Southampton Historical Museum Launches Adopt-A-Window Campaign

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The Southampton Historical Museum has launched a new “Adopt-A-Window” campaign to refurbish the antique windows in the Thomas Halsey Homestead.

All 43 windows need to be refurbished at an estimated cost of $100,000. Last week the historical society launched the new campaign, in which donors can choose a particular window in the two-story home to restore.

Also last week, the historical society received an initial anonymous donation of $50,000 for the cause. It has since raised an additional $10,000 through the new campaign. Participants who donate $2,000 and over will have a plaque dedicated to them, or to anyone they choose, in the house near the window they have chosen.

“Every window is different,” Southampton Historical Society Executive Director Tom Edmonds said this week. They vary in size, and some have diamond glass paneling while others do not, for instance.

The Thomas Halsey Homestead, located on South Main Street in Southampton Village, is one of several historical properties maintained by the society. It was built in 1660 by Thomas Halsey on property first purchased from the Shinnecock Indians in 1640. It is believed to be the oldest house in Southampton Village and the oldest English-style house in New York State.

The “first period” home is filled with 17th- and 18th-century furnishings, all donated by local families. The house was first restored in 1959 by Henry Francis duPont of the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. It was also partially restored between 1999 and 2003, but the restoration work stopped when the historical society ran out of money and the windows were never done.

“The refurbished windows will protect the integrity of the house,” helping protect it from the elements, Mr. Edmonds said this week. Many of the leaded glass windows need new frames, glazing needs to be done on glass paneling, some windows have cracks and scrapes, and in some instances the hand-blown pieces of glass are warped. One second-floor window was even shot at with a rifle.

Once the money is raised, according to Mr. Edmond, the restoration work will be completed by local architect Nathan Tuttle. Mr. Tuttle, who has offices in Eastport, specializes in restoring historical structures, and he has done work on the Halsey Homestead and other local structures in the past.

Mr. Edmonds said the group hopes to be able to start the work as soon as possible, and hopes to have all 43 windows completed by the start of winter. Anyone wishing to contribute can send a check to the Southampton Historical Museum, Box, 303, Southampton, NY 11969, or contact Mr. Edmonds at tomvedmonds@gmail.com. Donors can also call 283-2494 for more information.

“We are desperate to start,” he said this week. “These windows date back to the 1750s, so we can’t just go out and get new windows. We need it done nicely and quickly.”

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