By Barbara M. Russell
The Caroline Church of Brookhaven (Episcopal), One Dyke Road, Setauket, recently unveiled a new exhibit in its History Center.
Titled “Caroline Church in the 1700s,” it is the third exhibit curated by the Historical and Cultural Arts Commission. A self-guided tour takes the visitor through five areas illustrating the church and the community in the 18th century: Settler, Missionary, Clergy, Builder and Patriot/Loyalist. The narrative and artifacts presented in each area assist the viewer to understand the church’s role in a new and growing community.
A feature of the exhibit is a whimsical frog, which greets visitors at the start, and reappears, in colorful illustrations by artist John Rhein.
The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts brought Anglican missionaries to Long Island and by 1723, a congregation was formed in Setauket. Five clergy are highlighted in the exhibit; those who led the congregation from its inception, to the building of the church in 1729, through the American Revolution, and into the next century. Some architectural artifacts are on display including a round-top door and early nails.
The Patriot/Loyalist section includes biographies of two parishioners, Dr. George Muirson and his son, Heathcote. Dr Muirson, a local physician, was an ardent Loyalist, and his son, a Patriot. Also featured within the Patriot/Loyalist section is local resident, Benjamin Floyd. The viewer can decide which “side” he favored.
Two permanent exhibits, a timeline of Caroline Church and the Rector’s Gallery can also be seen.
The History Center is located in the lower level of the Parish House and is open Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon. Arrangements can be made to view the exhibit at other times by calling the Parish Office at 631-941-4245.