The Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society

Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society
P.O. Box 47, Bellport, New York 11713

December 1,2005

Dear Fellow Society Members and Friends;

This is the third annual president's letter that I am writing on behalf of the Board of Trustees of  the Historical Society and Museum. We are sending this letter to all our membership and to everyone who generously supported us by attending the gala opening nights of our special museum exhibitions of the past three years.

In my first letter to you two years ago I wrote that we were launching a major new development program with four goals: making our financial situation more secure; improving the quality of the eight historic structures in our care; laying the groundwork for permanently employing a curator; and generating more programs and exhibitions for the benefit of the entire community.

Let us review where we stand with these goals, taking them in reverse order. In the past three summers we presented three special exhibits: The Gruccis of Bellport: A Retrospective Exhibition in 2003, As Time Goes By: Remembering Ingrid Bergman, in 2004, and in 2005 Hidden Treasures of the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society. This last exhibition was based on materials that had been in storage or that had been newly acquired. It featured a tantalizing display of wedding dresses from the past 150 years, a striking display of choice pieces from our world-class tin ware collection, and a newly acquired watercolor painting of Bellport Beach in 1871 by the noted 19th century illustrator Felix Darley. Three hundred people attended the opening night gala. For 2006 we are planning an exhibit on sailing on the Great South Bay, marking the 100th Anniversary of the Bellport Yacht Club. The opening-night gala is scheduled for Saturday, July 15, 2006. Please save the date. Our programs and activities are given in our quarterly newsletter, on our website, and on the village website

Dolores O'Connor, who has served as curator for these three exhibits, has now joined us as our permanent curator, and Hidden Treasures is an example of the wonderful things she is accomplishing with our museum. One project Dolores and our trustee Joe Doran have been working on is a computer-based inventory of all the artifacts in the Barn Museum and the Post-Crowell Historic House. We recently visited the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) and the Brooklyn Historical Society. The professional staffs of both organizations are carrying out exactly the same project that Dolores and Joe are, and I would like to take this opportunity to say that we have room for volunteers to work with them on our inventory. If you are interested please call Ms. O'Connor at 776-7640.

Last year's president's letter stated that we needed an additional $16,000 to reach our precondition for the hiring of a year-round curator. Two members each donated $16,000, many others increased their annual donations, and the Post-Morrow Foundation awarded us a three year $9,000 grant. This generous response enabled us to reach our goal very quickly and was both gratifying and exciting. We think history is very important, and with the generous support we are receiving from the community, we have great expectations of being able to share this excitement by making our local history available and involving to a much larger audience.

Last year's letter mentioned preparing grant requests for refurbishing the street-half of the Brown Building, which was projected to be a major construction project. This year I am happy to report that through the skillful and determined efforts of one of our trustees the Society has been awarded three grants: $3,000 through the good offices of Brookhaven Councilman James Tullo, $50,000 through the good offices of Assemblywoman Patricia Eddington, and $50,000 through the good offices of State Senator Caesar Trunzo. Still pending is a request for matching funds to the State Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. Federal grants for this year are not readily available, but we shall try again next year with our Congressman, Tim Bishop.

This brings us to Item 1, increasing our financial security. The trustees feel that the Society's financial security is dependent on its importance to the community. Thus, as we gain greater visibility, as we draw more people to our museum, as we enrich the community with our historic complex, the community will recognize us as an important contributor to the life of the area. Our regular operating expenses (for heat, electricity, insurance, paint, roofs, etc. for eight structures) are ever rising. We hope to meet these expenses with an ever increasing membership. Please renew your existing membership. Please join if you are not already a member. We enclose an envelope for your convenience.

The Society operates entirely through the generous contribution of time, effort and financial support by our membership and other friends. Any dues and other contributions you make are 100% tax-deductible and 100% of those funds go to operating the museum complex. We especially want to thank the volunteers who have so unselfishly given of their time for the Exchange Shop, the Bam Museum, and the Post-Crowell Historic House. We want also to thank our new friends for the support they have freely given to our projects over the past three years, and we urge them now to become members of the Society. Finally, we look forward to seeing you as our guests at our holiday party, 5 to 7:30 PM on December 10th in the Brown Building. We will sing carols, mingle with our friends, enjoy food and drink, and auction off our decorated holiday tree and a few selected items from the Geoffrey Beene Estate.

We wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.


Carol K. Bleser

Carol K. Bleser, President

P.S. Not wanting to go to the well too often, please note that we are not making an urgent, desperate request for funds in this letter, but keep in mind that we must heat and power four of our structures through this coming winter.
P.P.S. We send the President's Letter to our Life Members to keep them informed of our progress and to provide them with a convenient envelope to use if they wish to make a year end gift.




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