Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum
Main Street, PO Box 25
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724
Hours: Open throughout the year, Tuesdays through Sundays 11:00am to 5:00pm. During the summer, the Museum extends its
days of operations to include Mondays. The Museum is also open on
Mondays falling on a federal holiday.
Phone: (631) 367-3418
Fax: (631) 692-7037
The village of Cold Spring Harbor, on the north shore of Long Island, was home to nine whaling vessels for more than thirty years. Whaling was one of the top industries in early Long Island. The Whaling Industry provided residents of the Hudson River Valley with large supply of sperm oil, as well as other products from the whales. This short lived, but powerful, industry opened up a new chapter of history within New York. Whaling was demanding and dangerous work: whalers were out to sea for approximately 75% of their life, their living quarters were poor, and food preparation onboard ship was similar in quality. Whale products, however were prosperous, with high demand for candles, whips, lamps, perfumes, and soaps made from whale parts. The Whaling industry waned as the nineteenth century wore on, especially with the discovery of petroleum and the invention of kerosene lamps.
The Cold Spring Harbor museum opened in 1942. As its website testifies: "The Whaling Museum is the only facility on Long Island and in New York State open year-round which focuses primarily on the whaling industry of the region." It features exhibits on whaling implements, marine paintings, ship models, a diorama of the whaling port and a fully equipped whaleboat from the brig. There is also an impressive collection of primary sources and manuscripts related to Long Island whaling. Special exhibitions are introduced yearly. Special events are also held (see website). The Museum also publishes a newsletter online.
The Museum is one hour and fifteen minutes east of the George Washington Bridge. Take the Long Island Expressway to exit 44N. Follow North on Woodbury Rd to Route 25A. Turn right toward the town of Cold Spring Harbor. Watch for Museum on the left-hand side in Town.