NORTH SALEM, N.Y. Residents who want to be tourists in their own town should visit the Hammond Museum on the estate of Natalie Hays Hammond.
Hammond, the daughter of millionaire John Jays Hammond, was a Broadway set designer, artist and author. She built the museum next to her home before her death in 1985.
"The most interesting thing about Ms. Hammond is how many fields she delved into," said Museum Director Lorraine Laken. "And she was very capable in all of them."
Hammond was engaged seven times but never married, said Laken.
Some of Hammond's paintings and drawings are currently on exhibit in the museums Hays Gallery. They are on loan from the Childs Gallery in Boston. Several of her needlepoint works are also displayed.
"She designed her own," explained Laken. "She was very interested in patterns. In fact, one of the books she wrote was called 'Anthology of Pattern.'"
In the adjacent Goelet Gallery, there is a collection of artifacts, some that she acquired herself and others that she received as gifts from all over the world.
The visiting exhibit in the Guild Hall right now is "The Heart of the Artist." These are works by the New York Society of Women Artists, done in various media. As a collection, they express the cornucopia of emotional and spiritual feelings we associate with "the heart."
Tour buses often wind their way up Deveau Road to the museum.
"They come from as far away as Canada and Georgia," Laken said. "In fact, we get about 8,000 visitors a year."
However, Laken said the museum is still a secret to many local residents.
"I'm told a lot of people don't know we exist, she said.
The Hammond Museum at 28 Deveau Road, North Salem, is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. It will close for the season in late November and re-open in the spring.
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