At the Clinton Academy on 151 Main Street, East Hampton, Richard Barons, the director of the East Hampton Historical Society, was at work framing photographs for the museum's upcoming exhibit, "June 13, 1942: Saboteurs Land in Amagansett", which opens Friday with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. to benefit the restoration of the Amagansett Life-Saving Station.
On the ground floor, Rosanne Barons, the society's registrar, struggled to dress a slightly-too-large mannequin in a Barnes family military uniform, a summer coat and slacks from the day in June when a coastguardsman came across four Nazi saboteurs who had landed their U-boat near Atlantic Avenue and were New York City bound by train, but later gave themselves up.
The mannequin was eventually dressed and erected. Mr. Barons surveyed the figure and commented, "Interestingly enough, the buttons had been saved in a jar, so the buttons had to be put back on. . . . Now we have to find a shirt and somebody's dress shoes. That's where the L.V.I.S. comes in very handy, because where else, right?"
Mr. Barons strolled around the perimeter of the room, picking up frames on the floor that had yet to be mounted on the walls. Of a photograph showing the Life-Saving Station at the time of the saboteurs' landing, he said, "It appears to be painted white, which I think is something that I don't know if anyone realizes because it's natural now."
Upstairs, arranging photographs in their frames, Mr. Hefner explained he was having tough time identifying the owner of the photograph he was currently framing, a common issue in such exhibits he said.
He explained that when fitting the photograph to the mat, something often had to be eliminated in the picture. "We buy lots of different sized frames, 10 to 15 sizes of frames for each exhibit. I used to think that we just needed to have black ones. We now realize that it's good to have a little variety," he said.
He said the exhibit would be mainly photographic as "the guns and things like that are things that West Point and the F.B.I. Museum aren't particularly anxious to lend because they'd almost be a calling card for someone to break in." In addition, however, the exhibition will display the logbook for the U-boat, which has been translated into English and made available to people for the first time.
The benefit for the restoration has so far raised $2,500, according to Mr. Hefner, who commented that the sum on money, "as someone said, can put up a lot of flagpoles."
Mr. Hefner hopes for the exhibition to put the story in context of the actual event "and also present a story that is not quite as cut and dried."