Sag Harbor Whaling Museum

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Museum Hours:
May 15th - October 16th
Daily: 10am to 5pm

Office Hours:
Mon - Fri: 10am to 5pm

Tours and school groups
by appointment
throughout the year.
Please call for details.

200 Main Street
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
For more information
Call 631-725-0770
Fax: 631-725-5638


Museum Manager: Greg Therriault
Business Manager: Vanessa Petruccelli
Collections Manager: Richard Doctorow
Museum Shop Manager: Michael Butler
Harpoon Committee:
Terry Elkins + Scott Sandell + Gavin Zeigler

Board of Directors:
Barbara Pintauro~Lobosco - President
Linley Pennebaker Whelan - Vice President
Zachary Studenroth- Treasurer
Anthony Brandt - Secretary
Joanne Carter
Robert Chaloner
Peter Drakoulias
Annette Hinkle
Peter J. Marcelle
Catherine Ross
Kathie Russo
Bettina Stelle
Lynda Sylvester
Tom Dakin

Oil Exhibit Logo

Summer Exhibit 2009

OIL! We travel the globe in search of this natural resource and wonder if something can be found to take its place? Finding enough oil to sustain the nation’s energy needs is one of our greatest challenges.

Gahan Wilson cartoon
cartoon by Gahan Wilson

This exhibition is about oil – no, not only the oil we burn today, but also the whale oil and other illuminants that we burned a century ago – which show how market pressures, foreign interests, and the scarcity of raw materials can lead to innovation and problem-solving. This exhibition is about the oil we use for lighting and other energy needs in contemporary life. Since the 1700s, we’ve become less dependent on natural daylight to illuminate our work, our homes and leisure activities. But prior to the modern electrical age, every means of producing artificial light depended upon a substance that could be burned to produce a flame. All illuminants came from animal, vegetable or mineral sources: whales or hogs; olives or canola; and coal gas or early petroleum distillates, such as kerosene. Along the way, our quest for oil laid the ground work for powerful global markets and industries.

With the invention of the internal combustion engine in the late 19th century and its rapid assimilation for transportation in the 20th, the petroleum market rose to dominance in our total energy demand. Facing a similar crisis to what the whaling industry faced more than one hundred fifty years ago, the petroleum industry is now experiencing its own set of challenges— with economic, environmental and geopolitical concerns weighing heavily on consumers’ minds.

The question is: What new energy source, or combination of sources, will fulfill the future energy needs of our planet? As we exhaust our natural resources – first the whales and then petroleum – we look to renewable energy sources as the solution.

View Exhibit
Click on images to view panels

Oil Exhibit 2008
Oil Exhibit 2008
Oil Exhibit 2008
Oil Exhibit 2008

Oil Exhibit 2008
Oil Exhibit 2008
Oil Exhibit 2008

Oil Exhibit 2008
Oil Exhibit 2008
Oil Exhibit 2008