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East Hampton Historical Society To Host Smithsonian's Traveling Exhibition, "Water/Ways"

Sydney A. Braat

Indian Wells in Amagansett. (Photo: Courtesy of the East Hampton Historical Society)

The East Hampton Historical Society is inviting art lovers to discover how humanity has used water and how water has shaped our civilization through the Smithsonian's traveling exhibition, Water/Ways, which will arrive at the Society's Clinton Academy Museum for a six-week stay beginning Saturday, February 29 and ending Saturday, April 11.

"The East Hampton Historical Society is honored to be the only location on Long Island and one of only six in New York State to be selected to host Water/Ways. Hosting this exhibition allows us to offer an important and engaging opportunity, not only to the East Hampton community, but to those across Long Island," Maria Vann, Executive Director of the East Hampton Historical Society, expressed.

Water largely impacts what everyone and every thing does on Earth, including climate, agriculture, transportation, industry, and more. It also inspires art and music. In cooperation with the Museum Association of New York (MANY), the East Hampton Historical Society will examine water as an environmental necessity and an important cultural element as it hosts the exhibition.

New York alone is home to more than 7,600 bodies of fresh water. It also borders two of the Great Lakes, the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. This is one of the many reasons this state is a special place. The Smithsonian's Water/Ways exhibition explores water's great role in our state and the effect on migration and settlement, as well as the relationship between water and politics, economics, and culture.

"Water has always dictated the life of the East End," Richard Barons, Chief Curator of the East Hampton Historical Society, relayed. "As a Historical Society, our contribution to the Smithsonian's traveling exhibition will focus on water and its roles in the early to mid-20th century. Three areas for which we have excellent documentation are our famous beaches, ice making and ice fishing as well as a section on duck hunting." Mural-sized collages, created from antique photographs, will immerse the visitor in a kaleidoscopic picture of East Hampton's old-time water inspired activities.

The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, April 11. (Photo: Courtesy of the Museum Association of New York)


In addition to viewing the exhibition, the East Hampton Historical Society will also host community-based programs all of which supper our curiosity about water and its role in our lives.

"The programs that we have planned provide the East Hampton community with opportunities to engage with the various themes from the exhibition in unique ways. Not only are we providing hands-on learning opportunities for children, but we are also arranging a wide breadth of lectures for our adult population," said Marianne Howard, the East Hampton Historical Society's Director of Visitor Experience.

Programs include What Is A Waterway Anyway, a lecture led by Daniel Rinn, PhD Candidate in the History Department at the University of Rochester, on Thursday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at East Hampton Library (159 Main Street, East Hampton), Watercolor Workshops for adults on Friday, March 13 at 10 a.m. and Friday, March 20 at 10 a.m., and a Watercolor Workshop for kids on Saturday, March 14 at 10 a.m.

"The Smithsonian's touring exhibition of Water/Ways is for everyone, as water is rudimentary to life as we know it. Everyone connects to water, as consumers, as advocates, in ritual connections, in historical context, and other personal ways. Our water story, is the world's water story...one that binds us, sustains us, and inspires us," added Vann.

The exhibition is open for viewing Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. The Opening Reception is being held on Saturday, February 29 from 4 to 6 p.m. There is no admission charge but donations are welcome.

Clinton Academy Museum is located at 151 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call 631-324-6850 or visit easthamptonhistory.org.


Sydney Braat is a Hamptons-raised and NYC-living journalist. She enjoys splitting her time between the bustling city life and relaxing atmosphere of the Hamptons. When she's not writing, Sydney is traveling. She thrives off of new experiences, cultures, cuisine, and languages. Sydney writes about the arts, philanthropy, food & wine, and shopping. https://www.sosydneyny.com/ sydneybraat




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