2023 Summer Exhibitions




Old Point Schoolhouse: 2023 Exhibitions


The Old Point Schoolhouse’s Janet T. Swanson Exhibition Gallery is the venue for the annual summer exhibition drawn from OHS’s collections:


“Folk Art from the Collection”Closed for the season.  Many items in OHS’s collections can be labeled folk art, an imprecise term that historically has been subject to debate and redefinition. However one chooses to define it, it is an undeniable fact that all folk art is inextricably a part and reflection of the community in which it was created—regardless of whether it is naïve, “outsider,” utilitarian, urban, rural, or made from common materials. OHS is proud to present these items because they hold up a fascinating and thought-provoking mirror to Oysterponds and its inhabitants. Alison Ventura & Angela Meredith-Jones, co-curators.



Village House: 2023 Exhibitions


Village House is period-furnished with noteworthy pieces from the OHS collection and shown as a late 19th-century boarding house, demonstrating a significant chapter in its history. Every year six new exhibitions, curated by William McNaught (except where noted), are installed on the 2nd floor:



“In Pursuit of Whales” – Another in our series of exhibitions devoted to our important collection of manuscripts, this time concentrating on documents pertaining to whaling during its heyday in the second quarter of the 19th century. Numerous whaling vessels sailed out of the East End of Long Island and we have a trove of fascinating individual items (whaling voyage logbooks, letters, contracts, legal documents etc.) relating to several dozen different whaling vessels which sailed in all the oceans (even to the Sea of Okhotsk and the Arctic) and visited ports as far apart as St. Helena, Chile, and Maui.




“William Steeple Davis Block Prints” – Previously we have concentrated on the photographic work of Orient multi-media luminary Davis (1884-1961); this exhibition focuses on his work as a print-maker – specifically on his wood-block and linoleum-block prints. He began making block prints in 1924 and sent his prints to exhibitions around the country. They are some of his best work in any medium, and are being shown together with some of the actual wood and linoleum blocks that he cut to create the prints.





“What is It?” – The Oysterponds Historical Society collections are full of extraordinary objects that seem strange to our 21st century eyes but, in fact, were common household objects, ordinary implements or useful farming tools from a century or two ago. Today, it’s a challenge to determine how they were used or for what purpose, but–don’t worry–we’ll supply copious hints to help visitors as they try to deduce what each mysterious item is. Co-curated by Sarah Olmstead.





“Happy Birthday: Orient Yacht Club at 90” – The Orient Yacht Club (OYC), founded in 1933 and incorporated in 1940, occupies a central place in the Oysterponds universe. Over the past nine decades hundreds of sailing novices and landlubbers have been transformed into intrepid seafarers under its auspices. In its 90 years the Club has run many different sorts of races for one-design and handicap boats. This multi-media exhibition features photos, art, and documents that tell the compelling history and reflect the Club’s importance to generations. Co-curated by John Holzapfel.





“Melita Hofmann: Author, Illustrator, Naturalist” – Melita Hofmann (1907-1976), curator of OHS from its founding in 1944 until 1963, was responsible for most of the early displays and exhibitions at OHS. She lived for a time in Village House. Born in Toledo, Ohio, she had studied both at the Parsons School of Design and New York University, as well as in Paris and Munich. Besides being an illustrator and writer, Melita was also assistant art director at the publisher Grosset & Dunlap. Ms. Hofmann was the author-illustrator of The Big Book of Birds and Pearls of Ferrara. She also wrote A Trip to the Pond (a study of animals in their natural habitat). Many of her works of art are in the OHS collection, including 14 watercolors from “Family Album.” Curated by Alison Ventura.



“Oysterponds at Leisure” (Photography Exhibition) –This continues the series of exhibitions drawn from our extensive collection of photographs and depicts people in East Marion and Orient as they rest, play, and enjoy a respite from the daily grind of work. There are scenes on the water (boating and ice skating), on the beach, relaxing on porches (at hotels and at home), playing (both grownups and children), riding in carriages and cars, bicycling, sightseeing, and celebrating special events.






Webb House


The 18th-century Webb House was floated across the bay in 1955 from Greenport to its present location overlooking Poquatuck Park. It now contains period-furnished rooms on the 1st floor and a permanent Maritime Exhibition on the 2nd:



“Webb House Permanent Maritime Exhibition” – Given the Oysterponds community’s historical connection and proximity to the sea, it is no wonder that OHS’s collection abounds with significant artwork and artifacts that have to do with ships, seafaring, whaling, etc. This Exhibition, on the 2nd floor of Webb House, is a compelling distillation of the many noteworthy maritime-related items in our collection, including 16 of our maritime paintings and seven of our ship models—many recently restored.


>> Note that the hours for the Maritime Exhibiton in Webb House are Saturdays and Sundays 2pm – 5pm <<



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