The Hamptons
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Museums and History

Cultural Exhibits

Settled in 1640, Southampton is the first English establishment in New York State, and nearby East Hampton was settled in 1648. Prior to that, the entire area was under the providence of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, descended from the Pequot and Narragansett tribes also located on Eastern Long Island, and whose present-day reservation is located in Southampton. If history is your passion, come explore!


Southampton Historical Museum
17 Meeting House Lane, Southampton. 631-283-2494
Headquartered in the Albert Rogers Mansion, built in 1843 by a local whaling captain, the museum interprets regional history through changing exhibits and activities. The main museum complex contains a collection of small shops and other buildings that help recreate a vision of post-Civil War Southampton. There is a one-room schoolhouse, paint and wallpaper store, a blacksmith shop, and other small commercial buildings that were once the essence of small-town life. The museum is open year round.

Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum
Rte. 27A & West Gate Road, Southampton. 631-287-4923
As the first and only Native American owned-and-operated Museum on Long Island, there has been widespread and enthusiastic public support from all who visit the beautiful and powerful log building symbolizing the proud endurance of Long Island's indigenous people. The permanent exhibition, located in the east and west wings of the longhouse, displays numerous artifacts and objects including implements from the Shinnecock whaling history, woven Native baskets, a wickiup, and an indigenous animals exhibit. The spiral stairway to the lower level of the building leads into a large portrait gallery of Shinnecock people. Call for additional information or special tours.

Halsey Homestead
249 South Main Street, Southampton. 631-283-2494.
This rare, "first-period" house was built soon after Main Street was first laid out. The Thomas Halsey family was one of the original English families who bought property in 1640. The oldest house in Southampton, the Halsey home is filled with beautiful 17th and 18th century antiques and adorned with early textiles and rare ceramics, which create the sense that it is still inhabited by the family. Don't miss the beautiful grounds complete with an 18th century herb garden, a spectacular perennial border, and an old orchard. The house is open July through October.

South Fork Natural History Museum & Nature Center
377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. 631-537-9735
This museum serves as an educational resource for the East End's natural history. Through its collections and library, the museum serves as a repository for biological and geological material, anthropological artifacts, and natural history ephemera such as writings, photographs, and works of art relevant to the natural history of the area. For more information, contact the South Fork Natural History Society at 631-267-7944.

Home Sweet Home
14 James Lane, East Hampton. 631-324-0713
Home Sweet Home is the most distinguished lean-to in East Hampton. The house is believed to have been built in the 1720's while the parlor paneling is attributed to mid 1700's. It is a simple, dignified house, unnpainted, after the fashion of the best houses of the ancient village, its exterior of rough shingles is bare of all ornamentation except that which the graceful hand of time has lent it.

Mulford Farm
James Lane, East Hampton. 
The Mulford Farm, circa 1680, listed on the National Register of Historic Places is considered one of America's most significant, intact English Colonial farmsteads. Originally the site of three successive blacksmith's shops, by 1680, the Mulford Farm was a family farmstead of approximately fourteen acres and was the home of more than ten generations of families.

Montauk Lighthouse
2000 Montauk Highway (the end!), Montauk. 631-668-2544
The Montauk Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in New York State. The Lighthouse was authorized by the Second Congress, under President George Washington, in 1792. Construction began on June 7, 1796, and was completed on November 5, 1796. It still serves as an aid to navigation.

Bridgehampton Historical Society & Corwith Museum
2368 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton. 631-537-1088
The Greek Revival-style Corwith House serves as headquarters and museum exhibit space for the Bridgehampton Historical Society. Several rooms of the house contain objects and furnishings from the Corwith Family and other local families. The society also maintains several adjacent buildings which house collections of farming and shop equipment used in the area. Included are the Wheelwright Shop, Bridgehampton Jail, The Hildreth-Simons Engine Barn, and the Tractor Barn. Many special events are held annually, including the Antique Show, a special summer exhibit, the windmill open house, the Engine Run, and the Road Rallye. Children's programs are also scheduled. The house is open June through mid-October.

Sag Harbor Whaling Museum
Main Street, Sag Harbor. 631-725-0770
Located in a Greek Revival-style building, the museum's collection includes extensive whaling equipment, scrimshaw, fishing gear, log books, artwork, ships models, and memorabilia. Visitors enter the museum through the jaw bones of a white whale and experience Sag Harbor's history as a leading port in the whaling industry. The museum is open mid-May through mid-September. 

Sag Harbor Custom House
Garden Street, Sag Harbor. 631-941-9444
The Custom House was owned by Sag Harbor’s first United States Custom Master, Henry Packer Dering. The daily activities of Dering, his wife and nine children are vividly portrayed in the room settings of a formal dinner, office, children’s room, kitchen, pantry and laundry. Open weekends between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, 7 days during July and August.

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