The Long Island Museum Announces Long-Range Plans

to Improve Diversity and Equity in Its Permanent Collection

Stony Brook, NY – February 4, 2022 … The Long Island Museum (LIM) is proud to announce its long-range plan to improve diversity and equity in the museum’s permanent collection.
In December 2021, the LIM’s Board of Trustees and Collections Committee approved an initiative to enhance the multiethnic and multicultural representation of all Long Island residents in its permanent collections. In a Collections Development Initiative to improve diversity in its collections, LIM will work towards a five-year goal to build a much more inclusive holding of art and historical objects from Long Island’s diverse communities. In an initial move in this effort, the Museum purchased the oil painting Fellowship Night, c. 1940, a work depicting a Long Island Black church, by Cyril Arthur Lewis (1903-1994).
LIM is beginning this focused institutional priority to better connect with, represent and share the stories, histories, and art of all of Long Island’s residents. By 2027, LIM is aiming to have made significant strides towards building a more inclusive collection that has much stronger, deeper representation of Long Island’s diverse populations of Latinx, Black, Native American, and Asian American communities (sometimes referred to as “BIPOC,” which stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, referring to Black, Native, Latinx, and Asian Americans). 
“We are making large strides to have our collections meet our programming efforts,” states Deputy Director Joshua Ruff, citing such recent exhibitions as Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island (2019) and education programs like Vehicles for Change, a popular LIM Education program (grades 4-8) which explores the life and activism of 19th century Civil Rights pioneer Elizabeth Jennings Graham, using a streetcar from its Carriage Collection. “This is vital to the Museum’s future. It is crucial for us to ensure that our collection properly reflects and shares the history of all diverse communities that have lived, worked hard, struggled, and celebrated here on Long Island throughout our collective history.”
The Museum has well-regarded permanent collections in its Art, History, and Carriage Museums, highlighted by an important and large costume and textile collection of 10,000 artifacts, from the 1780s to the 1990s; the paintings, drawings, and archives of significant American genre painter William Sidney Mount (1807-1868); and nearly 200 horse-drawn vehicles of every description, which help to tell the story of American transportation in the age before automobiles. This initiative will add to these strengths by adding the inclusion of artists or historical objects that help to document Long Island’s resident communities of color. 
The acquisition of Fellowship Night, c. 1940, which LIM purchased from South Bay Auctions in December, aids in this process. Born in Birmingham, England, Cyril Arthur Lewis emigrated to the U.S. in 1927, settling in Brooklyn. In 1937 he moved to East Williston and began painting and sketching local landmarks. Depicting an African American church during a nighttime event in this painting, he spotlights a building that was an important social center for the Black communities that developed on Long Island in the decades following the end of slavery in 1827.
In order to improve LIM’s collections diversity, the Museum will develop a collections advisory panel composed of external subject matter experts to periodically counsel and work with LIM’s curatorial department and Collections Committee. The Museum will also develop future exhibitions about Long Island’s diverse populations, such as a project next year that details the history of Sag Harbor’s historic Black Arts community, and make specific targeted appeals through Social Media and other community outreach efforts to help promote new donations to the collection. “This is a long-term effort,” says Joshua Ruff. “But it is one we believe in down to our bones, one that we are fully committed to.”
The artwork Fellowship Night, c. 1940, Cyril Arthur Lewis, was purchased by the Long Island Museum in December 2021.


Located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook, the Long Island Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults and children with an understanding of Long Island’s rich history and diverse cultures. The LIM will reopen for the spring season with new exhibitions on Thursday, March 3, 2022. Hours are Thursday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information visit: longislandmuseum.org.


Visit: AAQ / Portfolio — Dorothy and Ward Melville Carriage Collection



AAQ / Resource: Riverhead Ford | Riverhead Lincoln