Sue Ellen and Mark Sardzinski


My husband and I were introduced to the love of history and artifacts at an early age which is why we enjoy our local museum, which has changed names from the Carriage Museum and Museums of Stony Brook, to the Long Island Museum in our lifetime.  No matter what it has been called, we love to explore its many venues and exhibits, some that are always changing while others remain familiar old friends.  Mark’s interest in history was fostered when his parents gave him a history book written by Paul J. Gelinas.  As a child, Mark’s favorite vehicle at the Carriage Museum was the old Steam Engine, which we both remember as it traveled through town on 25A; mine was the miniature doll house rooms.

I caught the history bug from a photo that hung of my great, great, great grandfather Edward Schlesier a joiner or furniture cabinet maker, who fought in the Civil War.  My brother Robert Schlesier researched the portrait and traced the insignia on the hat to find out he was a Corporal of the 52 Regiment N.Y. Volunteers out of Brooklyn.  We enjoyed sharing stories with the Sons of the Civil War and viewing their uniforms and memorabilia when they were at the LIM.  My grandfather Gustave Schlesier was a New York City Fireman Hook and Ladder #134 and drove a pumper with six white horses.  I loved telling our family heritage to my granddaughter Lia and grandson Jonathan, by showing them the pumper on display, very much like the one he drove through the streets of New York City.  The LIM’s realistic backdrop and presentation with flames shooting from the windows and sound effects from the burning house behind it made the story come alive to a 7 and 8 year old.  When my grandfather retired he bought a farm in Ronkonkoma.  I have an old photo of him and my father Alban as a young boy bringing in the hay with the wooden wagon loaded and overflowing similar to your portrait.  Later my grandfather was Fire Chief at Camp Upton which is now Brookhaven National Labs where my husband works.  We loved the Camp Upton bunker display you had, once again bringing the past to life!

The Jones Beach exhibit was a blast from the past. My Mother’s cousin, Jack Kelch was a lifeguard there.  My Brother Doug and his wife Dona, both artists and retired college teachers love to tour the museum whenever they visit from Iowa. They loved the Jones Beach exhibit as they spent their youth there and reminisced about the rides. They always enjoy the Art museum and the Mount paintings. My brother Phil a door-to-door walking postal mail carrier for East Rockaway loved the old mail wagons. We love taking our visitors to the Museum and they enjoy it too!  My parents Alban and Jean Schlesier were at the original opening of the museum and shared their enthusiasm with me as a child. We moved to Stony Brook in 1962 then the border changed and it became East Setauket. My father was a fireman like his Dad and was Chief Engineer on the John J Harvey Fire Boat, taking the train to work from Stony Brook. Going inside the Carriage Museum’s life-size model of the Stony Brook station brings back so many loving memories of meeting my Dad as he came home.  I met my husband Mark at Ward Melville High School we were high school sweethearts, class of 71and 72.  Mark remembers picking up lumber when part of the museum was still a working lumber yard.  Years later our son Alban was at the dedication of the horse troth fountain and had his photo in the Three Village Herald.

I volunteered at the LIM when I was going to college for teaching.  When my son Douglas was born, he came too and was in a play pen next to me.  I was there when they opened the Grace Darling exhibit.  The ramp ways that were designed to get the carriages in and out also turned out to be stroller and wheelchair friendly!  When our third child Amanda was born, I stopped volunteering but not visiting.  Douglas and Amanda were enrolled in the children’s activities, the one-room schoolhouse and loved the water bucket brigade splashing water all the way.  Now we have come full circle as our grandchildren, Lia and Jonathan love the LIM especially Family Day.  Last year all three of my grown children came with their children to participate.  The Long Island Museum has something of interest for everyone and for all ages.

Click through the slide show to see the Sardzinski’s story.

Be part of the LIM experience!
Museum membership supports the Long Island Museum’s mission and gives you access to engaging exhibitions, compelling lectures and programs, entertaining concerts and events, and so much more! Consider becoming a museum supporter at one of our many member levels:

LIMarts ($75)

To enhance and support the artistic wealth that is prevalent on Long Island, the LIM has created a special membership opportunity, LIMarts: a collaborative arts group, designed for visual artists and artisans interested in creating a forum within our community where they can show and share their work.   As a member of the LIMarts, you will be entitled to benefits, including:

    • Free unlimited general museum membership for one year
    • Special invitations to exclusive events and receptions
    • Exclusive entrance into annual exhibition for members of LIMarts
    • Workshops and educational programs*
    • Networking opportunities
    • Two one-time guest free admission passes
    • 10% discount on Long Island Museum merchandise
    • Personalized membership card

*additional fees may apply

LIMarts Members

Individual ($40)

    • Free unlimited general admission for one year
    • Invitations to special exhibition receptions
    • 10% discount on Long Island Museum merchandise
    • Member-only discount on selected programs for adults and children
    • 2 one-time guest admission passes
    • Personalized membership card

Family ($60)

    • All Individual benefits, plus:
    • Free admission for children 18 and under
    • Complimentary admission for your immediate family to Family Fun Days
    • Additional membership card

Contributor ($100)

    • All Family benefits, plus:
    • 6 one-time guest admission passes

Sponsor ($250)

  • All Contributor benefits, plus:
  • 10 one-time guest admission passes

Patron ($500)

    • All Sponsor benefits, plus:
    • Complimentary registration for 2 classes/workshops
    • Special invitation to VIP reception
    • 15 one-time guest admission passes

President’s Council ($1,000)

Join a distinct list of President’s Council Members and enjoy all Patron benefits plus:

    • Special invitations to participate in exclusive events and tours throughout the year
    • 20 one-time guest admission passes

Senior, Age 62+ ($25)

      • Enjoy all the Individual member benefits

Family Senior ($45)

      • Enjoy all the Family Member benefits

Student, Full-Time ($25)

  • Enjoy all the Individual Member benefits

Smithsonian Affiliate

As a Long Island Museum Member, you can add extra value to your membership and become an Affiliate Member of the Smithsonian Institution. For an additional $20, you’ll receive:

    • A one-year subscription to either Smithsonian Magazine or Air & Space Magazine
    • Exclusive travel and study opportunities from Smithsonian Journeys
    • Free admission to the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City
    • 10% discount on Smithsonian merchandise

To add this feature to your LIM membership, please call the Membership Department at (631) 751-0066 x246 or e-mail lwhiffen@longislandmuseum.org.

Library Partner Membership

By partnering with the Long Island Museum, libraries can provide a unique educational opportunity to their patrons.  Library Partner membership is $300 per year and benefits include:

    • A free unlimited general admission “family membership” card (in name of Library) for one year.  To be used as a circulated card by library patrons.  This includes free admission for two adults and children 18 and under.
    • 10% discount on museum merchandise to bearer of membership card
    • One courtesy guest lecture at library featuring museum curatorial or education staff
    • Special Business Member facility rental rates.

Please contact Membership Department at (631) 751-0066 x246 or lwhiffen@longislandmuseum for more information.

Corporate/Business Membership

Business membership recognizes your company’s commitment to the quality of life in our communities and gives your company increased recognition throughout Long Island.  Please contact Membership Department at (631) 751-0066 x246 or lwhiffen@longislandmuseum.org for more information.