Sag Harbor Whaling Museum To Close Early For Renovations

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The Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum will close its doors on Wednesday, September 11, about a month earlier than normal, so that workers can begin restoring the building, which dates to 1845.

In May, Sag Harbor Village Building Inspector Tim Platt had the village’s Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board review the restoration work that will largely focus on the building’s exterior, in order to ensure that the building maintains its historical integrity. At the same time, the upgrades are intended to bring the building into compliance with the village code and protect Sag Harbor’s historic district.

Against the protests of members of the Wamponamon Lodge 437, Free and Accepted Masons, who, through a 1945 agreement are lifelong rent-free tenants of the building, the museum’s board of directors presented a three-phase plan to restore the building to the ARB earlier this year. Officials representing the lodge could not be reached for comment this week.

The plan was ultimately approved and the work, which is estimated to cost $200,000, is set to begin on Thursday, September 12. Officials expect the renovations to be finished before the museum reopens next May.

According to museum manager Greg Therriault, phase one of the project will include stripping the exterior of all lead-based paint, inspecting the wood for rot, and replacing rotted wood on the roof and front and side porches. Workers will then repaint the entire exterior of the building.

The second and third phases will address additional repairs to the roof and the building’s interior, as well as replacing outside fencing, Mr. Therriault said.

The first phase of the renovation project, which is expected to run about $180,000, will be completed by Ince Painting Professional of Westhampton Beach, according to Mr. Therriault.

Svetlana Ince, the company’s business manager, said her firm has a team of 35 technicians dedicated to the two-month-long project, which she noted is their first restoration of a building that has been designated a “national treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She added that the company has completed nine similar restoration projects, work that has focused on buildings that have historic status.

Ms. Ince said removing the lead-based paint poses a unique challenge as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has strict guidelines for the removal of such paint. Those protocols include quartering off the property and not allowing anyone at all within its confines unless they are specifically certified for lead-based paint removal.

“We want to do this right and safe for the clients, and really for the community,” Ms. Ince said. “We start work the 12th, we will begin painting on October 1, and we will be completed by November 15.

“Done head-to-toe in two months,” she added.

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