Free admission to the Côte-Nord Historical Museum | Herald Community Newspapers
Going beyond her usual donation, Irene Harris, a former school district teacher from Glen Cove City, made the decision this year to donate $5,000 to the North Shore Historical Museum. Thanks to his generosity, for the first time, general admission to the museum is free for the rest of the year.
“I love the work the museum does and I’m a part of many of the exhibits there,” Harris said. “I think it should be available for everyone, I don’t want there to be any obstacles.”
Now guests will receive a “happy little surprise” when they visit, said Amy Driscoll, executive director of NSHM. Driscoll added that the money will help the museum attract more people to visit and join as members.
“We are incredibly touched and honored that she believes in the museum, our exhibits and our programming,” Driscoll said. “We are very grateful that more people have the opportunity to learn about local history. There should be no price on knowing your community.
As a non-profit, voluntary organization, the museum’s primary source of revenue comes from donations, membership fees, and programming fees. Having the ability to provide that free admission through the donation, Driscoll noted, will hopefully bring more awareness and contributors to the museum.
“We don’t get any money from the state, the town of Glen Cove or the town of Oyster Bay, unless it’s in the form of a grant, which we have to apply for like anyone else. else,” Driscoll said.
Over the years, Harris has supported the museum’s exhibits. She served on the Harlem Hellfighters Recognition Committee and helped research and collect other exhibits, such as the current opening of the Harlem Renaissance.
Harris has been linked to the Justice Court building, built in 1907, since it reopened as a museum in 2012. Her husband, Dr David Harris, is one of the first board members and curators to join.
David said the idea behind this year’s donation was his wife’s idea. “I thought it was a great idea,” David said. “And part of what she thought was that it would open things up.”
“I want everyone to know what’s going on at the museum,” Harris said. “And I thought that would be a way to guarantee that.”
As a teacher in the district, Harris worked at Tomorrow’s World, Coles Elementary, Landing Elementary, and Robert M. Finley Middle School. Her experience as a teacher and museum lover has shown her that it is important for the community to learn about the history of her house. “When you’ve put so much effort into it, you want to share it with as many people as possible,” Harris said.
Even before the pandemic, Harris said there was virtually no foot traffic in the museum and community members were not fully aware of the existence of the museum and its services. Even though general admission was around $5, Harris thinks once people learn it’s now free, more will come to visit.
“The current exhibits are very interesting,” Harris said. “People you meet sometimes just to talk about different things, they’re all very interesting. But if you don’t make that first visit, if you don’t walk through the door, it’s a treasure you’re just not aware of.
Harris is also working to provide more educational opportunities at the museum. She and her husband are working to have a traveling exhibit that could travel statewide.
Preserving and sharing the history of Long Island’s North Shore has been the mission of the North Shore Historical Museum since the 1907 repurposing of the Justice Court building in Glen Cove in 2012.
At the museum, Driscoll said, there are exhibits dedicated to the history of local shops and Morgan Memorial Park. Most of the original architecture is still in place. Visitors could tour the Judge’s Chambers and Courtroom, which houses the museum’s mock trial program.
“I think what’s happening at the museum is quality work,” Harris said. “If more people had some insight into this and were aware of the fun and value of these projects, these events, [and] these exhibits are, they would be eager to come back for more.”