2004-12-24 / Community

Rockaway Museum To Close For Winter Hiatus 12/30

By Howard Schwach

John Gillespe in 1970 when he won the MVP Award playing defensive end for the FRHS City Championship team.John Gillespe in 1970 when he won the MVP Award playing defensive end for the FRHS City Championship team. The Rockaway Museum will close for its annual winter hiatus on December 30, according to Susan Locke, the museum’s director.

“The museum will take this time to reinvigorate the museum community and to get ready for our next major exhibition, ‘Far Rockaway High School Revisited,’ which is expected to open at the beginning of March,” Locke said.

She pointed out that those who want to contribute to the upcoming Far Rockaway High School exhibit can do so by bringing the material to the offices of The Wave, at 8808 Rockaway Beach Boulevard or by calling exhibition chairperson Howard Schwach at 718-634-4000 to make arrangements.

Among Gillespe’s memorabilia are a game football from an early season win and his letter jacket.Among Gillespe’s memorabilia are a game football from an early season win and his letter jacket. Alumni from the “glorious past” of Far Rockaway High School have been contacting the Museum over the past two weeks to provide memorabilia for the upcoming exhibit.

Included in that material is the collection of John Gillespe, who played defensive end for the 1970 Seahorses in its first undefeated season ever enjoyed by the team.

His contribution, on loan to the museum for the run of the exhibit, includes his letter jacket (he says he didn’t take it off for three years), a team football celebrating one of the team’s early wins and his “Most Valuable Player” plaque.

Another contribution comes from the grandson of Ed Ruff, who has his grandfather’s scrapbooks from the 1940’s detailing team victories as well as clippings from newspaper stories about Rockaway men who went to fight WW II.

Both contributions will be prominently displayed in the upcoming exhibit.

And, although the museum, now entering its tenth year, has lots of Far Rockaway High School yearbooks and memorabilia stored away in its archives, it needs the help of the school’s alumni to come up with those very special items that defined the high school years – prom pictures or memorabilia, athletic awards, uniforms, class pictures, pictures of extracurricular activities, letter jackets, cheerleaders uniforms and the like.

In addition, the museum plans to run videotapes of alumni talking about their time at FRHS. Those tapes, which should be 3 to 5 minutes in length, will run as a continuous loop in the museum’s technology corner.

“We want this exhibition to be something special,” said Schwach. “We want to span the entire history of the school with alumni remembrances and memorabilia from every decade from the 1920’s, when the building first opened, to those who graduate this year.”

Schwach and his family will be lending “Dolphin’s” from 1929 (his father’s), 1934 (his mother’s), 1957 (his own), 1959 (his wife’s) and 1983 (his son’s) to the exhibit.

Those who provide material to the museum will be invited to a gala opening ceremony next year and their names will be affixed as the donor.

One of the central pictures to be exhibited is a large mural-sized picture of the school’s 50th Anniversary Dinner with many familiar faces of staff at that time as well as hundreds of alumni.

Other material includes yearbooks and artifacts from the 1920’s to the 1980’s.

Further information on the upcoming exhibit can be accessed on the web at www.farrockaway.com.

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