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Standing behind the Dutch doors at the back (Credit: Nancy Borowick)

Standing behind the Dutch doors at the back of the Rock Hall Museum home, director Linda Barreira, and museum assistants Jess Engelman and Carol Mauriello, greet and guide visitors to the house originally built in 1767 for Josiah Martin, a wealthy West Indian plantation owner. (Aug. 1, 2012)

House museums offer glimpses of a bygone way of life

At Long Island's plethora of house museums, visitors will see items similar to those pictured in books about Colonial-era life, along with a few head-scratchers that elicit a smile when you hear what they do. -- Kay Blough

Standing behind the Dutch doors at the back
(Credit: Nancy Borowick)

Standing behind the Dutch doors at the back of the Rock Hall Museum home, director Linda Barreira, and museum assistants Jess Engelman and Carol Mauriello, greet and guide visitors to the house originally built in 1767 for Josiah Martin, a wealthy West Indian plantation owner. (Aug. 1, 2012)

The master bedroom inside the 1743 James Havens
(Credit: Randee Daddona)

The master bedroom inside the 1743 James Havens Homestead Museum on Shelter Island has furnishings from the 19th and 20th centuries. (July 31, 2012)

Beverlea Walz, curator of the 1747 James Havens
(Credit: Randee Daddona)

Beverlea Walz, curator of the 1747 James Havens Homestead on Shelter Island, pulls out a gentleman's waistcoat from the 18th century bedroom. (July 31, 2012)

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A desk where a store ledger was kept
(Credit: Randee Daddona)

A desk where a store ledger was kept is on display in the 18th century tavern room inside the 1743 James Havens Homestead Museum on Shelter Island. (July 31, 2012)

In the original Colonial room of the Conklin
(Credit: Daniel Brennan)

In the original Colonial room of the Conklin Farmhouse in Huntington, left, is the chair believed to have been used by George Washington during a visit while on a tour of Long Island in 1790, at Widow Platt's Tavern in Huntington. (Aug. 5, 2012)

A silver tea set and serving tray sit
(Credit: Daniel Brennan)

A silver tea set and serving tray sit atop a small table in the Victorian dining room of the Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay. The room was typically used by the Townsend family to host formal dinner parties and features a unique vaulted ceiling and large bay windows. (Aug. 2, 2012)

Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay was originally
(Credit: Daniel Brennan)

Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay was originally a Colonial era saltbox home dating back to 1740, but the museum has been transformed over the years and now stands as an educational exhibition space to help visitors connect with Long Island's history. (Aug. 2, 2012)

The upstairs hallway of the Raynham Hall Museum
(Credit: Daniel Brennan)

The upstairs hallway of the Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay is decorated in ornate Victorian styling. (Aug. 2, 2012)

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Volunteer docent Cheryl Richman, of the Huntington Historical
(Credit: Daniel Brennan)

Volunteer docent Cheryl Richman, of the Huntington Historical Society, explains the importance of the hearth in the "Summer Kitchen" of the Conklin Farmhouse in Huntington to visitor Sandra Otterman, of Old Westbury. (Aug. 5, 2012)

Edwin Bonilla, 10, checks out the original details
(Credit: Nancy Borowick)

Edwin Bonilla, 10, checks out the original details of the harp that dates back to circa 1800 in the guest parlor of the Rock Hall Museum in Lawrence. (Aug. 1, 2012)

Director of the Rock Hall Museum in Lawrence,
(Credit: Nancy Borowick)

Director of the Rock Hall Museum in Lawrence, Linda Barreira, points out the various medical items on display in the study of Dr. Samuel Martin, the son of Josiah Martin who originally owned Rock Hall. (Aug. 1, 2012)

A second-floor bedroom at the Second House Museum
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

A second-floor bedroom at the Second House Museum in Montauk has a baby's crib and another bed. (Aug. 2, 2012)

A view from a second floor window at
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

A view from a second floor window at the Second House Museum in Montauk looks out at the barn. (August 2, 2012)

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A bedroom inside the Second House Museum in
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

A bedroom inside the Second House Museum in Montauk was converted into a school room that served about a dozen students in the 1890s. (August 2, 2012)

The Custom House museum in Sag Harbor was
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

The Custom House museum in Sag Harbor was both the Customs Office and the home of Henry Packer Dering. (August 2, 2012)

The parlor at the Custom House museum in
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

The parlor at the Custom House museum in Sag Harbor. (August 2, 2012)

The wash room at the Custom House museum
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

The wash room at the Custom House museum in Sag Harbor. (August 2, 2012)

An original Conklin family Bible is displayed in
(Credit: Daniel Brennan)

An original Conklin family Bible is displayed in the corner of the original Colonial room of the Conklin Farmhouse Museum in Huntington. It was common during the period for Bibles to be used by families to keep accurate family records for birth and death. (Aug. 5, 2012)

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At the Conklin Farmhouse in Huntington, a wooden
(Credit: Daniel Brennan)

At the Conklin Farmhouse in Huntington, a wooden bowl sits on the table in the summer kitchen, an addition built onto the home 10 years after the original construction, giving Sybel Conklin more space in which to prepare food for the family and carry out other daily activities. (Aug. 5, 2012)

A collection of artifacts is on second floor
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

A collection of artifacts is on second floor at the Second House Museum in Montauk. (August 2, 2012)

Portrait of Thomas Dering, the first Customs Master
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

Portrait of Thomas Dering, the first Customs Master of the United States, hangs at the Custom House museum in Sag Harbor where he once lived. (August 2, 2012)

Cards and a cribbage board carved on a
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

Cards and a cribbage board carved on a tusk lie on the bed in the children's bedroom on the second floor at the Custom House museum in Sag Harbor. (August 2, 2012)

The pantry at the Custom House museum in
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

The pantry at the Custom House museum in Sag Harbor contains barrels, baskets and jugs of the post Revolutionary War era. (August 2, 2012)

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Beneath the main floors of the Rock Hall
(Credit: Nancy Borowick)

Beneath the main floors of the Rock Hall Museum in Lawrence is the cellar space, which is home to a wine cellar, cool storage area, a warming kitchen and an ongoing excavation and archeology exhibit room where they have been digging and finding items, such as wine and olive oil bottles since the mid-1990s. (Aug. 1, 2012)

Linda Barreira, director of the Rock Hall Museum
(Credit: Nancy Borowick)

Linda Barreira, director of the Rock Hall Museum in Lawrence, flips through the pages of a math notebook, which belonged to Dr. Samuel Martin, the son of Josiah Martin, who originally owned Rock Hall. (Aug. 1, 2012)

Medicine containers sit dusty and aged in the
(Credit: Nancy Borowick)

Medicine containers sit dusty and aged in the study of Dr. Samuel Martin, the son of Josiah Martin, who originally owned Rock Hall in Lawrence. (Aug. 1, 2012)

The warming kitchen was a space between the
(Credit: Nancy Borowick)

The warming kitchen was a space between the outside kitchen and the main dining room where food items were brought to be staged, plated and warmed before being presented to the Martin family, who lived in Rock Hall which is now a museum in Lawrence. (Aug. 1, 2012)

In Josiah and Mary Martin’s bedroom in the
(Credit: Nancy Borowick)

In Josiah and Mary Martin’s bedroom in the Rock Hall Museum in Lawrence sits a pair of 18th century blue satin shoes with buckles, which had been purchased from auction because they very closely resembled a pair that Mary Martin herself once wore. (Aug. 1, 2012)

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A portrait of Solomon Townsend II hangs on
(Credit: Daniel Brennan)

A portrait of Solomon Townsend II hangs on the wall of the Victorian parlor of the Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay. (Aug. 2, 2012)

Cases holding original prints and photographs of the
(Credit: Daniel Brennan)

Cases holding original prints and photographs of the people who related to the Townsend family -- including John Abeel Weekes, pictured here -- line the downstairs hallway of the Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay. (Aug. 2, 2012)

A brass eagle knocker remains on the front
(Credit: Daniel Brennan)

A brass eagle knocker remains on the front door of Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay, and inscribed is the name Townsend, the name of the original family to own the Colonial era saltbox home, purchased by Samuel Townsend in 1738. (Aug. 2, 2012)

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