East Hampton Historical Society: ‘You’re Invited: 150 Years of Parties’ / thru Oct 7

The East Hampton Historical Society presents


150 Years of Parties & Picnics in East Hampton

Exhibition dates: August 11 – October 7, 2018

Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. & Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.

Clinton Academy Museum, 151 Main Street, East Hampton


YOU’RE INVITED: 150 Years of Parties & Picnics in East Hampton explores the celebratory exploits of our East End hamlet, from Main Street Promenades, simple date nights at the cinema, to family weekends at the beach – the fabled summer happenings of East Hampton are brought to life through a rare collection of fashionably curated vignettes of costumes, and never before seen objects, including amazing textiles, and images of a partiful past!

“The inspiration for the exhibition,” said Chief Curator Richard Barons, “was that the East Hampton Historical Society is in possession of an extensive collection of period garments, but has never had an exhibit that focuses on our vast costume holdings; we sought to rectify this omission with a summer exhibition.”

The current exhibition honors this wondrous wardrobe of fashionable attire, accessories and artifacts, curated into historical vignettes – both real and contrived – that celebrate a summer community that loved to party!

Tableau: Promenade 1910: Main Street

“We can learn so much from the clothes that were worn years ago” said Mr. Barons, “Just examine our selection of swimming costumes—neck to ankle, for women; knitted wool for the gents.  Some of the clothes make us itch, others are being revived as we check-out the long linen skirts and men’s white sport jackets worn by the up-to-date young couples circa 1915.  We’ll likely see them in store windows next summer!”

Tableau: A Day at Main Beach, 1919

Tableau: The Gardiners Island Tea, 1878

Through artfully curated tableaus that range from a 1970’s gallery opening to a float from the July Fourth, 1915 parade, East Hampton parties and picnics are brought to life with the help of 20 fashionably garbed mannequins, dozens of rare photographs and never-before-seen artifacts, creating a promenade for visitors to imagine a bye-gone era. Each vignette invites the viewer to time-travel though the fashions and foibles of past generations enjoying life on the South Fork of Long Island.

Tableau: Fourth of July Parade, 1915

Tableau: Ladies Village Improvement Society (L.V.I.S.) 1916

Tableau: Last Train to New York, 1914

With the arrival of city-dwelling summer colonists (in the late 1840’s) and artists in the late 1870’s—the months of July and August seemed to be one continuous picnic.

Tableau: Moran Studio: 1889

The Moran Studio was the first artist’s studio built in East Hampton, and it played a significant role in American art history. In its heyday The Studio was a lively center of the turn-of-the-19th-century art colony.


YOU’RE INVITED: 150 Years of Parties & Picnics will be on display at Clinton Academy Museum  through Columbus Day weekend:  Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. & Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.

Clinton Academy Museum, 151 Main Street, East Hampton

No admission charge; Donations are appreciated


Curator’s Statement 


Celebration has wide implications, from town wide commemorative pageants to simply having a good time. In East Hampton Town we certainly run the gamut.   This community has been celebrating since our founding in 1648.  As a Puritan town, our first public gatherings were often of a religious nature.  We were thankful, in a pious way, for all our blessings.

By the 18th century festivals of thanksgiving and the often rowdiness of New Year’s Day, were common.  Church holidays, like Christmas, became almost universal by the mid-19thcentury.  Birthdays, weddings, harvest parties, clambakes, successful shore whaling triumphs and even traveling carnivals, further loosened the old conservative ways of the past.

This exhibition looks at how we have celebrated vast public parades, simple date nights at the cinema and family weekends at the beach.  Through posters, invitations, lunch baskets, old pictures from heirloom albums and the clothes that so often signify “dressing-up,” we have aimed to explore a hundred-plus years of celebrating in East Hampton.  We are delighted that you can spend a little time with these vignettes of our history, before running-off to tonight’s party.  Cheers!

Chief Curator, Richard Barons  


Clinton Academy, 1784 / East Hampton





AAQ Resource: McDonough & Conroy Architects


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