Honoring organizations in every New England state
Historic New England annually awards grants to one small to medium-sized heritage organization in each New England state to support projects that save and share their communities’ diverse heritage as part of telling the whole story of New England. In 2020, six Community Preservation Grants of $1,250 each were awarded.
To be notified when the 2021 application is available, join our email list and select “Community Preservation Grants.”
Read the program guidelines.
Herbert and Louise Whitney Fund for Community Preservation
The endowment fund that supports the Community Preservation Grants Program is named in honor of Herbert and Louise Whitney to recognize their deep appreciation and love of all things New England, in particular the Bishop family farm in North Woodstock, Connecticut.
Conservator Emily Phillips carrying out preliminary cleaning of the Lost Mural, in Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in August of 2020.
2020 Community Preservation Grant Winners
These organizations received $1,250 grants
Westport Museum for History and Culture
The grant supports cataloguing and creating a finding aid for the organization’s Adams Family Collection. The collection contains significant artifacts, photos, and ephemera related to 300 years of the town’s history, including resources on slavery in Fairfield County. In addition to cataloguing the Adams collection, a consulting archivist will create a resource guide for all slavery-related materials in the museum archives, using the Adams material as a starting point. The guide will be publicly accessible on Connecticut Collections through the state library for public access.
Phippsburg Historical Society
The grant supports creating interpretive banners and related public outreach tools to be installed outside the society’s building that is currently being converted into the Phippsburg Fishermen’s Museum. While interior renovations and exhibit development continue, the exterior banners will provide an outdoor exhibition and encourage interest in the stories of the area’s fishing community, which include the story of the mixed-race residents of Malaga Island who were forcibly removed from the island by the state in 1912.
Chinese Historical Society of New England
The grant supports the purchase of archival storage materials and a scanner to begin processing the society’s important collection that documents the history and legacy of Chinese immigration in New England. The society’s collection includes items such as language books, research papers, opera costumes, World War II uniforms, and watercolor and oil paintings, among other items.
Jefferson Historical Society
The grant supports the purchase of PastPerfect collections and contact management software to streamline the society’s acquisition and loan process, cataloguing, donation tracking, and membership program. The collection includes photographs, books, pamphlets, artifacts, and ephemera pertaining to town events and activities. The historical society also plans to inform the public about Jefferson’s Paleo Indian presence, which has been documented by New Hampshire State archaeological leaders and dates back 11,000 years.
Bristol Historical Society
The grant supports collections processing and creating a web presence for the society’s D’Wolf Collection. From 1790 to about 1820, the Bristol-based D’Wolf family brought approximately 12,000 enslaved Africans out of Africa, making them the most active slave-trading family in U.S. history. The web page will present an extensive finding aid of the D’Wolf materials, biographical materials on those involved in the illegal slave trade, genealogies of key slave-trading families, and a list of suggested readings.
Friends of the Lost Mural
The grant supports continuing efforts to clean, stabilize, and restore the original bright colors of a historic synagogue mural that was painted by Lithuanian immigrant artist Ben Zion Black in Burlington’s “Little Jerusalem” neighborhood in 1910. This conservation will allow visitors to the Lost Mural to appreciate not only the mural’s unusual existence in Burlington, but also the vibrancy of the culture that created it.
Past Community Preservation Grant Winners
2019 Community Preservation Grants
- Manchester Historical Society in Manchester, Connecticut, to digitize and make searchable by the public 387 rolls of microfilm from the South Manchester News and Manchester Evening Herald, 1882-1991.
- Center for Painted Wall Preservation in Hallowell, Maine, to support the April 2020 Conserving the Painted Past symposium on care and conservation of historic painted walls found across New England.
- Danvers Historical Society in Danvers, Massachusetts, for window restoration on the Derby Summer House, at Glen Magna estate, designed by Samuel McIntire, to return the structure to public use.
- Historical Society of Cheshire County in Keene, New Hampshire, for the installation of fifteen transparent ultra-violet light filtering window shades to protect collections at Wyman Tavern Museum.
- Borders Farm Preservation, Inc. in Foster, Rhode Island ,for a fireproof file cabinet to enable historical materials to be properly cared for and made available for public access at the historic working farm.
- Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, Vermont, to support consultant work by a retired long-time staff member to complete a furniture research report and to organize collection information for access and use.
2018 Community Preservation Grants
- Joshua’s Tract Conservation and Historic Trust in Mansfield, Connecticut, for repairs to c. 1750 stone Gurleyville Grist Mill following condition assessment completed for long term preservation.
- Frances Perkins Center in Damariscotta, Maine, for two timeline exhibition panels to chronical the accomplishments, challenges, and inspirational life of our first woman US cabinet member.
- Sudbury Historical Society in Sudbury, Massachusetts, for a professional archivist to plan rehousing of archival collections and purchase of proper storage equipment as part of move to new Sudbury History Center.
- Brentwood Historical Society in Brentwood, New Hampshire, to support the purchase of Past Perfect cataloguing program to create a first-time database of all artifacts, documents, journals, and materials to improve public access and use.
- Providence Preservation Society in Providence, Rhode Island, to digitize 2,000 slide images taken city-wide during the 1950s to 1970s to create an accessible resource for researching the historic buildings of Providence.
- Milton Historical Society in Milton, Vermont, to install 232 feet of board fencing to complete acquisition requirements for the General Stannard House, home of Civil War general who was a hero at Pickett’s Charge.
2017 Community Preservation Grants
- James Merrill House in Stonington, Connecticut, to inventory, catalogue, and make accessible collections of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, located in his former home, which was named a National Historic Landmark in 2016 and is used for a writers’ residence program.
- Museum L-A in Lewiston, Maine, to purchase flat file storage to protect collections of Bates Mills bedspread design original artwork, and make the designs more accessible for income-producing art projects that help support the museum.
- Longmeadow Historical Society in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, to renovate an exhibition room at Storrs House Museum to feature the 1890-1920 story of the town, including images selected from 1,500 glass plate negatives taken by local photographer Paesiello Emerson.
- Sandy Island Archives in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire,to engage the Northeast Document Conservation Center to conserve and digitize two Olmsted Brothers 1938 landscape plans for Sandy Island Camp, located on a Lake Winnipesaukee island and the oldest continuous YMCA camp in the USA.
- South County History Center in Kingston, Rhode Island,to expand archival storage to accommodate a threatened 35,000-image collection of photos taken locally by Narragansett Tribe member Kenneth T. Mars from the 1960s to 2011.
- Essex Community Historical Society in Essex, Vermont, toward restoration of the National Register-listed Fort Ethan Allen Water Tower, built 1893, enabling the historical society to resume interpretation and public visits and bring renewed attention to the landmark.
2016 Community Preservation Grants
- Windham Textile and History Museum in Willimantic, Connecticut, to digitize 425 of the museum’s most important oversize textile machinery drawings for online access.
- Sagadahoc Preservation, Inc., in Bath, Maine, to help fund historic paint finish documentation for Winter Street Church restoration.
- Fitchburg Historical Society in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, to support a master plan for renovation of the Phoenix Building in a downtown revitalization area.
- Warner House Association in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to support a textile care workshop for small museums held at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord.
- Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island, for an oral history video project with ninety-five-year-old Chief Strong Horse, an elder of the Narragansett Tribe.
- Root District Game Club in Norwich, Vermont, toward matching a grant for foundation repair for a 1937 one-room Root Schoolhouse.
2015 Community Preservation Grants
- Friends of Samuel Smith House & Property, Inc., in Niantic, Connecticut, to replace eight rotting gutters that had to be removed and clapboards on the seventeenth-century Samuel Smith House, acquired for preservation in 2013.
- Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, Maine, toward transfer of the Harrie B. Coe collection of films (fifteen reels) to digital files. These films are promotional footage of Maine, centered on Maine life and recreation from the early twentieth century.
- Tales of Cape Cod in Barnstable, Massachusetts, toward an architectural and archaeological survey of the Olde Colonial Courthouse in Barnstable, to document the building, increase public appreciation, and plan future preservation activities.
- New Ipswich Historical Society in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, for installation of a bronze sign marking the New Ipswich Center Village National Register Historic District, to increase visibility and knowledge of the historic village.
- Living History, Inc., in Providence, Rhode Island, to support Iron Man, an archaeological field school for low-income urban high school students, based at the Nathanael Greene Homestead in Coventry, Rhode Island.
- Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, Vermont, for a professional survey of Abenaki Native American artifacts throughout the museum collection, leading to improved cataloguing, exhibition, and interpretation.
2014 Community Preservation Grants
- Greater New Haven Labor History Association in New Haven, Connecticut,to produce eight additional panels for the traveling exhibition, Our Community at Winchester: An Elm City Story. The exhibition presents worker oral histories about the presence of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in the city from 1878 to 2006.
- Presque Isle Historical Society in Presque Isle, Maine, to conduct research and produce an exhibition on the role of one-room schoolhouses and those who taught in them in Presque Isle, the largest city in the geographically remote Aroostook County, the northernmost county in Maine.
- Rocks Village Memorial Association in Haverhill, Massachusetts, toward restoration of the Rocks Village Hand Tub House, built in 1840 as a fire station. It served as a meeting house for firemen and residents in addition to protecting the Rocks Bridge, which still operates as a hand-cranked swing bridge.
- Star Island Corporation in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to digitize for preservation and access through Vaughn Cottage museum and archives currently inaccessible films from the 1930s to ’60s. The films record aspects of island life including the presence of poet Celia Thaxter.
- Westerly Armory Restoration in Westerly, Rhode Island, for research and exhibition of a Civil War collection that includes recently offered artifacts representing the career of Rhode Island Major General A. Hun Berry.
- Vermont Historical Society in Barre, Vermont, to present a Care and Handling of Textiles workshop in spring 2015 for Vermont historical organizations and an accompanying lecture for the general public. This project meets a need identified through the work of the League of Local Historical Societies and Museums.
2013 Community Preservation Grants
- New London County Historical Society in New London, Connecticut, in honor of the visit of the historic whaling ship Charles W. Morgan. The New London County Historical Society will restore an 1846 painting by John Ewen, Jr., that depicts “signals” or “house flags” that identified ships and the New London whaling firms that owned them.
- Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore, Maine, will make 872 photographs in the Washburn Family Archives more accessible to the public by digitizing them, creating a database with images, and creating an online exhibit about the family.
- Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club and Loring-Greenough House in Boston, Massachusetts, will have a conservator survey the textile collection to determine environmental and storage conditions and articulate goals to achieve better storage and access for the volunteers and the public.
- Portsmouth Athenaeum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, will, through the North End Project, collect and scan family photographs and stories to digitally preserve Portsmouth’s ethnically diverse North End, a twenty-six-acre site re-developed during the 1960s as part of an urban renewal program.
- Pettaquamscutt Historical Society in Kingston, Rhode Island, will interpret the 1792/1858 Old Washington County Jail museum and the historic Kingston Village landscape that surrounds it through the use of light-filtering scrim shades graphically printed with interpretive text and images.
- The Preservation Trust of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, is working to preserve more than five hundred boxes of rescued historic records from the Vermont Marble Company archives, to become resources for the Vermont Marble Museum.
2012 Community Preservation Grants
- The Mattatuck Museum Arts & History Center in Waterbury, Connecticut, to clean paintings to be included in an upcoming exhibition, Art for Everyone: The WPA in Connecticut, that highlights paintings, murals, and sculptures that were given to public institutions throughout the state through the Depression-era Works Progress Administration artists project.
- The Kennebec Historical Society in Augusta, Maine, to further pay down the mortgage on the Henry Weld Fuller House. Established in 1891, KHS uses the Greek Revival residence located in a National Register Historic District as its headquarters, and recently raised funds to pay off the major portion of the debt on the historic property.
- The Westport Historical Society in Westport, Massachusetts, to support Phase II of archaeological testing for the protection of historic resources at the Cadman-White-Handy House, which was built c. 1715 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
- The Exeter Theater Company in Exeter, New Hampshire, to support the renovation of the historic Ioka Theater as a community cultural center presenting programs that create excitement, pride, and support in Exeter and the greater New Hampshire Seacoast.
- Friends of Hearthside, Inc., in Lincoln, Rhode Island, to support the installation of a new exhibition about the Talbot looms, some of the original looms used to create some of the country’s finest fabrics at Hearthside 100 years ago.
- Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home in Manchester, Vermont, to document the concluding exhibition The American Ideal for continued educational use where students learn how the Civil War and President Lincoln brought meaning to the promise of the American ideal of equality, justice, and opportunity for all.
2011 Community Preservation Grants
- The Mattatuck Museum Arts & History Center in Waterbury, Connecticut, to support the conservation of James H. Beard’s painting “Cattle on Elton Farm,” which depicts a local scene.
- Wilson Museum in Castine, Maine, to purchase a scanner and archival sleeves to ensure the preservation of and increase accessibility to a rich collection of archival material of the history of Castine and the founders of the museum.
- Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford, Massachusetts, to support the restoration of an important folk art statue and lawn roller for display in the permanent exhibition Learning from the Landscape.
- Historical Society of Cheshire County in Keene, New Hampshire, to support reorganization and improvements to artifact storage to ensure preservation of the collection and allow easier access for research and educational purposes.
- Friends of Hearthside, Inc., in Lincoln, Rhode Island, to preserve an important collection of early twentieth-century hand-colored photographs by digitizing the collection and allowing broader public use in publications, exhibitions, and websites.
- Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home in Manchester, Vermont, to purchase archival shelving and cabinets to ensure the continued preservation and accessibility of Lincoln family papers and objects in the collection.