Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society presents WWI: The Home Front

Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society presents WWI: The Home Front
Photographs, uniforms, newspapers and artifacts tell the story of how Long Islanders responded to the war effort, supported U.S. soldiers, protected the homestead and fostered the suffragette movement. (Photo courtesy of the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society)

The Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society presents WWI: The Home Front – Our Community Takes Action, a first-of-its-kind nine-room major exhibition that examines how and why the U.S. entered the First World War and how this affected communities on Long Island, throughout New York State and across the country.

The docent-guided exhibit includes photographs, uniforms, newspapers, personal letters and artifacts documenting military, suffragist, cultural and agricultural developments from the era.

The 90-minute exhibition tours take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays in September and October at 10:30 a.m. and are limited to a maximum of 10 people per tour. The museum is also offering privately scheduled group tours for up to 10 people.

The entry fee is $10 and tickets can be reserved ahead of time at The exhibition will reopen in the spring for the 2023 season.

“This exhibition is not about the war, it’s about the home front,” said Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society President Chris Bain. “The exhibition showcases what was happening on Long Island during World War I. The story of the home front is a personal one and hasn’t really been told in this way.”

Military training began in hometown communities, including Port Washington and across the country. Visitors can view photographs and artifacts of Port Washington’s Home Defense Force, considered one of the most well-disciplined in the state. Training camps included Port Washington’s Main Street School and Manorhaven’s Locust Grove Pavilion, with military bases in Garden City and Yaphank.

Women played a vital role in assisting the U.S. campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic. The exhibition spotlights their work in occupations that had previously only employed men, who at wartime were drafted or enlisted in the military. Farmerettes cultivated crops in Port Washington, across Long Island and nationally.

Women’s contributions further ignited momentum for the concurrent suffragist movement, as shown in the exhibition. This is supplemented with photos and profiles of local advocates, the Silent Sentinels and the women of the Sands-Willets House, now home to The Historical Society.

This exhibit showcases the patriotic initiatives, including victory gardens and canning lessons on the Long Island Railroad, that civilians led to support Americans overseas at war. WWI: The Home Front also focuses on local youth scouts and their contributions during the war.

The exhibition is made possible by the ongoing philanthropic support of James and Karli Hagedorn. Additionally, a generous grant from the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation provided support for the Historical Society to produce a 160-page full-color exhibition catalog, as a companion text, available for purchase at the exhibit.

For more information and tickets, visit call 516-365-9074, or email [email protected]. The Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society is at the Sands-Willet House, 336 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington, New York.

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