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Jul 9, 2019 2:44 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Village Accepts Donation From Ronald Lauder For The Dominy Museum

The Dominy woodworking shop is on the right within the lean-to extension. COURTESY EAST HAMPTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Jul 9, 2019 3:10 PM

The East Hampton Village Board accepted and acknowledged a $83,333 donation toward the planned Dominy museum from Ronald S. Lauder, an heir to the Estée Lauder Companies, who has a residence in Wainscott, at its organizational meeting on Wednesday, July 3.

Four generations of skilled woodworking craftsman built furniture and clocks, among other items, in the Dominy workshops on North Main Street in East Hampton in the 18th century. Thanks to the East Hampton Historical Society and East Hampton Village, the workshops will become a museum devoted to the history of the craftsmen who built and repaired clocks and furniture in the two workshops.

The main section of the historic Dominy House will be a reconstruction of the original. The workshops have been temporarily relocated from a private residence to the Mulford Farm for safekeeping.

According to Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., Mr. Lauder has allocated a total of $250,000 toward the project.

“The village is extremely grateful for Mr. Lauder’s generous donation,” Village Administrator Becky Molinaro Hansen said at the July 3 meeting. “His generosity is a testament to the level of support our community has shown for preserving the village’s rich and historic heritage.”

The original Dominy House, located on North Main Street just west of Cedar Street, dates to 1715. From 1760 until 1840, Nathaniel Dominy IV, his son Nathaniel V, and his grandson Felix worked in the woodworking shop on the northeast side of the house making furniture, and in the clock shop at the opposite end of the house, where they produced clocks and repaired watches.

The Dominys occupied the house until 1926, and it remained vacant until Oscar Brill bought it in 1941 from Nathaniel V’s great-grandson Charles Dominy.

The Dominy residence was demolished in the 1940s, but the clockmaking and woodworking shops survived. The workshops were donated to the village in 2014.

In addition to furniture and clocks, the Dominys built windmills and made wooden bowls, hay forks, mortars and pestles, and spinning wheels.

Once the renovations are complete, the village will return the Dominy clock and woodworking shops to their original location on North Main Street.

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