An Artist’s View With Mary Anne Lund – The Kings Park Heritage Museum

Written By: KPN - Oct• 18•14

Watercolor by Mary Anne Lund

The Kings Park Heritage Museum

As Leo Ostebo regales you with the history of Kings Park’s many heritages – Irish, Italians, Jewish….your eyes are drawn to the shelves in his small office at the Heritage Museum housed at RJO.  He proudly notes his Norwegian heritage and his father’s background with the space program at Grumman Aircraft – all the while your eyes continue to dance over the titles:  Sports, scouts, high school reunions, Army, Navy, Air Force, Civil War, and all those families who built this community and made it flourish.  There is a particular pride in the number of military academy graduates and officers from ensigns to Admirals – a wall display lists graduates from all the academies and the fact that this small town has produced so many remarkable people.

Today, the 19th of October 2014 is the Heritage Museum’s Annual Brunch. Among the festivities will be a book signing for “Wilhelmina: An Imagined Memoir” by author R.J. McCarthy. Dr. McCarthy is a graduate of KPHS class of 1960.  Two great, great granddaughters of the title character will be in attendance. Walk-ins are welcome.  Come out and support your museum! Donation of $20.00 includes brunch.

The many multicultural individuals living in or around Kings Park founded homesteads, raised families and helped build the community through the years producing countless men and women who have gone on to benefit their country as business leaders, military officers, farmers, teachers, storekeepers, and principals in many other fields. Many of these people came as far away as Ireland to work at the Kings Park Psychiatric Center.  The many nurses who have graduated from the School of Nursing at the hospital can be seen in the Lule Medical Room.

As you enter the main corridor, you are greeted by a display of the natural habitat of Kings Park, a corner summary of the displays and coming events, and a history of the town’s association with Grumman Aircraft.  A floor to ceiling display is dedicated to the almost 100 graduates of the military academies including the U.S. Military Academy/West Point, the Air Force Academy/Colorado Springs, the Coast Guard Academy/New London, the Naval Academy/Annapolis, and the Merchant Marine Academy/ Kings Point. This represents over 50M dollars in military and ROTC scholarships. This is an extraordinary number of students from a town the size of Kings Park.  KUDOS!!

The halls are filled with display cases ranging from historical maps to matchbook toys, artwork, military models, photographs of local beaches and estuaries, natural history and, dare I say – even a teapot collection! Yours truly is proud to have had her artwork, 32 pieces mostly watercolors, on display some years ago.

Hilary Boeheme Room is a showcase of articles of leisure time. Items include children’s toys – dolls to puppets and board games. Among other items, it also contains old fashioned cameras, record players and telephones.

The Borden Room is an early-to mid-1900’s classroom. It has old-fashioned desks, teaching equipment including an abacus. There is an entire cabinet dedicated to school sports memorabilia. It also contains a 911 memorial with the names of local heroes.

The Cusick History Room embodies the military history of Kings Park and its inhabitants. Topics range from the Revolutionary War, World War II, The Battle of Iwo Jima, US Coast Guard history plus the moon landings and beyond.  Kings Park has a strong Aerospace heritage through Grumman Aircraft later named Grumman Aerospace Corporation. Among the relics are military uniforms, fighting equipment, and extraordinary models of boats, planes and ships. Additionally, the room contains army helmets, world history books as well as an assortment of military branch flags.

The Flynn Family Room contains Fire Department objects such as a fireman’s suit, a fire department bell, and much more.  The room also contains an old fashioned telescope, astronomy equipment, Native American artifacts, farming equipment and work tools. It proudly contains historical families dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.

The Tiernan Room is a resource center with 168 booklets containing all of the family histories, photographs of the town, 100 books on the Kings Park Psychiatric Center, alone – ethnic heritage, the 350th anniversary of Smithtown celebrated this past June, and all of the high school graduates for several decades. Here you can learn about the early days of Indian Head and the 1869 founding of the Society of St Johnland that purchased farmland to set up farming communities. St Johnland later became Kings Park.  The Museum also has two shelves dedicated to the Howard Orphan Asylum for black children and the African American Nurse pioneer, Mary Eliza Mahoney, who headed the orphanage for one year.  Howard is General O. O. Howard who founded  Howard University.

The Lule Medical Room – named for the Smithtown Public Health Nurse, Mary Lule whose history dates to the 1920’s and 30’s.This is a tribute to The School of Nursing at the hospital. Here you can find medical supplies and hospital equipment and many photos of the nurses throughout the years.

The Leo Polaski Room is home to artifacts from the Kings Park Psychiatric Center including hospital items, wheelchairs, doctors’ uniforms and more.  In addition, you can see pictures of the Psychiatric Center physicians and directors, and parts of the hospital’s 1900-1940 fire alarm system.

Smith Room – welcomes you to a room of old-fashioned household history of Kings Park.  Here you can find many antique kitchen appliances – including culinary artifacts from cold stoves to fine china, pots and pans, and a real ice box from the Smith Farm from the 1910’s. You can also see washboards, sewing machines, and old time baby cribs. A beautiful handmade quilt representing Kings Park education from 1844 to 1994 is on display.

Peter Colgan Land – Kings Park General Store established in 1931.  Get ready for this: It’s the largest room consisting of a horse drawn vehicle, antiques cars including an old police car. Lots of farm implements and work tools can be seen. Best yet – that gorgeous antique car has a sign that reads, “Hoover for President.”  Who doesn’t remember Hoover??  Come on…….

I quote the Kings Park Notebook’s article saying, “The Museum Trustee, Gail Hessel, is fond of saying, ‘You don’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you came from.”’ Yes, indeed, Gail!  In closing, the Kings Park Heritage Museum highlights those families and individuals who built Kings Park.  The artifacts donated by many residents give tangible evidence to the lives they led and the inspiration that made them great.  Lastly, our gratitude goes out to the many volunteers who have given countless hours and years of their time to make this museum a reality. Thank you all for your labor of love!

The watercolor rendering was painted for the Kings Park Heritage Museum and is part of their permanent collection. To see more of my work on facebook, please click here. ____________________________________________________________

Mary Anne Lund is a fine art impressionist landscape painter specializing in watercolor and oil painting renderings of seashore, wetlands, marshes, and other scenic and historical sites of Long Island and, more recently, Connecticut. She has studied with noted accomplished artists through the years and is a member of the Art League of Long Island, Dix Hills, NY, Wet Paints Studio Group, Sayville, NY, Lyme Art Association, Old Lyme, CT, Mystic Art Center, Mystic, Ct., and East Hampton Art Association, East Hampton, Ct. Mary Anne, a native Long Islander, has a home in Kings Park on the North Shore of Long Island, New York, from where she has drawn much of her inspiration and compositions.

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