Two familiar structures in the Three Village area are about to get makeovers.
New York state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) recently secured state grants for The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook and the Old Field Lighthouse. The museum will receive $300,000 for the renovation of the saltbox building that was once used as a visitors center and gift shop. The Village of Old Field will receive $278,000 from the state to offset the cost of repairs the lighthouse needs.
Museum visitors center and gift shop
Sarah Abruzzi, director of major gifts and special projects at LIM, said the structure closest to 25A on the west side will be the one renovated. The old gift shop and visitors center was closed in 2009, and museum guests currently browse a small selection of items in a gift corner located in the history museum also on the west side of LIM’s campus on Route 25A. Patrons buy tickets and get information there too.
Abruzzi said the decision to close the original visitors center and gift shop was tough, but the right one at the time. The director said many patrons have missed the former gift shop that offered a wider variety of items and asked for its return, and recently it became a priority to get one up and running as soon as possible.
Abruzzi said she and museum executive director Neil Watson met with Flanagan in May to discuss the plans they are working on. The gift shop renovation is the lead project within a master plan for LIM, according to Abruzzi.
“It’s so generous, it’s so wonderful,” she said. “We’re so proud that Senator Flanagan recognizes that the museum is such an important part of the community.”
Flanagan said it was his pleasure to secure the funding for the renovations for LIM’s upcoming 80th anniversary.
“It is so important that the history of our region is preserved and available to our residents and The Long Island Museum is crucial in that effort,” he said. “This project will enhance the experience for all future visitors while also providing a platform for local artists, and I am glad to be able to assist in this undertaking.”
Abruzzi said once the building is renovated, visitors will be able to go inside to get tickets, information and buy from a wider variety of items in the new gift shop, including more original art and crafts from local makers.
“We’re just really trying to reinforce the Long Island connection,” she said.
Local architect John Cunniffe is working on construction drawings, according to Abruzzi, and once the process is completed the bidding phase will begin. She said Flanagan securing the grant is a tremendous help in the project that was launched with museum supporters’ financial commitments. Last year’s LIM holiday gala raised approximately $25,000 toward the renovations at the museum and covered the cost of design and engineer fees.
Old Field Lighthouse
Village of Old Field Mayor Michael Levine said the lighthouse, built in 1868, needs extensive repairs from the basement to the top
“Almost every aspect of the lighthouse needs to be repaired,” Levine said. “It hasn’t been repaired in decades.”
The mayor said there is significant leaking within the walls, windows need to be replaced, the cast iron where the beacon sits is pitted, plaster is falling and the bathroom needs to be redone.
“The money that we are getting is extremely helpful, but it’s really just the beginning of the process,” he said.
The mayor said the village is in the process of setting up a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to allow residents to contribute to the renovations that will take a few years to complete.
According to Flanagan’s website, the money will also help in making the lighthouse, which is open to the public during the day, Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.
“The Old Field Lighthouse is a landmark of major importance to our region as well as a continuing beacon of safety for Long Island boaters,” the senator said. “It is crucial that we protect these historic properties for future generations, and I am happy to work with Mayor Levine and the rest of the Village of Old Field board to secure this funding to preserve this piece of Long Island history.”