LBI Museum’s Monday Night Talks Will Expand Far Afield This Summer

But Local History Will Still Be Predominant
By Rick Mellerup | Jun 26, 2019

Beach Haven — The Long Beach Island Historical Museum in Beach Haven will continue its tradition of hosting its Monday Night Talks in the summer of 2019. But this year some of those lectures will stretch the program’s range. Typically its talks, given by local historians, concentrate on the Island’s past, the lore of the Southern Ocean County mainland or, at least, events that occurred in Ocean County or New Jersey. This year, however, the lineup includes lectures on subjects far afield.

Don’t worry, LBI and its environs will still dominate. The season’s schedule, for example, will kick off on July 8 with a discussion of Barnegat Light’s 400-year history, led by Reilly Sharp of the Barnegat Light Historical Society. He’ll be selecting some of that organization’s 3,000-plus images to illuminate his talk.

On July 15, the conversation will be more contemporary, with Rick Bushnell of ReClam the Bay, the folks responsible for the giant painted clam sculptures that dot the Island, serving as master of ceremonies. He’ll be discussing “Living Coastlines” and their effect on the bay.

On July 22, though, the subject will be the Pacific Ocean, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, to be exact. How on earth did that come under the LBI Museum’s purview? The presenter will be Toni Gamils, a member of the LBI Historical Association. Gamils is a science teacher who assembled this program for her students and will now share it with the public.

July 29’s talk is “Old Railroad Days.” In May, the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad at Promontory, Utah, was celebrated – think “the Golden Spike.” The presenter that evening will be Matthew Dodd, a reenactor who will tell tales and sing songs from the glory days of American railroading. Toot toot!

The subject will return closer to home on Aug. 5, when military historian Joseph Bilby will talk about the history of submarine warfare off the New Jersey coast. Sure, everybody – well, maybe not everybody, considering the sad state of history education in American schools these days – knows German U-boats feasted on shipping off the Jersey Shore during both World Wars. But did you know the first American submarine, the Turtle, was sunk off Fort Lee in 1776? The inventor of the Turtle was a man named David Bushnell. Hmm, was he an ancestor of Rick Bushnell?

Ship Bottom will come into focus on Aug. 12, when Jeanette Lloyd, the Beach Haven Borough historian, and longtime Southern Ocean County resident Martha Kremer will talk about the “Gateway to LBI.” They both grew up in Ship Bottom and will take the audience from 1817 to today with stories and rare photos.

On Aug. 19, Margaret Buchholz and Scott Mazzella, historians both, will talk about their book Great Storms of the Jersey Shore. Buchholz and the late SandPaper writer Larry Savadove penned the original Great Storms back in 1993; Buchholz and Mazzella teamed up with Down The Shore Publishing to create a second edition of what is now considered a classic. That new edition is expected to come out this August and will almost assuredly be packed with information and photos relating to Superstorm Sandy.

The season’s lectures will conclude on Aug. 26, when former Beach Haven Mayor Deborah Whitcraft of the New Jersey Maritime Museum and Ronald Marr of the LBI Historical Society will talk about Prohibition on the Jersey Shore and LBI. After their talk you’ll be tempted to a) head off to a local tavern to freely enjoy some pleasing adult beverages or b) once again watch “Boardwalk Empire.”

The doors open at 7 p.m. for all the talks, which start at 7:30 and usually end by 8:45. Admission is free, thanks in part to a grant by Atlantic City Electric, an Exelon company. — R.M.

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