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Six community preservation grants awarded

Nov 4, 2020

Each year, Historic New England awards one Herbert and Louise Whitney Fund Community Preservation Grant to a small to medium-size heritage preservation organization in each New England state.

Conservator Emily Phillips carrying out preliminary cleaning of the Lost Mural, in Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in August of 2020.
Conservator Emily Phillips carries out preliminary cleaning of the Lost Mural in Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington, Vermont, August 2020. Courtesy of Friends of the Lost Mural.

The grants support projects that save and share their communities’ diverse heritage as part of telling the whole story of New England. This year, Historic New England awarded grants of $1,250 to the following six organizations.

Connecticut
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.

Maine
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.

Massachusetts
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.

Untitled painting by local artist Mong Q. Lee. Courtesy of the Chinese Historical Society of New England.

New Hampshire
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.

Rhode Island
Bristol Historical & Preservation 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.

Vermont
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.

See a list of previous recipients.

Herbert and Louise Whitney Fund for Community Preservation

The endowment fund that supports Historic New England’s 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.