Water/Ways Exhibition

Water/Ways Exhibition

February 29 to March 14, 2020

The Smithsonian's Water/Ways exhibition is an exploration of the connections between human beings and water-focusing on the environment, culture, and history.

New York State has more than 7,600 freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, as well as portions of two of the five Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Long Island Sound. Over 70,000 miles of rivers and streams flow within our state's geographical boundaries. These waterbodies supply our drinking water; provide flood control to protect life and property; support recreation, tourism, agriculture, fishing, power generation, and manufacturing; provide habitat for aquatic plant and animal life; and inspire the human imagination.

Water also played a practical role in our state's history. The availability of water affected settlement and migration patterns of all of New York's peoples as a source of food, livelihood, and transportation.

This exhibition will also include our own water story on the East End of Long Island!

As we celebrate the Bicentennial of the Erie Canal, the Water/Ways exhibition will tell the story of how six communities and their water ways helped New York become the Empire State, how canals and river communities played strategically important roles in the development of our transportation, trade, commerce, industry, and culture, and how our lake shores connect us to other states and our ocean front communities connect us to our nation and peoples around the globe.The New York tour of the Water/Ways exhibition is made possible by the Museum Association of New York. The exhibition and programming was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Hadley Exhibits, Inc., the New York State Canal Corporation, the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Corridor. Folk Art programming is sponsored by New York Folklore, and supported by the New York State Regional Economic Development Initiative, a program of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. Water/Ways was inspired by an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, and the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, in collaboration with Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland; The Field Museum, Chicago; Instituto Sangari, Sao Paulo, Brazil; National Museum of Australia, Canberra; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; San Diego Natural History Museum; and Science Centre Singapore with PUB Singapore.

Thomas Moran Discovers the American West

Thomas Moran Discovers the American West

JUNE 29 - NOVEMBER 9, 2019

Detailing Moran's adventurous participation in the Hayden Expedition to Wyoming, this enlightening collection of watercolors, sketchbook pages, oil paintings and even his expedition pistol, form the core of what will be an illustrated story of this journey and the national legacy of Thomas Moran. The largest portion of this exhibit is material that is returning to The Studio after being gifted to Yellowstone National Park in the 1940s.

We will supplement this rare loan from the National Park Service with period maps, stereographic cards, wood engravings, photographs and important, late 19th century publications that support this story of Thomas Moran, the founder of East Hampton's artists' colony.

Open Hours:

Fall September 7-November 9 Saturdays | 11am-5pm

Special Last Day Added! Sunday, November 10 | 12pm-5pm

Image: Thomas Moran. Above Tower Falls, Yellowstone. Courtesy of Guild Hall. Gift of Ruth B. Moran.

Exhibition Sponsors
The Davis Family
Gates Capital Management
Jeff Gates & Mike Moran

Finding the Way: Antique Maps of the South Fork

Finding the Way: Antique Maps of the South Fork

July 19, 2019 - October 12, 2019

The oldest map yet discovered is from the 5th century BC and is Babylonian. We have always needed guidance to find our way from here to there. "The New Yorker" magazine has for years created cartoons portraying summer people lost on the back roads of New England, stopping and asking directions of an aged Yankee who has them taking a left after Widow Wickham's second red barn. The magazine's best mapping joke is likely a preppy duo in a smart MG sitting in the middle of a stream. The wife looks at her perplexed mate and says, "You should have told me the blue lines on the map are water."
We have brought together an assemblage of printed, photographed and hand-drawn maps that date from 1722 to the mid-20th century. From whalers off the coast of Gardiner's Island to East Hampton Village plat-maps, if you enjoy following routes via an atlas, you will find this exhibition fun and enlightening. If you have only experienced GPS, come down a find out have your grandmother found her way to Greenport.

Artists At Home: Historic Artists Homes & Studios Program

Artists At Home: Historic Artists Homes & Studios Program

April to July 2019

This photographic exhibition celebrates The Thomas & Mary Nimmo Moran Studio's acceptance into The Historic Artists' Homes and Studios Program (HAHS) of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

With more than 30 member museums across the country, HAHS is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the places where art was made. In this exhibition, over 50 photographs will honor the amazing creative spaces of American artists whose studios have become part of HAHS, including Thomas and Mary Nimmo Moran.

Image Courtesy of East Hampton Library
This exhibit was made possible with support of the Henry Luce Foundation and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.

Victorian Christmas at the Moran Studio

Victorian Christmas at the Moran Studio

Thomas and Mary Nimmo Moran Studio, Decemeber 2018

See the The Studio decked out for an 18th century Christmas celebration. Complete with period clothing, children's toys, a table set for a holiday feast, and period decorations throughout.

You're Invited: 150 Years of Parties & Picnics in East Hampton

You're Invited: 150 Years of Parties & Picnics in East Hampton

Clinton Academy, 1784 Summer 2018

Our summer 2018 exhibition featured a festive theme highlighting objects and stories from clambakes, picnics, parties, and celebrations of the last 150 years.

Vignettes included scenes of Main Street, LVIS fairs, Fourth of July parades, beach picnics, and summer tourists at the railroad station.

The Sounding Sea: The Art of Edward, Thomas & Mary Nimmo Moran

The Sounding Sea: The Art of Edward, Thomas & Mary Nimmo Moran


229 Main Street, East Hampton, NY 11937
An East Hampton Historical Society museum

The Civil War wounded the soul of America. The war was cataclysmic. Americans longed for a new era of pride, prosperity, and optimism. Artists and writers looked toward the wild places in nature that could symbolize a pure and new America. The beauty of our natural heritage became the national metaphor for healing.

One of the most powerful subjects that these artists turned to was the sea. It was the ocean's multiple personalities that lured artists to portray it in its many roles. The sea can be operatic in its fury or poetic when it is placid and alluring. 19th century artists followed our coastlines from north to south. The oceans offered both pleasure and profit.

As Industry bolstered the affluence of our coastal cities, new tides of immigrants crossed the oceans to supply the needed work force for America's factories and farm fields.

The Moran family, from Bolton near the English city of Lancaster, made their move to America in two trips. Edward and Thomas Moran's father arrived at the port of Philadelphia 1n 1842 and set-up a weaving mill in Cohocksink, Pennsylvania. Edward Moran age 15 and his brother Thomas age 7, travelled with their five siblings, mother and grandmother to Philadelphia in 1844 to join him. Mary Nimmo, who was born in Strathaven, Scotland, set sail for America with her brother and widowed father in 1847, when she was 5 years old. They settled in Cresentville, a weaving community near Philadelphia. She met Thomas Moran by 1859, they corresponded, they married in 1863.

This exhibition follows the careers of three members of one of America's most illustrious artistic families. Within three generations there were almost a dozen artists in the family, by birth or marriage. We look at the paintings of Edward Moran, paintings and etching by Thomas Moran and the etchings of Mary Nimmo Moran. We string together this trio of artists, as we examine their seascapes. When they took-up their brushes and etching needles, the Morans captured the power of the sounding sea for posterity.