Gardiner Foundation awards Jamesport Meeting House $32K grant

Three North Fork organizations are able to partake in new projects this summer thanks to the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. The Jamesport Meeting House, Southold Historical Society and Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Society all received grants.

The Gardiner Foundation focuses on supporting local history in New York State with a focus on Suffolk County.

The largest of the three was a grant of $32,125 that went to the Jamesport Meeting House so air conditioning could be installed and the kitchen could be renovated, as part of its long-term restoration project. It is a matching grant, meaning the Jamesport Meeting House also had to raise the same amount to fund this project that was completed just this week.

“We’ve always had what I’d call Puritan air conditioning, which is all the windows open,” Richard Wines, board president of the meeting house, said. “It worked fine for 286 years, but modern audiences aren’t quite as tough as our town’s founding fathers.”

Mr. Wines said the upgrades were necessary because having the windows open lets in too much street noise, so summer concerts and recording sessions had to be done with the windows closed in the middle of summer. The kitchen was also about 100 years old, Mr. Wines said, so upgrades were needed to make it a useable space.

Mr. Wines completed the project this week in anticipation he would receive the grant. He admitted it was risky, but worth it because he wanted the air conditioning ready for the summer months.

“It’s unusual to get a grant and be able to finish the work at the same time,” Mr. Wines said. “I was confident if the grant didn’t come in we’d find a way of doing it, because that’s what we’ve done here all along.”

The grant helped fund a new stove, table and flooring as well as upgraded cabinets and storage in the kitchen, mainly to be used as a separate meeting space.

“It’s visually spectacular and it’s a really nice space, people feel good in here,” Mr. Wines said. “And it’s nice to have it for the community because that means that everyone can participate in one way or another.”

The Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Society will use its grant of $13,870 to properly digitize all its collections.

“They’ve never been systematically inventoried,” director Zachary Studenroth said. “This is exciting for us because we have some wonderful collections but we don’t always know what we have.”

The project will take place this summer, and it lines up with the reinterpretation of the Old House in Cutchogue, so they will be able to categorize everything that will be in the updated house. It also allows the historical society to track objects where they are exhibited or borrowed and note the conditions of each item. Additionally, the web-based platform will allow people to use the information for online research. This was not a matching grant.

The Southold Historical Society received a matching grant from the Gardiner Foundation for $2,500. It is planning on using this money to create a visual essay on the history of the wine industry on the East End of Long Island.

“I can’t wait. It’s going to be very interesting,” director Karen Lund Rooney said. She added that she expects it to be done in about a year.

The Long Island Wine Council, important stakeholders, community members and members of the Southold Historical Society will have a roundtable next week to discuss the project. Ms. Lund Rooney said it will be a suitcase exhibition, meaning it will be displayed all over the East End of Long Island along with a major exhibition at the historical society itself.

A spectator can expect to see blown up photos depicting how the wine industry was from the 1960s onwards, along with oral histories or written narratives from significant leaders.

[email protected]

PHOTO CREDIT: The kitchen at the Jamesport Meeting House. (Credit: Madison Fender)