By Pam Robinson
The museum is hosting various activities from 11am through 4pm to explore and celebrate the world of sea glass: ocean-tumbled, frosted glass gems found on beaches and collected by hobbyists.
Visitors are encouraged to bring in sea glass pieces for identification and to participate in the Shard of the Year contest. Visitors are also encouraged to bring in antique or vintage glass bottles for identification and appraisal.
The festival is supported in part with funds awarded through a grant from Suffolk County Economic Development and Planning.
Mary McCarthy, executive director of The Beachcombing Center, will talk about sea glass identification, and identify sea glass shards brought in by visitors. She will also judge the event’s Shard of the Year contest. George Wm. Fisher, an author and local expert on antique bottles, will discuss the history of antique bottles, and exhibit a collection of antique glass bottles. The Long Island Antique Bottle Association will conduct bottle appraisals for visitors, exhibiting their collection, and selling antique bottles.
Participants can join a sea glass jewelry workshop presented by the museum’s education team. Youth can join glass-themed crafts and scavenger hunt activities in the gallery.
“Our museum has many treasures in its 6,000-item collection, but some of my favorite pieces are our beautiful glass artifacts, which we are excited to bring out for visitors,” said Nomi Dayan, executive director of The Whaling Museum. “We thank Suffolk County for this grant award and this opportunity to connect the work of local artists, performers and community partners to Long Island communities. We are excited to host an event to draw the public’s attention to the art of sea glass, and the use of the glass arts as a platform to inspire and expand public knowledge about our local history.”
Visitors can also enjoy the live music of sea shanties (maritime work songs) performed by The Royal Yard. Vendors such as Surfside Sea Glass, Sea Glass Grotto, and Sea Schleps will display glass-themed collections and present handmade artwork, jewelry, and other items created from sea glass for purchase.
The front lawn of the museum’s Wright House will be used as a picnic area for visitors to purchase and enjoy meals from The Big Black Food Truck, which will be serving a menu of delicious and surprising food items.
“We are delighted to present this new event to Long Island! We hope it will draw sea glass enthusiasts far and wide, as well as bring together our patrons and local community to share and engage in the artistic and historical connections of glass and the sea,” said Gina Van Bell, assistant director of The Whaling Museum. “Our museum has so much to share not just about whaling, but about the community surrounding whaling and the lives lived by all those affected by the booming whaling industry of the 1850’s. Glass bottles housing medicines and beverages were essential for whaling voyages, but once they were of no use they were discarded into the sea only to be discovered as little treasures for our beach visitors to find.”
The Whaling Museum & Education Center is selling advance tickets to the event at https://www.cshwhalingmuseum.org/seaglass.html at $10. The event is free for children 3 and under. Museum members pay a discounted rate of $8. The sea glass pendant workshop is an additional fee of $7, or $5 for museum members. All other event activities are included in admission.