‘All That Has Been: Our Roots Revealed’ at Sylvester Manor: A History of Three Cultures


Established in 1651, Sylvester Manor represents the meeting of three cultures — the indigenous Native American Manhansett Tribe who made Shelter Island their home for a millennium, the European businessmen who bought it from them, and the Africans they enslaved as their labor force.

The newest exhibition at the manor is a testament and examination of them all, opening Saturday, June 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. with a selection of artifacts uncovered during archeological digs by the University of Massachusetts Boston from 1998 through 2006, as well as photographic print enlargements of artifact pieces hung on the walls.

“The accompanying exhibit printed catalogue and tour narrative will highlight the stories behind the artifacts and tell the early history of Shelter Island and the coming of the Sylvester family who have lived on the property for 11 generations,” according to a press release. “With documentation from wills, census and town records, the exhibit will also tell the stories of the enslaved people listed on Nathaniel Sylvester’s and other descendant wills and inventories.”

The opening reception will feature a preview of the exhibition, along with a meet-and-greet with Dr. Stephen Mrozowski, professor of anthropology and director of the Andrew Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston, who will lead another archeological dig this year and next, starting June 17.

Not far from the dig, artist David Bunn Martine will construct a Native American wigwam structure from collected reeds and wooden poles on the manor grounds, tapping his knowledge as a Shinnecock Nation Tribal member, from June 1 to 28.

Visitors are encouraged to observe daily, for free, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., through June 28. Admission to the opening reception is $50, and public guided tours will be held Saturdays, June 15, July 6, September 7 and 28, from 12 to 3 p.m. each day. Tickets are $25. Self-guided tours of the house exhibit and grounds will be available June 20 to 22 and July and August on Thursdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $10.


Sylvester Manor is located at 80 North Ferry Road on Shelter Island. For more information, call (631) 749-0626 or visit sylvestermanor.org.