‘Snapshot’ of the ’50s and ’60s at upcoming museum exhibit

The East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation wants you!

More specifically, they want your photos and memorabilia from the 1950s and 1960s to put together an exhibit documenting how Greenport and the surrounding areas appeared during those decades.

“I thought, let’s dress up this room in the museum and make it a viable display with some activities that involve the community,” said Paul Kreiling, chairman of the museum board. 

Donated items will be returned. Scans of photos can also be used where possible, Mr. Kreiling said. 

The exhibit is being called “Snapshot: A Community Participation Event.”

The museum, which documents the area’s maritime heritage, will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next year, he said.

The foundation’s mission includes maintaining — and operating cruises to — Long Beach Bar “Bug” Lighthouse, among others; running the annual East End Maritime Festival in the fall; and managing the museum and the foundation’s many education programs. 

The museum, housed in a former train station adjacent to North Ferry and the Long Island Rail Road, has a 750-gallon saltwater aquarium on site as well as exhibits dealing with local maritime history.

“The museum is a welcome center to the village,” Mr. Kreiling said. “It’s right in the middle of the transportation hub so, if nothing else, it’s a primer on Greenport, its history and what’s going on now.”

Mr. Kreiling said he’s not a historian. His love of Bug Light is what drew him to the museum.

“I’m a sailor, I work on boats, I sail past it all the time,” he said. “I’ve noticed it needs a little paint. 30 years is a long time.”

The ’50s and ’60s were an era of great change, but locally, they were very poorly documented, Mr. Kreiling said. 

“So I thought I’d open it up to the community,” he said. “What do you have? Let the community shape the exhibit.”

The museum began accepting submissions March 30, with the goal of opening the exhibit in May.

“So, it’s working, but it’s going slow. Really slow,” Mr. Kreiling said. He’s hoping that will change. 

“A lot of people lived through that era, but it’s not like now, where everyone is taking pictures with their cellphones. Taking a picture was a big deal then.” 

He is planning to promote the exhibit on social media, including the museum’s Facebook and Instagram pages. 

People wishing to loan photos or other memorabilia for the exhibit can send an email to [email protected] or call 631-477-2100. 

“Whatever happens will be insightful. Will it be definitive? Absolutely not,” Mr. Kreiling said. “The idea is that they get to participate, and they get to be part of the museum. And they get it all back.”

Photo caption: East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation board members Tracy Orlando and Paul Kreiling with memorabilia. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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