Once a piece of history is tossed into a garbage can it’s usually lost forever. Brian Hansen doesn’t want that to happen to any Huntington School District related artifact. So send the curator of the School Heritage Museum a message first and he’ll be a happy man.
From time to time Mr. Hansen is contacted by folks both near and far who tell him they have an attic full of items to donate. When such a call comes in, he’s like a child standing over a pile of wrapped presents, big eyes and all.
A graduate of Huntington High School, Mr. Hansen is a history buff and the official historian of the Huntington School District. The museum collection he presides over includes thousands of old photos, every yearbook ever published by the high school, old diplomas, books, awards, letters, graduation programs and even school cornerstones and their contents.
Mr. Hansen hopes to add to the museum’s yearbook collection this year. He said that he tells anyone who will listen: “Please don’t throw anything away if it is related to the school district.” He urges people to call him at 631-673-2048 or send him a message at [email protected].
The Heritage Museum is located in Room 140 at Huntington High School. It contains a fascinating display of memorabilia on display, including a nearly 120 year old water fountain and century old furniture, books, equipment, photos, original school building blueprints and student work through the years.
The museum’s current location opened 14 years ago. Since then the collection has continued to grow. There are even displays throughout the high school hallways. A large bell that once rang out atop district schools 160 years ago sits near a row of guidance offices, complete with written information about its significance.
Mr. Hansen offers class tours of the museum’s collection and has a knack for stimulating student interest in the study of local history. Alumni reunion planners routinely contact the history buff to schedule a tour of the School Heritage Museum and the high school. The curator tries to never disappoint them.
The museum complex includes display areas, a workroom to catalog and prepare artifacts for public viewing, several hundred tiered cushioned seats, a small stage for instructional programs, multi-media equipment and areas for students, teachers and community members to conduct research in the rich history of the district.
There are several showcases in the hallways outside the museum’s doors that are also used to display part interesting artifacts. Some are permanently mounted on nearby walls.
One recent initiative launched by Mr. Hansen involves erecting historical markers at the site of long demolished Huntington UFSD buildings or locations of memorable events that can be tied to the district in some way. Markers have been installed at the sites of Woodbury Avenue Elementary School and Roosevelt Elementary as well as behind the Halesite Fire Department where a beached whale once led to schools closing early because of the pandemonium created by the event.
For more information about the district’s history or to arrange a tour or contribute artifacts to the museum’s collection contact Mr. Hansen.