The Main Hall and Gallery
The Main Hall is lined with photographic essays featuring maps, the America’s Cup, City Island’s most beautiful boats, the City Island bridges, and historic buildings, as well as a history timeline, models of a minesweeper and several rumrunners, built during Prohibition, and a handsome wooden kayak built in the 1930s. The foyer contains the museum’s gift shop featuring articles for sale such as books, t-shirts,photographs, postcards, and nautical gifts, and the desk where docents greet visitors. The Gallery features display cases with antique shipbuilding and sailmaking tools, and the walls are covered with photographs of yachts built or serviced here and portraits of legendary City Islanders who contributed so much to life and work here on the island.
The Walsh Library
The recently refurbished library features a collection of books devoted to maritime history and many binders and scrapbooks featuring newspaper clippings, postcards, and articles about City Island, Pelham Bay Park, and Hart Island. There is an extensive selection of nautical magazines, including Yachting, Rudder, Wooden Boat, and Classic Yacht, a data base of all boats built on City Island since 1848 and an impressive display of ship models. Special exhibitions regularly mounted in the library feature the work of local artists and photographs documenting aspects of City Island history.
The Nautical Room
Shipyards, sail lofts, yachts, and the people behind them are all honored here. Historical photographs, memorabilia, and artifacts fill the room and tell the story of City Island’s rich nautical past. Also on display are tools used by sailmakers and shipbuilders, several ship models, and some vintage outboard motors. Of particular interest in the room are several skiffs, a partially completed boat, and a Buchman sailing canoe from the early 1930s (all built on City Island).
The Community Room
Celebrating City Island from its earliest days, the Community Room displays photographs, maps, and memorabilia, including Native American arrowheads found in the area. The walls are covered with images of street scenes, stores, restaurants, private houses, and the waterfront then and now. Displays include a large relief map of City Island in about 1867, a diorama of the Battle of Pell’s Point that took place in October 1776, a niche devoted to City Island’s religious institutions, and many antique home furnishings, including sewing machines, an ice box, and a 100-year-old typewriter. A large counter from Gilbert’s Pharmacy serves as a display case in the center of the room.
The School Room
Student registers, graduation pictures, autograph books, report cards, the old school bell, and other artifacts tell the story of City Island’s schools, from the first school house, built in 1838, to the present school, P.S. 175, built in 1975, and St. Mary, Star of the Sea RC School, which served the island for over 75 years. A section of the room is set up like a traditional school room, and a unique map of the naval training station that was located in Pelham Bay Park from 1917 to 1918 hangs on the wall.