East Hampton Historical Society - Clinton Academy

151 Main Street, East Hampton, NY 11937 - United States




Free Everyday

Clinton Academy was one of the first academies in New York State chartered by the Board of Regents. The academy was constructed in 1784 with funds contributed by local citizens at the request of the Rev. Samuel Buell, the pastor of the East Hampton Presbyterian Church.

This remarkable academy was a co-educational institution preparing young men for college or for careers such as seafaring or surveying. Young women were schooled in spiritual reading and the finer points of being a lady.

The first headmaster, Reverend Buell, gave instruction in Latin as well as Greek and French. Students came from a broad range of places including Long Island, New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut as well as from the West Indies.

After the state dissolved the chartered academy system, Clinton became a community center, a playhouse, town offices, and briefly housed The East Hampton Star.

This late Georgian-style building was restored in 1921 by Lorenzo E. Woodhouse.

Today, visitors can enjoy changing art and history exhibitions in this building. More information about our 2019 exhibitions is coming soon!

Visitors can also enjoy the Mimi Meehan Native Plant Garden behind the Academy, a project of the Garden Club of East Hampton. The garden is accessible during daylight hours - simply enter the gate located to the left of the Academy porch!


The East Hampton Historical Society will be hosting The Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibition on April 4th! This 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.

As we celebrate the Bicentennial of the Erie Canal, the Water/Ways exhibition will tell the story of how the East Hampton community and our water ways helped New York become the Empire State.

Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.