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The new 750-gallon saltwater tank at the East End Seaport Museum in Greenport. (Credit: Kendall Stark)
The new 750-gallon saltwater tank at the East End Seaport Museum in Greenport. (Credit: Kendall Stark)

Imagine spending seven consecutive hours scraping away at the grime encrusted on the glass of an enormous fish tank.

Katie Marino, who works at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center said this was the most challenging part of restoring the East End Seaport Museum and Maritime Foundation‘s saltwater display.

The Greenport museum partnered with the aquarium to restore the 750-gallon exhibit, which was unveiled last Friday. The museum has been home to the tank during the summer months since 1994, but the exhibit has been refurbished and, for the first time, curated by aquarium professionals. Marino, aquarium staffer Phil Argiros and aquarium co-founder Joe Yaiullo all worked on the exhibit.

Ron Breuer, Chairman of the Seaport Museum said that the 20-year-old tank was overdue for maintenance.

“We’ve always had problems stabilizing it,” said Breuer. “The professionals from the aquarium helped us clean it, balance it, and install a whole new filtration system. Before that, we were really on our own, without anyone who knew the science and engineering about it.”

Tracey Orlando, a museum volunteer said that the selection of fish in the tank reflects local species present in Long Island waters.

“Currently, we have sea robins, some starfish, and achilles, but over time it will grow,” she said.

The specimens in the tank will also include killifish, Atlantic silversides, blackfish and winter flounder. The exhibit supports the museum’s mission of celebrating Greenport maritime heritage.

Members of the Seaport Museum’s board teamed up with Long Island Aquarium volunteers to cut the ceremonial ribbon.

“In 1994 two local men, Murrow Wiggins and Dr. John Hanson had a vision for this museum to be a big cornerstone in the community,” Orlando said. “We’re really glad it’s going to be as good as they envisioned it.”

The East End Seaport Museum is located on 3rd Street in Greenport near the Shelter Island Ferry terminal. Click here for summer hours.

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