2006-08-25 / Community

Rockaway Museum Finds A New Permanent Home

Museun Director Susan Locke (L) wiith volunteer Sharon Gabriel
Museun Director Susan Locke (L) wiith volunteer Sharon Gabriel The Rockaway Museum has found a new and permanent space for its exhibits and workshops after years of sharing space with The Wave on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 88 Street. The new and completely redesigned Rockaway Museum will be located in the administration building of Gateway National Recreation Area at Fort Tilden. While no deadline for the opening exhibit of the new and improved museum has been set, officials say that the time frame should be relatively short now that the agreement has been signed with National Park Service officials.

The organization hosted an open meeting on Monday night to introduce the museum to the new Rockaway residents living in the Arverne by the Sea development. That meeting attracted a crowd and was a resounding success according to museum spokesperson Susan Locke.

Founded by Leon S. Locke, The Rockaway Museum was incorporated in 1994. Locke, the publisher of The Wave, donated space in the rear of The Wave's office at 88-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard for exhibitions and events.

The museum runs many art programs for young residents.
The museum runs many art programs for young residents. Locke remained the museum's director until his death in 2001. Last year, when it was apparent that the museum and its exhibits would soon outgrow its surroundings, members began a search for a new and larger space.

Museum volunteers continued the organization's very successful art, history, and science school programs as well as running after-school programs in the local libraries, paid for through grants from the New York City Department of Youth Services, obtained from Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

The museum's search finally ended recently when a large room was located in the Administration Building in Ft. Tilden, Gateway National Recreation Area. It will enable the museum to offer weekend programs including exhibitions, workshops, lectures and more.

"This is a beautiful space and it comes with its resident turtle" says Susan B. Locke, museum director. "We look forward to working with the park service and hope to include the history of the park and its environment as well as Rockaway's rich past and the people who have lived and worked here in future exhibitions. The Rockaway Museum is not only about the past but also a glimpse into the future. This is a very exciting time." The Rockaway Museum's location in the Rockaway Center for the Arts (ROCA) will enhance the cultural aspect of Gateway National Park which now includes live theatre by The Rockaway Theatre Company (RTC), two major art galleries and performance stage of The Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA), and the Sunset Picnic Concerts sponsored by the Rockaway Music and Arts Council (RMAC).

The museum collection holds many old FRHS photos
The museum collection holds many old FRHS photos "With the population exploding in Rockaway we wanted to introduce the museum and Rockaway's history to our new neighbors," adds Locke.

"Arverne by the Sea offered the use of its office overlooking the ocean for an introductory meeting. Many of Arverne's new residents attended and were full of enthusiasm and ideas. We look forward to having them on board."

The museum will now begin the process of designing the space, painting, obtaining new display cases, organizing its material and mounting a new exhibit. Donations of memorabilia and photos, as well as assistance in these areas are needed and will be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in donating time or materials you can email the museum at: therockaway museum@yahoo.com.

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