Sag Harbor’s Cultural Heritage


Diversity, adversity, and change. That’s the theme of this year’s Sag Harbor Cultural Heritage Weekend.

The evolution of a diverse community over three centuries will be highlighted. The event is held Friday, May 18, through Sunday, May 20, and features a variety of events at locations throughout the village.

From the first Port of Entry to the United States, to a bustling whaling village, to an industrial center, to a literary and artistic haven, and finally to one of the east coast’s most desirable resort communities, the weekend is about celebrating Sag Harbor.

Preservation Long Island invites visitors to enjoy multiple events taking place throughout the day on Saturday at the Custom House Museum, including live music played on early colonial instruments. Also enjoy a demonstration of traditional boat-building techniques put on by the East End Classic Boat Building Society on the Custom House lawn.

Canio’s Cultural Cafe will celebrate John Steinbeck with a marathon reading of The Winter of Our Discontent on Saturday and Sunday. The event begins on Friday, May 18, at 5 PM with a talk by Susan Shillinglaw, director of the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA. The book was Steinbeck’s last novel, written while he lived in Sag Harbor.

The marathon will continue throughout the weekend. There will be a silent auction featuring a signed, special edition of Steinbeck’s The Red Pony, a Steinbeck painting by David Slater, and Arthur Leipzig’s photograph of a Sag Harbor worker from the 1960s.

The Sag Harbor Historical Society presents Sag Harbor through letters, journalism, costumes, art, photos, scrapbooks, and local voices at the Annie Cooper Boyd House on Saturday, from 1 to 4 PM. This exhibit includes mannequins dressed in vintage clothing, letters, ledgers, and diaries from Sag Harbor’s earliest days, early images of Sag Harbor by painters Hubbard Latham Fordham and Orlando Bears, a rare 1854 map of Sag Harbor, and a projected display of photos taken by current residents highlighting parts of Sag Harbor.

The Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum is showcasing “Our Town, Sag Harbor in Focus” a photography exhibit and competition that is a celebration of both the village of Sag Harbor and a reflection on living on the East End of Long Island as experienced by students from Pierson High School.

The Sag Harbor Historical Society and the John Jermain Memorial Library have teamed up to present “Sag Harbor: Past and Present,” an afternoon of rare film clips and slides on Sunday from 3 to 4:30 PM at the library.

The Eastville Community Historical Society will host an exhibit at its Heritage House center taken from its extensive collection of historic Sag Harbor photographs entitled “Black Leisure: Respite In Sag Harbor,” with a focus on the African-American community during the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s.

Temple Adas Israel is presenting a talk by Rabbi Daniel Geffen on Friday, May 18, at 4 PM. Geffen will compare and contrast the diverse customs and traditions that exist within Judaism, as well as the diversity of the temple’s congregation and community.

The Sag Harbor American Music Festival presents an afternoon jazz concert by The Jam Session. Special Edition Quartet will perform on Saturday from 2 to 4 PM.

On Saturday at Christ Episcopal Church, The Rev. Karen Ann Campbell will give a tour of Christ Church, emphasizing how changes in religious practice here have followed the economic tides of Sag Harbor. It was the first Episcopal presence on the East End beginning in 1845. A highlight of the tour will be the church’s stained-glass windows that include two created by the world famous Tiffany Studio.

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