East Hampton Always Knew How To Party

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Some of the party items featured at Clinton Academy. Courtesy of the East Hampton Historical Society

“Celebration” has wide implications, from town-wide commemorative pageants to simply having a good time.

East Hampton Town certainly runs the gamut — and has since the 1800s, and even before.

“You’re Invited: 150 Years of Parties & Picnics in East Hampton” explores the celebratory exploits of the East End hamlet — from Main Street promenades and simple date nights at the cinema to family weekends at the beach — through a rare collection of curated vignettes of costumes and objects of a partiful past, now on view at the Clinton Academy Museum.

“The inspiration for the exhibition 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,” Chief Curator Richard Barons said in a press release. “We sought to rectify this omission with a summer exhibition.”

Through tableaus that range from a 1970s gallery opening to a circa-1915 Fourth of July parade float, 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.

“We can learn so much from the clothes that were worn years ago” Barons said. “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 skits 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.”

The show will remain on view through October 7 at the museum, located at 151 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, visit easthamptonhistory.org.

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