Floral Park Historical Society To Unveil Diorama


Ceremony to Take Place on May 22 at the Floral Park Recreation Building

The Floral Park Historical Society, chartered in 1999 by the State of New York, will conduct a Diorama Unveiling Ceremony on Sunday afternoon, May 22, at 1:30 p.m. The diorama entitled, “Floral Park Circa 1900: Home of Flowers” captures a historic moment in time. The public, for the first time, will see the handcrafted, three-dimensional, miniature scene of Floral Park at a time when John Lewis Childs’ seed business was flourishing and a small community on the Hempstead Plains was blossoming. John Lewis Childs, an internationally respected seed man and conservationist, is known as the founder of Floral Park. He was the first president of the village when it was incorporated more than 100 years ago. The unveiling ceremony will follow a short program to begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Floral Park Recreation/Pool Building, Pool & Garage Street in Floral Park.



The diorama project was funded through a Nassau County grant.  Legislator Richard Nicolello and Legislator Vincent Muscarella assisted the FPHS in securing a $10,000 grant in 2010 of which a portion was dedicated to creating the diorama. Funds were also used for audio-visual equipment, archival supplies, volunteer education programs, displays, program speakers, a collection of historic building replicas and assorted printed materials for the Floral Park Historical Society Museum programs.

“We were fortunate to have the support of our Nassau County Legislators Nicolello and Muscarella. The grant helped to defray the cost of making the diorama. We had to purchase HO scale items, including such things as a (circa 1900) steam locomotive, trees and bushes for the landscape and small figures, people and animals. We also needed craft materials like paint and glue, and we had to have a large plexiglass cover made. No doubt about it, this diorama was a challenging project for the Floral Park Historical Society to tackle.”

“Walter Gosden, an FPHS board member, village historian and a recently retired art teacher, graciously offered to lead the project. Walter, his wife Mary, a renowned porcelain artist, Claire Mansfield, Russ O’Brien, Bernice Hayes, Dot Carson, Jeanne Petta, my daughter, Sally, and I, all volunteers who consider themselves ‘unskilled’ volunteer artisans, met on a regular basis over a period of weeks at the Corbett law office and at Walter’s house to make this charming, miniature scene that depicts Floral Park as it was in 1900. This marvelous art nouveau diorama will be a special joy for everyone who will see it for the first time at the unveiling. As a former mayor, I see the diorama as a very special gift to the residents, especially the young people of Floral Park,” said Ann Corbett, president of the FPHS.

“When Ann Corbett suggested that it would be fantastic if the black and white etching of Floral Park dating back to 1900 could be brought to life in a colorful diorama with buildings, houses, gardens and fields of flowers, I could envision the idea becoming a reality. I had just completed a lot of research in the process of writing a book on the history of Floral Park that was published in 2010. The research became very helpful in planning the steps needed to complete the diorama. In leading the project, it was important for me to have reference materials such as photos, postcards, documents and other materials to make the miniature scene of Floral Park as accurate as possible,” remarked Walter Gosden, project director.

Light refreshments will be served; admission is free. For information about the Diorama Unveiling Ceremony or the Floral Park Historical Society, please call Ann Corbett (516) 775-6849; or visit www.floralparkhistorical.org. 

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