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Art Museums in Nassau County, Long Island, New York

- Where to Find Great Exhibitions in western Long Island

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You don't have to go all the way into Manhattan to find great museums that feature the works of traditional as well as contemporary artists. From a museum housed in a mansion from a former Gold Coast estate to a hidden gem on the campus of a local college, Nassau County, Long Island, New York offers a variety of art on display. 

To learn about museums in the east of Long Island, please visit Art Museum in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York.

1. The African American Museum of Nassau County

Photo © Linda Tagliaferro
Photo © Linda Tagliaferro

This 6000 square foot space features a variety of drawings, paintings, sculpture, textiles and other artistic objects that come from various parts of the African continent, including Kenya, Zimbabwe and more. There are also contemporary paintings by African American artists on display.

In addition, the venue features an auditorium for various performance, Kwanzaa celebrations, and programs for school groups.

The museum is FREE, so visiting this lovely space is great if you're looking for a cultural experience while staying on a budget. 

The African American Museum of Nassau County, 110 North Franklin Street, Hempstead, NY, (516) 572-0730.

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2. Hillwood Art Museum at C.W. Post College

HillwoodArtMuseum-interior.jpg
Photo © Hillwood Art Museum

This hidden gem at C.W. Post College is free and open to the public. Their permanent collection, built mostly on generous donations, features over 4000 pieces of art including textiles, paintings, bound books, photography, ceramics and more. Among the more impressive holdings are Han dynasty ceramics as well as Greek and Egyptian objects from centuries past. There are also fabric stamps from West Africa and Native American art. The gallery features changing contemporary exhibits.

The Hillwood Art Museum, Hillwood Commons building, C.w. Post College, 720 Northern Boulevard, Brookville, New YOrk, (516) 299-4073.

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3. Hofstra University Museum

This museum is free and open to the public and features a permanent collection encompassing over 5000 objects, including major works of art by contemporary American and European artists as well as a variety of objects from Asian, Oceanic, African and pre-Columbian artists.

There are also changing temporary exhibits of modern artwork.

The museum is located on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, (516) 463-6600.

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4. Nassau County Museum of Art

Photo © Linda Tagliaferro
Photo © Linda Tagliaferro

This former Gold Coast mansion and estate features changing exhibits. In the past, there have been exhibits of artwork by Chagall, Peter Max, and Alex Katz. The museum's impressive permanent collection features works by Edouard Vuillard, Roy Lichtenstein, Larry Rivers, Robert Rauschenbreg, Robert Indiana, Auguste Rodin, Georges Braque and others.

They also feature an extensive outdoor sculpture garden with works by luminaries including Niki de Saint Phalle and Fernando Botero.

The Nassau County Museum of Art is located at One Museum Drive in Roslyn Harbor, New York, (516) 484-9337.

5. Old Westbury Gardens

Old Westbury Gardens - mansion
Photo © Linda Tagliaferro

Although not a dedicated museum, the former Long Island estate, now open to the public, brims with museum-worthy artwork. Listed on the National Register of HIstoric Places, Old Westbury Gardens features a mansion built in 1906 in the Charles II style and it still houses many English antiques and furniture from the time that it was the residence of financier John S. Phipps, his wife, Margarita Grace Phipps and their four children.

Among the treasures housed in the mansion are original paintings by notable artists including Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, Sir Joshua Reynolds and others. One impressive painting in the mansion is the 1906 double portrait by John Singer Sargent of Mrs. Annie Phipps, (John S. Phipps' mother) and her grandchild, Winston Guest.

In the sprawling gardens, a number of sculptures adorn the lush plantings. For instance, on the mansion's South Terrace, two sister sphinxes, crafted in 18th century France, stand guard.

Old Westbury Gardens is open from the beginning of April every weekend, and from the end of April till the end of October, open every day except Tuesdays. They are also open for special holiday festivities.

The address is: 71 Old Westbury Road, Old Westbury, NY, (516) 333-0048.

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