Nora Cammann, Bridgehampton Curator

May 1, 1932 - Jan. 31, 2014

    Nora Francke Cammann, who had a long career in museums and film production in New York City and was later a leader and curator at the Bridgehampton Museum, died on Friday at home in Bridgehampton. The cause was cancer, her former sister-in-law and friend Linda Bird Francke said. She was 82.

    Ms. Cammann was born in New York on May 1, 1932, to the former Eleanor Fitzgerald and Albert Francke. She attended the Brearley School and Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn., and graduated from Barnard College.

    She spent many summers in Bridgehampton after her parents bought land on Sagg Pond in the 1950s. She and her husband, Fred Cammann, a former president and member of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, moved to Bridgehampton permanently in 1985.

    In an interview published by the Bridgehampton Historical Society in 2008, she spoke about Sagg Pond: “It’s alive with things happening. When you watch the pond, there is always something happening. In the fall, as the sun sets, there are wonderful colors of wheat, purple and orange in the grasses. In the winter, there are all gradations of gray and white. And in the spring, you find roses, and all kinds of wildflowers. And you feel it, and you smell it. The seasons on the pond are fabulous.”

    Ms. Cammann’s family said she brought her multiple talents to the community as curator of the Bridgehampton Museum. She started by cataloguing the entire collection on 3-by-5-inch index cards, and for the next 20 years mounted the museum’s three or four annual exhibitions.

    Her exhibition of historical clothes and costumes, many brought home by whalers and loaned to the museum by their descendants, was said by Elaine Benson, the late gallery owner, to be the most comprehensive in any museum on the East End. At the time of her death, she had endowed the digitalization of the museum’s entire collection. Volunteer students from the Ross School are engaged in the process.

    Ms. Cammann began her career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1955, working with Nathan Kolodny, the director of the 92nd Street Y, on developing the programming for the newly created Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. She took a break in the 1960s to raise her two sons, Peter and Philip, before resuming her career.

    Her museum work continued at the American Museum of Natural History, where she worked with Gardner Stout, its newly elected chairman, on resurrecting, restoring, cataloguing, and exhibiting long-overlooked artifacts in its archives. She gathered the designs derived from four Indian groups and reproduced them in needlepoint. Her work was published by Scribner’s in 1973 and became the basis for an exhibit of the Indian art at the museum.

    She then went into the film business with her husband, who was the founder of Cammann Productions. They traveled all over eastern China for Young and Rubicam, the advertising firm, first filming a history of Beijing carpets, then documenting the history of the silk industry. She was the art director for both films.

    She continued to work as art director for the many domestic projects at Cammann Productions, including educational films for I.B.M. and American Express.

    Ms. Cammann is survived by her husband and sons, a granddaughter, a brother, Albert Francke of Millerton, N.Y., a granddaughter, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Peter Cammann lives in Williston, Vt.; Philip Cammann in Bridgehampton.

    A funeral service will be held at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church on Main Street in Bridgehampton at noon tomorrow.

    Donations in her memory to the Bridgehampton Historical Society, P.O. Box 977, Bridgehampton 11932, have been suggested.