The Long Island Museum

Stony Brook, NY
February 20 – April 6, 2025

Mission: The Long Island Museum is dedicated to inspiring people of all ages with an understanding and enjoyment of American art, history, and carriages as expressed through the heritage of Long Island and its diverse communities.

The Long Island Museum (LIM), of Stony Brook, NY, wanted to be a venue for Voices and Votes because it feels a responsibility to help advance conversations about democracy within our community and our region. This is crucial as we simultaneously experience challenges to our democratic principles and also look back to commemorate our nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026. One of the largest museums in the Nassau-Suffolk region, LIM has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 1973 for excellence in exhibitions, programs and collection care. In 2006, the museum became a Smithsonian Affiliate.

Within the LIM’s permanent collection of more than 75,000 artifacts, many of our objects speak directly to local citizens’ engagement in national debates about who exactly is included in “we the people.” Long Islanders of all backgrounds have advocated and pushed toward an expanding definition of citizenship throughout the region’s history, from the Revolutionary War period and the elimination of the institution of slavery in the early republic, through the fight for women’s suffrage and Civil Rights. Issues of the early 21st century in the Nassau-Suffolk region—from advocacy work for immigrant rights, to the cause of affordable housing and job equity throughout our communities—have strong grassroots energy in 2023. Throughout history, residents of Long Island have worked inside and outside of formal government pathways and within the public sphere to ensure their voices are heard.

LIM has strong holdings of art and artifacts that will help illustrate the local and regional historical experiences in democracy. LIM owns a 29’-wide canvas political banner for the Democratic Party ticket of1912, with the painted faces of candidates at each level (national, statewide, and local; the banner was hung on Main Street, Islip, Long Island). The museum also has a collection of objects and photographs from regional residents who were a part of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, including memorabilia from the 1963 March on Washington. One of our most poignant artifacts connecting to the theme of citizenship is a paper sculpture of a bald eagle made by one of the 120 undocumented Chinese immigrants who was arrested and detained after the freighter Golden Venture ran aground at Rockaway Beach in 1993. The immigrant, Shi-Mu Chen, chose to use an American symbol of freedom in his work, powerfully representing the stories of many modern immigrants who have come to Long Island and New York seeking a better life. In addition to these objects, the Long Island Museum plans to borrow a small number of items from institutional and private collectors that speak to the themes of Voices and Votes. LIM will also design robust school and public programming and plans to collaborate with local community partners to extend the value of this important project.

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