HL Ferguson Museum Director Pierce Rafferty toured two anonymous “boaters” round the museum on August 25, 2017. To Pierce’s surprise he received a thank you note from one of them, Bill Hosley, who then revealed that he hosts the Facebook page facebook.com/HousingOurHistory.
Mr. Hosley wrote that he was a curator at the Wadsworth Atheneum at the time our Charlie Ferguson was directing the New Britain Museum. Mr. Hosley frequently visits and gives presentations on small museums. His review of the Ferguson Museum is extraordinarily positive and reinforces that our Island museum is truly a gem.
At right is a poster picture that promotes his lecture. He shared with Pierce that it will be amended to include our Museum.facebook review
Review by William Hosley
Posted on facebook August 26, 2017.
Having visited 1000+/- mostly smallmuseums I sometimes wonder if there is anything more to learn by seeing one more. You bet there is!
The Henry L. Ferguson Museum on Fishers Island, New York sprints to the top of a list of bests. It’s the only museum on Fishers Island – an island like no other. Owned entirely by the Winthrop family from the 1640s-1860s, it remained undivided and agriculture until the 1870s when it had a brief fling as a resort hotel mecca. In 1889, the Ferguson brothers bought most of the island and shifted its focus away from tourism, toward private residential development – a kind of gated community – designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.. Golf course architect Seth Raynor was hired by Fishers Island Club (1920s) and you get the picture. There are no hotels or B&B’s on Fishers Island -barely a restaurant. Its exclusive and Henry Ferguson, son of the founders, was a kind of genius at natural history and history, who built the core collection at the museum that bears his name.
We stumbled in and poked around with director Pierce Rafferty a fountain of knowledge and interpretive panache. Everything about it reminded me why deep historical knowledge and scholarship matter. Photography, natural history, ASTONISHING native American collection and assorted goodies – everything from and about the place. The labels are well written and deeply informed by scholarship – so I posted a couple to show what good labeling looks like. Its rarely this good. Finally, I LOVE this mission statement – and cannot overstate how wonderful it is when a place-based museum integrates ALL the elements of stewardship the way David K. Leff and I talk about. You may never get there (and that’s fine with Fishers Island which discourages tourism) so have a look.
Mission Statement: “The mission of The Henry L. Ferguson Museum is the collection, preservation, and exhibition of items of Pre-History, History and Natural History of Fishers Island and, through its Land Trust, the preservation in perpetuity of undeveloped property in its natural state. It is organized for the education and enjoyment of the Island’s community and visitors and for the protection of habitat for the Island’s flora and fauna.”