By Stephen J. Kotz
Audrey Gaines, the former director of youth services for East Hampton Town, has recently been elected to a two-year term as president of the Eastville Community Historical Society.
Ms. Gaines, who has been a member of the historical society for three years, said as president, she expected she would rely heavily on the institutional knowledge of other members of the organization, including outgoing president Jackie Vaughn, founding member Kathy Tucker, and executive director Georgette Grier-Key.
“When I first came to work for the Town of East Hampton, there wasn’t a youth services program, so I had to find my way around,” she said. “Here, there are so many people who have been on this board and are so knowledgable and helpful.”
With her town job, she added, she had “to start the wheel turning. Here, the wheel is turning already. All you have to do is jump on board.”
Besides continuing its ongoing lecture series, art and history shows, neighborhood walking tours, and the popular summer fish fry, Ms. Gaines said she expected the society would get started on plans to renovate the Heritage House museum on Route 114 that it calls home.
Those plans calls for the society to work with architect Bill Chaleff to open the basement of the building to the exterior so the society will have more usable space for exhibits and other activities.
Ms. Gaines said she did not know if that projet would ready to move forward this year, but she said it is definitely part of the society’s long-range master plan.
“We know it’s going to cost a lot of money, which we’ll try to raise through grants and other fundraising,” she said.
Another priority, she said, is to continue the society’s outreach to children. “We’re trying to get children involved more,” she said, citing a summer program held last year, in which children from the Bridgehampton Child Care Center took part in a quilt-making project in conjunction with a quilt exhibit.
A licensed clinical social worker who still sees some private clients, Ms. Gaines retired from the town four years ago, but says she enjoys keeping busy through volunteer activities.
Besides the historical society, Ms. Gaines serves on the site council of the East Hampton Town Senior Citizens Center, a committee that organizes activitis for seniors, ranging from Bingo games to shopping trips and special celebrations.
She also serves on the East Hampton Town Anti-Bias Task Force, a committee she says has been revived through the efforts of Councilwoman Sylvia Overby.
Ms. Gaines said the Eastville Community Historical Society is a healthy organization with well over 100 members and an active board of nine members.
“As a kid growing up, I was always involved in East Hampton,” said Ms. Gaines. “I knew people from Sag Harbor, but not that many people. I never knew all the wonderful history in Sag Harbor. What a rich history it is.”