Museum of Natural History rolls into town

03/25/2013 8:00 AM |
Museum of Natural History comes to Long Island

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Anthropologist and archeologist Lisa Stevenson of Aquebogue inside the mobile museum which has exhibits on nomadic people: the Native Americans on Long Island, Montana and Mongolia.

The Suffolk County Historical Society’s “Moveable Museum” has officially rolled into action.

Artifacts are now easier than ever for students to access thanks to a unique gift from the Museum of National History.

Suffolk County Historical Society bus from

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A Mongolian vessel made of Yak leather, 600 year-old Indian wampum beads and 1,000 year-old Indian spearheads.

In May 2012, the New York City museum donated a 37-foot-long Winnebago, retrofitted as a 250-square-foot exhibition space. The walk-in exhibit is designed to teach about nomadic cultures.

Now, after nearly one year, a new paint job and other interior upgrades, the mobile museum made its debut last Tuesday in the Sachem School District.

Students from Nokomis Elementary School in Holtsville learned about the Gabra, Mongol, Blackfeet and Algonkian people through interactive exhibits. The displays feature artifacts from both the American Museum of Natural History and the Suffolk County Historical Society.

“It’s like we’re training young Indiana Joneses,” said Kathryn Curran, Suffolk County Historical Society’s executive director. “It is a bridge to communities and neighborhoods.”

The museum also serves as a bridge to Suffolk County’s past. The historical society added the Algonkian exhibit as a way to bring the area’s history to life for students.

The Algonkian people are native to Long Island and the SCHS collection includes nearly 5,000 spearheads, arrows and other artifacts. Many are on display in the mobile museum.

The historical society hired two educators, Lisa Stevenson and Jen Lacey, to manage its rotating exhibits.

Ms. Stevenson, a practicing anthropologist and educator for more than 20 years, has tailored the program toward school-aged children. The curriculum is broken into two parts, a classroom session in school and a hands-on session in the mobile museum. Each meets New York State standards for education.

“It fits the need at the right time,” Ms. Stevenson said. “This is the best possible scenario.”

The historical society is currently seeking sponsors for the Moveable Museum.

Those interested in helping with or participating in the project can call 631-727-2881, ext. 101.

cmurray@timesreview.com

Moveable Museum in Riverhead

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Suffolk County Historical Society’s ‘moveable museum’ made its inaugural trip to an elementary school in Sachem School District last week.

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