The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook has announced that local resident and longtime LIM supporter Sharon Cowles recently made a significant contribution to the museum’s future. The former Bayman’s Art gallery in the History Museum/Visitors Center, home to the museum’s collection of wildfowl decoys, has been renamed the Cowles Gallery.
While the decoys will be moved to another area of the museum in a more focused installation, the new gallery will triple the amount of exhibition space available for the presentation of the museum’s world-class permanent collection, giving visitors access to more of the LIM’s hidden treasures.
Cowles first moved to Long Island in the mid-1960s when she and her husband purchased a house in Old Field, neighboring the home of Dorothy and Ward Melville. “I didn’t know anything about Long Island … I knew where Jones Beach was but that was about it,” she said, adding that she was invited to stay with the Melvilles the first night she moved to the area. Later, she and Dorothy Melville became friends and Cowles became interested in many of the same projects Melville supported, including the Long Island Museum.
Her steadfast dedication to the LIM over the course of three decades led Cowles to make this truly transformative gift to the museum.