum! I love greeting people and sharing my knowledge of the exhibit and showing the movie about the Charles W. Morgan. Many times I learn from our visitors.
Other experiences include working as a Montessori Teacher for over 20 years, substitute teaching, and volunteering in several organizations. I was Commander of Neptune Sail and Power Squadron, a unit of the United States Power Squadron® for one year and on the Bridge and Executive Board for many more.
In my free time I enjoy, kayaking, sailing, scuba diving, going to the gym, playing the piano, and cooking.
Growing up on Long Island it is very hard not to fall in love with the ocean and its history. My whole life I have either spent time in the water, by it, or learning about it. So before long I was lucky enough to receive the opportunity to be able to teach other people about it! I am very excited to be a part of the awesome and welcoming team here at the museum and I am eager to learn and bring my knowledge to this fantastic institution.
Though I love the ocean and its history, my undergraduate education took me elsewhere. I received my bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Adelphi University in 2019. I am currently continuing my education and acquiring my graduate degree at St. John’s University in museum administration and I will graduate in May of 2022. During my time at Adelphi I had the opportunity to work with many inspiring professors. In one of my classes I learned the fundamentals of caring for a museum’s collection. This is where I first fell in love with the responsibility of preserving artifacts; as curator, one has to manage and come up with fun and engaging ways to present the collections for the museum’s visitors. That is exactly the kind of work that draws me in! So, I am very excited to be able to have the opportunity to expand my knowledge of museums and to bring my acquired experience of Cold Spring Harbor whaling history to the many people that visit.
Even though I chose a path in the humanities and the arts, the marine environment always holds a special place in my heart. I was a competitive swimmer throughout my grade school and high school career. I am also a certified PADI scuba diver and hope to explore as many different places as I can. In the meantime, the whaling museum is a wonderful space in which maritime history and science combine making it the perfect place to start my adventure as a museum educator and hopefully beyond!
On beautiful days you can find me in Montauk on the beach, fishing off the docks or visiting the many wonderful museums all over Long Island!!