The Long Island Room is pleased to announce its 2019 Program Series and Exhibit, Long Island Innovators and Inventors.  Click on the program titles below to register.


An Electric Idea - Nikola Tesla and His Long Island Laboratory

Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 7:00- 8:30 pm

Around 1900, renowned inventor and electrical engineer, Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) set to work on his boldest project ever—building a global, wireless communication system transmitted through a large tower that would allow for the sharing of information and provide free electricity throughout the world. With funding from a group of investors, Tesla began work on the project in earnest, designing and building a laboratory with a power plant and a massive transmission tower on a site in Shoreham, known as Wardenclyffe. Tesla Science Center Board President, Jane Alcorn will discuss Nikola Tesla’s extraordinary life, significant innovations, construction of his Long Island laboratory, as well as the efforts to preserve the site and Tesla’s important legacy. 


Illuminating New York - The Life and Legacy of Inventor Lewis Latimer

Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 7:00- 8:30 pm

The son of fugitive slaves, Lewis H. Latimer (1848-1928) was determined to overcome his lack of formal education and, as a result, taught himself mechanical drawing while serving in the Union Navy.  He eventually became an expert draftsman and worked with three of the greatest scientific inventors in American history—Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram S. Maxim, and Thomas Alva Edison.  As Edison’s chief draftsman, Latimer invented and patented the carbon filament, a significant improvement in the production of the incandescent light bulb and went on to supervise the installation of street lighting and the construction of electric plants in many American cities, as well as London and Montreal.  Today, the Lewis H. Latimer House Museum, located in Flushing, Queens is a New York City landmark.  Join Museum Education Associate, Alex Unthank as she recounts Lewis Latimer’s remarkable story and many contributions to the field of electrical engineering.


Discovering Long Island’s Voice and Her Own - Alicia Patterson and the Founding of Newsday

Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 7:00- 8:30 pm

Though she was born into a family of prominent newspapermen, Alicia Patterson’s (1906-1963) future in the business seemed uncertain at best, particularly when she was fired from her own father’s newspaper, The New York Daily News, at the age of 21.  Despite this early setback, Patterson, along with her third husband, Harry F. Guggenheim, went on to successfully establish Long Island’s Newsday in September 1940.  With Patterson at the helm, the daily newspaper’s readership expanded rapidly, reaching the 100,000 circulation mark by 1949 and, in 1954, the publication was awarded its first Pulitzer Prize for its hard-hitting and, at the time, relatively unique brand of investigative journalism.  Geri Solomon, Assistant Dean of Special Collections at Hofstra University, will examine how Alicia Patterson altered the trajectory of her life and, in the process, became a true innovator in the highly competitive New York newspaper industry.


Apollo at 50- Long Island’s Role in the Race to the Moon

Tuesday, July 30, 2019, 7:00- 8:30 pm

Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, the world watched as Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their first steps on the moon.  While many are familiar with this landmark event, few may realize that the spacecraft that transported Armstrong and Aldrin to the moon’s surface, known as the Lunar Module, was built right here on Long Island, by the Grumman Corporation.  Learn more about the Apollo Space Program, the development and construction of the Lunar Module, and Long Island’s role in this historic period of space exploration, as a Cradle of Aviation Museum Educator reflects on the fiftieth anniversary of this significant achievement.     


Pioneering Science - The History of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 7:00- 8:30 pm

For well over a century, the research faculty at Long Island’s Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have contributed some of the most fundamental discoveries in molecular biology, genetics, and neuroscience.  Nobel Prize-winning scientists including Alfred D. Hershey, Barbara McClintock, Richard J. Roberts, and Carol Greider, among others, conducted their groundbreaking work at the CSHL facility.  And, through the years, other CSHL researchers have made major advancements in numerous fields of scientific research, many of which have helped humanity live better and longer.  The CSHL Archives preserves the original research and documents created by these pioneering scientists.  Discover the fascinating history of CSHL and the scientists who’ve worked there, as Ludmila (Mila) Pollock, MLS, Executive Director of the CSHL Library and Archives describes how the Laboratory transformed from a summertime-only marine biology-focused lab in 1890 to its current status as one of the most influential research centers in the world.


The Land of Moses - Robert Moses and Modern Long Island

Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 7:00- 8:30 pm

Prolific. Brash. Strategically brilliant. One of the most controversial figures in Long Island history. Builder Robert Moses (1888-1981) helped determine the environments in which we continue to live.  More than any other 20th century figure, Moses redefined transportation infrastructure and the recreational and cultural possibilities for generations of Long Islanders.  From the creation of his Long Island State Parks Commission blueprint in 1924, to his late career disappointments that included the proposed (but never built) Rye-Oyster Bay Bridge in 1973, the significance of Moses’s life continues to be debated, nearly 40 years after his death. Join Joshua Ruff, Chief Curator of the Long Island Museum, as he discusses Moses’s complex signature on bridges, parks, and highways and measures his legacy as an extraordinary builder and planner.



Long Island Innovators and Inventors

Much of Long Island’s past was driven and shaped by the innovative and inventive ideas of those who lived and worked here.  To illustrate this, the Long Island Room has assembled a collection of materials that represent some of the most significant achievements attained through the ingenuity and imagination of these remarkable Long Islanders.  This exhibit will be on view through December 2019. 

A special thanks to the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe for lending materials to this exhibit.