Celebrating Oysterponds
History and Heritage

OHS Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic


All of us at OHS—our staff, board and community volunteers—want to extend our hope that each of you, your loved ones, and your friends are safe during this unprecedented time. Nothing is more important right now than doing what we can to stay healthy and minimizing the risk to others.


As you likely know, OHS has closed our offices during this period. But our staff is the backbone of this organization. They continue working remotely, wherever possible, and are helping to keep the community informed, creating online events, and preparing for a return to our exhibits and programs when the crisis eases. Even if some staff members are unable to work, because they cannot access key materials, or they become ill, or are caring for others, the Board has committed to maintaining their salaries during this crisis.


Our board is meeting electronically, and we are staying connected by working closely with other local organizations and sending important bulletins to the OHS community. We also initiated a video series to deliver interesting content to you; on March 28th our inaugural “Alone Together” Video Series lecture entitled, “Historic Houses of Oysterponds Historical Society,” was presented by John Holzapfel and, from all indications, was very well received. We hope you can join us for our future virtual lectures.


We are getting close to what should be the busiest time of year for OHS—opening up for exhibits, launching programs, organizing lectures, and holding community gatherings. Of note, North Fork Fresh is on the calendar for June 13, Heritage Day, our wonderful celebration of America and Oysterponds (with plenty of hot dogs!), is set for July 5th and our big Summer Benefit in Poquatuck Park is scheduled for August 8th. But, as you can imagine, much is up in the air.


Our staff and board are carefully planning for these events, while also considering the way we present them, possible postponements, or even cancellations of one or more, depending on how this crisis evolves.  No decisions have been made at this point and we hope to be able to celebrate together, but that may not be possible. The health of our community is paramount, and we will base these decisions with that first in mind.


Like so many other cultural organizations, maintaining our membership and attendance at these events are a very large portion of the revenue needed to pay our staff, maintain our collections, and do the important work so many enjoy. We know that this is a time when everyone has weighty issues of health, safety, and personal finances on their minds. We understand that people are unlikely to be able to focus on things like membership renewals or donations at a time like this. We have pulled back from sending out renewal notices and rolling out new options for membership, including an exciting new program called Griffin Giving Circles. There will be a time to return to these tasks when we are all less at risk.


Like many individuals and organizations, we will be financially challenged by this pandemic. We are reviewing our budget carefully and considering possible savings. But our staff is secure. We also are exploring the financial aid programs being offered by federal and local governments to help non-profits impacted by Covid-19. And we know that our community will rise to support us. OHS has been around since 1944 and will be around for a long time to come. This crisis, horrible as it is, will pass at some point.


We look forward to being with you to celebrate this place we love and our shared heritage, with even more meaning attached to how important it is to be together.



Oysterponds Historical Society


The annual summer exhibitions in Village House and the Old Point Schoolhouse draw on OHS’s extraordinary 60,000+ item collection of art, manuscripts, and historical objects, illustrating stories of Orient and East Marion.

OHS’s 2020 Summer Exhibitions are slated to include Iceboating In Oysterponds;   Oysterponds People: Captain W.W. Stephenson & Private John Henry Young;   Maritime Photographs;   Primary Sources: Documents From the OHS Archives;   Recent Acquisitions;   Signs & Banners; and  Firefighting in Oysterponds.

Village House Period Rooms

Webb House Period Rooms


Programs and Events


2020 North Fork Fresh

  Every year OHS’s North Fork Fresh event kicks off summer.  Attendees enjoy craft beer, local wine, BBQ, a pie contest, live music, a raffle, and lots of delicious local food tastings. As of April 1st, North Fork Fresh remains on the calendar but, as you can imagine, things remain very much up in the air; we hope to be […]

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Alone Together Video Series: “She Went a-Whaling – Diary of a Whaling Captain Wife.”

On Sat. April 4th at 2pm, John Holzapfel be hosting an online lecture entitled, “She Went a-Whaling – Diary of a Whaling Captain Wife,” a visualization of the journal of Martha Brown who sailed from Orient, Long Island around the world on the whaling ship Lucy Ann with her husband from August 1847 to July 1849. Pictures, movie clips, and […]

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from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation
and Lynne Biggar

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