Congressman Tim Bishop and his wife Kathy partake in the festivities at the Halsey House.
- Truly one of the finest ways to celebrate our nation's birthday is the annual Halsey House Gala on the grounds of the 1680 Thomas Halsey Homestead
on South Main Street this past Saturday, July 4.
Walking into the carefully restored and well tended gardens, guests were immediately welcomed by Museum members garbed in Colonial era attire - low bodiced dresses and bonnets for the ladies and Militia uniforms and muskets for the men. A friendly couple hoisting pewter tankards of ale wished arrivals a Happy 4th with a toast of their tankards.
Just behind them greeting guests was Tom Edmonds
, Executive Director of the Southampton Historical Museum
which manages the Thomas Halsey Homestead. Indeed, it is one of five separate properties with 15 historical structures under the Museum's stewardship.
In his tenure Edmonds, with the support of a dedicated Board and small staff, has revived the Museum with new exhibitions and events that speak to a diverse community. Visitors now see the properties as wonderful gathering places whether for a ground breaking exhibition as "Mahogany Dew," a South Fork Supper utilizing the bounty of our local farms and hatcheries; a marvelous display of centuries old toys from the collections of local residents, or the lovely Holiday celebrations that pay tribute to the many ethnicities that comprise Southampton. Edmonds' is always on hand for every activity - but especially pleased to be at this particular event as it raises funds for the Museum's education fund. "We have over 2,000 schoolchildren that come to the Museum for workshops, guided tours and to create student curated exhibits on Southampton's history", he explained proudly.
Museum members dressed in 17th century costume for the Halsey House gala.
On the lawn there were several tents for the silent auction with a plethora of great gifts that Linda Stabler-Talty
and her committee spent months collecting from the community; groaning boards of sweets and savories thanks to the generosity of board member Dennis Schmidt
owner of Schmidt's Market and his wife Jennifer Meihofer
the gala's principal benefactors and a fabulous sushi bar manned by John Kos
also of Schmidt's market and a glistening raw bar.
As they do each year, Pamela Jackson Jones
and Deborah Herrick Hare
created the beautiful floral arrangements that dotted the tables. For co-chair Kate Milligan
who has been working on the gala for over a year, the event is a real family affair. Kate's three daughters Patricia
"labored like worker ants" in the days leading up to the party organizing the hefty, brightly colored eco-sensitive hemp tote bags created by Design in Southampton gift bags that were donated by Suzanne Caldwell
. You'll soon see them on the arms of shoppers at King Kullen
Always one of the most eagerly anticipated events of summer, the Halsey House gala is a true community affair with all the attendant appearances by government officials and clergy of all persuasions and residents from all walks of life. And all are made welcome by the Gala's organizers and museum personnel. Among those who committed to making this signature event one of the best ever were Gerald T. Adams
, Jackie Scerbinski
, Adrienne Falzone
, Anne Rachel
, Hilary Woodward
and Suzanne Caldwell
; Gala Patrons Constance Edwards Herrick
and Dorothy Lichtenstein
and Sponsors including Herbert & Rist Liquor, Margaret M. Hill
, Joe's Garage, Long Island East, Inc. Printers, Rachel Lynch Swimming Pools, The Southampton Press, Mr.
and Mrs. R. Peter Sullivan, III
and Eric Woodward
Having a pint of ale at the gala.
Sadly, some of these important historic structures are in critical condition but the Capital
Campaign was begun last fall to add structural supports and a new roof to the 1680 Thomas Hasley House and to repair and restore the 1738 Sayre barn, which played a role during the British occupation of Southampton during the American Revolution.
Among the many fundraising activities planned, this summer the Museum began a series of Historic House and Garden Tours, where residents from the estate sections in the villages of Southampton will open their homes to benefit the campaign. The next event is on July 25 at the "Old Parsonage" in Water Mill. Mr.
and Mrs. Kirkbride
will give tours of their cottage filled with American and English antiques and a champagne reception will be held in their English style garden. Nicholas Kirkbride
is a retired antiques dealer and Maggie Kirkbride
was an interior designer, both from London.
For more information about the Museum's properties, educational programs or to learn how you can support its efforts to preserve our local history visit www.southamptonhistoricalmuseum.org.