The Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage), in keeping with its long tradition of supporting the region’s unique cultural heritage, announced the 2023 Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program recipients at the Commission’s spring meeting in Amesbury on April 27th. Over the next year, the 12 grant recipients will be working to implement a diverse range of educational, interpretive, inclusionary, and preservation projects throughout Boston’s North Shore and the Merrimack Valley.
We recognize the importance of supporting local organizations and we are proud that we are able to award twelve partnership grants again this year. Over the life of the program we have provided grants to every community in Essex County – and we know that this seed money greatly impacts the region by leveraging more investments in the Essex National Heritage Area.
2022 Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Recipients:
Lowell’s Boat Shop and Museum:
Lowell’s Boat Shop, the oldest continually operating boat shop in the country, will give members of the community – adults, families, youth – the opportunity to participate in the building of a Lowell’s dory from start to finish. The intent of this project is to introduce folks in the greater community to the boatbuilding industry that existed along the Merrimack River and offer the chance to engage in hands-on experiential learning through the construction of a traditional wooden dory.
Andover Center for History and Culture:
Andover Center for History and Culture will begin the second phase of a project to create an easy to navigate, accessible online database of free, enslaved, and people of color in Andover 1646 to 1850. The database will allow researchers to search by name and keywords. Keywords will allow people researching a topic to find people related to that topic. Once in an individual’s record, the researcher will find information organized in an easily readable formatwith a narrative, when possible.
Danvers Alarm List Company - Rebecca Nurse Homestead:
The Danvers Alarm List Company will create a new visitor experience which will bring the story of the Salem Witch Trials to life. Utilizing their unique replica of the 1672 Salem Village Meetinghouse as the setting for a new immersive soundscape recreating the events of the 1692 Witch Trials, Danvers Alarm List Company hopes that the interactive program will bring Rebecca’s emotional story to life as never before.
Danvers Historical Society - Glen Magna:
Danvers Historical Society will undertake the restoration of the glass windows in the Conservatory of the c.1754 Page House. In the 19th Century, Anne L. Page repurposed the room for the instruction of children in one of the earliest kindergartens in the Commonwealth. Anne, an educator and advocate for women’s rights, established her home-based school and used the Conservatory to teach science, in particular botany.
Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum:
Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum will create interpretive signage surrounding the Museum’s Shipyard. Set upon an acre of land and dating back to 1668, the Shipyard, the Municipal Shipyard, the Essex River Basin, and many other historic and significant elements of the location will benefit greatly from the inclusion of this signage.
Cape Ann Museum:
Cape Ann Museum will undertake “Vessels of Slavery,” a collaboration between five women of color with diverse artistic practices and expertise. They will come together in a week-long residency at the Cape Ann Museum and the Manship Artists Retreat & Studios to bring collective light to the stories of enslaved people in Gloucester.
City of Haverhill Community Development Department and Historic Highlands Group:
The City of Haverhill will digitize and expand its current historic housing inventory for the Highlands Neighborhood, in preparation for its application to become a Local Historic District. This will enable Haverhill to work with a research consultant to help finalize the application before moving on to the next steps in the designation process. The neighborhood is home to much history, including the location of Alexander Graham Bell’s first phone call from a residence, the oldest African American Church in Haverhill, and a surviving stop on the Underground Railroad.
Marblehead Museum and Historical Society, Inc.:
Marblehead Museum and Historical Society will preserve and restore the windows of its newly-acquired 1768 Brick Kitchen & Slave Quarters of the Jeremiah Lee Estate. The brick building, constructed contemporaneously with the Mansion and serving as the hub of enslaved labor within the Lee household, is in need of significant structural remediation, repair, and preservation. This work will be based on a Historic Structures Report prepared by an architectural historian.
Custom House Maritime Museum:
The Custom House Maritime Museum will preserve and restore the portico of its 1835 building. As part of the project, the Custom House Maritime Museum will assess and replace wooden substructure of the front portico, rejoint all masonry seams, re-caulk flashing at building and front windows where the portico joins, and assess and replace all mechanical and electrical services, such as overhead and safety lighting.
Peabody Historical Society and Museum:
The Peabody Historical Society and Museum will undertake extensive restoration work on the exterior woodwork and facade of the 1852 Osborn-Salata House. The house represents what many consider to be the best of Peabody’s history - early artisan crafts, industry, immigration and the lived experiences of Peabody’s community. Today, the Osborn-Salata House has many functions, housing the curatorial offices, one floor of exhibition space and two floors of collections storage.
North Shore Community Development Coalition, Inc.:
The North Shore Community Development Coalition will install 7 large size Las Muñecas Sin Rostro (Faceless Doll) sculptures in Palmer Cove Park in Salem. Over the years, Las Muñecas Sin Rostro has evolved to represent the multicultural aspects of Dominican heritage: African, European, and Indigenous. Las Muñecas Sin Rostro lacks facial features, providing a connection with the spectator allowing the doll to celebrate womanhood, from any place, culture, or time in history.
Massachusetts Audubon Society:
The Massachusetts Audubon Society will make critical improvements to the historic garden at Endicott Wildlife Sanctuary in Wenham. The aim of the project is to restore the garden, also a certified Monarch Waystation, to its original glory, making it safer for visitors and providing opportunities for all ages to learn about and connect with nature. The restoration efforts will undertake the necessary improvements and repairs to the garden to make it safe, attractive and functional for children, educators, and visitors of all kinds.
About Essex Heritage and the Essex National Heritage Area
Essex Heritage is the non-profit organization that manages the Essex National Heritage Area by developing programs that enhance, preserve, and encourage recreation, education, conservation and interpretation projects on Boston’s North Shore and the Lower Merrimack River Valley. The Essex National Heritage Area comprises the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, MA. For more information, visit www.EssexHeritage.org or call (978) 740-0444.
About the Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program
The Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program is a matching grant program created to foster and support the stewardship activities of municipalities and organizations that share Essex Heritage’s mission to preserve and enhance the historic, cultural and natural resources of the Essex National Heritage Area (Essex County). Impacting many in the region, the program has invested more than $1.6 million in support of the region’s nationally significant heritage.
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