Sag Harbor Historical Society will hold what newly elected president Nancy French Achenbach called “probably the biggest fundraiser we’ve ever given” on Friday, July 5, at 5:30 p.m.
The fundraiser will be held at The Point House at 6 Fahys Road, North Haven, one of the oldest houses in the area. Tickets are available online at sagharborhistorical.org.
Ms. Achenbach thinks the benefit will help raise both funds and awareness, and attributes healthy ticket sales so far to event coordinator Linda Shapiro. The society has received a “very, very positive response from the village and a lot of sponsors,” Ms. Achenbach said.
Run almost entirely by volunteers — except for one paid staff member — the society struggled in the past to create a public image for itself, Ms. Achenbach said. This may be because of the unassuming façade of its headquarters, a small, dark house set back from Main Street just south of the business district.
But a new website, advertisements and events are helping to raise awareness of the work they do, she said. “We’re a nonprofit, but we’re also a business,” she said. “We have to maintain this house … we have to keep our archives up to date.”
The museum itself was once the home a century ago of local artist Annie Cooper Boyd and it dates from the 18th century. Ms. Achenbach said Boyd’s daughter, Nancy Boyd Willey, who willed the house to the society, had a “keen interest” in history and was one of the village’s first “preservation people.”
Much of the museum’s collection came through her from the Cooper family. Members of the community also drop off things to contribute to the collection, which helps the society build a narrative of Sag Harbor’s history.
But the museum has only two small, climate-controlled rooms to preserve hundreds of delicate objects, noted Barbara Schwartz, the treasurer. The rest of the house contains items that aren’t as sensitive to heat or moisture. Ideally, Ms. Achenbach said, she’d like to have something similar to the headquarters of the Shelter Island Historical Society, which recently received an endowment and is building a new history center.
Additionally, the society wants to bring in younger members who are interested in the village’s history. Right now, they have two young docents: one in high school and one in college.
At the July 5 event, the society will honor Bay Street Theater co-founders Emma Walton Hamilton and Stephen Hamilton.