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Letter: Gregory Museum: Half A Century Of Hicksville History

One of those priceless little jewels that endow Long Island with its oftentimes overlooked cultural, historical and scientific heritage amid the ubiquitous subdivisions, shopping malls and automotive arteriosclerosis, the Hicksville Gregory Museum remains hidden in plain sight.

This unintended camouflage conceals a science and history museum housed in Hicksville’s 1895 Heitz Place Courthouse with scientific collections from all over the world, illustrating the community’s metamorphosis from 19th Century railroad town to the heart of suburbia’s commuter culture. Permanent exhibits alone consist of Long Island’s largest assemblage of rocks, minerals, exquisite crystals and rare ores; extensive paleontological specimens including dinosaur eggs and bones; ornate seashells from tropical waters; and hundreds of Lepidoptera specimens representing all the major families and genera of butterflies and moths.

For the student of history, there’s the William Clare History Room, featuring vintage maps and photographs, miscellaneous artifacts and ephemera and memorabilia evocative of Hicksville’s earlier days.

The year 2013 marks 50 years since the Hicksville Gregory Museum was established in the residence of Hicksville educator, Dr. Gardiner E. Gregory, the brainchild of a civic-minded, if eccentric polymath whose home on Cottage Boulevard served as a museum until – with a grassroots endeavor of dedicated parents, educators, civic organizations and the local business community – the abandoned 1895 courthouse on Heitz Place was restored and made the institution’s permanent home.

Today, the museum remains not merely the repository of significant artifacts but an educational and community resource welcoming school children, scouts and the general public. The board of the Hicksville Gregory Museum is planning events throughout the year of 2013 to mark the museum’s anniversary. Starting off on Sunday, Jan. 27, The Hicksville Historical Society’s annual social program at the museum will feature the museum’s 50 years of service. Stay tuned for future events throughout the year!

Paul Manton

Docent/Staff Entomologist

Hicksville Gregory Museum