Planting Fields Foundation Announces 2019 Coe Hall Exhibition


From Pursuit to Patronage: Industries and Ambitions that Influenced the Legacy of Mai Coe

Mai Coe, left, H.H. Rogers, top, Captain Peleg Gifford, bottom

This exhibition explores the determination of Mai Coe’s grandfather, Captain Peleg Gifford, in the unpredictable and perilous whaling world of the 1800s and her father, H.H. Rogers, whose ambitious pursuit of alternative oil followed the whaling industry decline. The resulting fortune of H.H. Rogers would afford him a life of leisure at sea with his yacht Kanawha. His career and fortune will also be contextualized as the influence that would eventually enable the Coe’s to purchase the Great Gold Coast estate, Planting Fields, transforming Mai into a progressive patroness of art, culture and design. The influence on the nautical iconography of Coe Hall will also be discussed.

The epic lives of Mai’s father and grandfather are brought to life through objects and visuals that highlight the whaling and oil industries. Designed to engage visitors to consider what life was like for Captain Peleg Gifford, H.H. Rogers and Mai Coe, guests will get
to know the family a little better through this exhibition. A clip from the 1922 film Down to the Sea in Ships, featuring authentic documentary-style footage of a whale hunt
will also be shown.

Open to the public May 16 through Sept. 30, daily, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., the exhibition is included with the $5 admission fee to Coe Hall. Throughout the season, the foundation will offer a series of related programming and events for adults and children.

Thursday, May 16

Opening Night and Preview Party

Celebrate the opening of our new exhibition. There will be live music by The John Lake Quartet all evening. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Tickets are free for members and $20 for nonmembers. From 6 to 8 p.m. Reservations are required.

Sunday, May 19

Children’s Workshop: Make Your Own Scrimshaw Candle

Scrimshaw is one of the oldest American folk arts and served as a pastime for sailors on long voyages. Children will make their own scrimshaw candle to take home. All supplies are provided, parent supervision required. Limited to 15 children per session. Begins at noon. Free for members and children under 12 and $5 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Also offered on Sunday, June 23 at noon and Sunday, Sept. 22 at noon.

Thursday, June 27

Workshop: Paint & Sip Night

Join us for an evening of fun and creativity at Coe Hall to celebrate our new exhibition! Enjoy wine, light snacks and create a nautical painting on wood in the beautiful Cloister Garden. Instructors from The Little Art Studio will lead the class. All supplies are included. From 7 to 9 p.m. and again on Thursday, July 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. Fee is $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers. Reservations are required.

Wednesday, Aug. 12

Spotlight Talk: Sweethearts at Sea: Love, Life, and Loss in the Age of Whaling

Join Amanda Goodheart Parks, PhD, for a fascinating discussion about whaling, inspired by our new exhibit. Parks has studied the history of whaling for more than a decade. With undergraduate degrees from Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, and a MA and PhD in history from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Parks has an extensive career working as a public historian, museum educator, and historical interpreter. She is currently working on a book about the history of love and marriage in New England whaling communities. Take a moment to view our exhibit and enjoy complimentary wine and cheese before the discussion. Tickets are $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers. From 7 to 9 p.m.

To purchase tickets or reserve your spot for these events, visit

Planting Fields Arboretum is located at 1395 Planting Fields Rd., Oyster Bay. To learn more about Planting Fields Foundation, visit

—Submitted by Planting Fields Foundation

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