Discover the world of local fishermen and sailors at folk-art lecture series

Discover the world of local fishermen and sailors at folk-art lecture series

Seafaring trades and recreation are what make Long Island special. Thanks to a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, The Whaling Museum & Education Center will be bringing first-hand accounts of both in a series of three-hour workshops in partnership with Long Island Traditions.

The “On The Water” series will explore Long Island’s maritime culture from the perspectives of those who work and play on our coastal waterways with the goal of teaching the next generation about our region’s rich heritage and traditions, and how they have changed over time.

Each program takes place at the museum from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The first program, “At Work & Play” on Sunday, March 18, will feature hands-on activities that reflect our recreational boating and fishing traditions, with five traditional artists and recreational fishermen. They include boat builders Ben Bentley and Edmanuel Roman, boat builder and model maker Chris Hale, decoy carver George Rigby, and maritime folk artist Herb Jurist.

On Sunday, April 8, “Working the Waters” will shift the focus to those who harvest fish and shellfish on Long Island. Visitors will meet Oyster Bay baymen Bill Fetzer and Fred Menges, Freeport baymen Tom Jefferies and Collin Weyant, and Patchogue clammer Flo Sharkey.

The final program on Thursday, May 17 will feature fishermen who have been in harrowing oceanic conditions and lived to tell about it. John Aldridge and Anthony Sosinski are the authors of “A Speck in the Sea,” which describes how Aldridge survived in the ocean after falling overboard during one of their fishing trips. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. Also joining in this evening program will be commercial fisherman Captain Tony Sougstad of Freeport, who once survived a powerful Nor’easter near George’s Banks.

The March and April programs are designed for families with lots of hands-on activities for children and teenagers. The May program is appropriate for families and adults. All events are free with museum admission. “On the Water” is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The Whaling Museum & Education Center is located at 279 Main St. (Route 25A) in Cold Spring Harbor.  For more information about these and more events, call the museum at 631-367-3418 or got to

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