Maine Historical Society (MHS) has been awarded a $300,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the installation of a solar energy system to provide sustainable preservation in a facility housing the rich collections of the Maine Historical Society and the Portland Public Library (PPL). Solar panels on the roof of the building will generate enough electricity to cover the needs of climate-control – an energy-intensive necessity for the long-term preservation of art, artifacts, manuscripts and other materials – as well generate sufficient electricity to subsidize electricity usage at MHS and PPL’s Congress Street campuses.
The grant, specifically designed to help museums and libraries operate more sustainably, is part of $36.6 million given out by NEH to support 212 humanities projects administered by institutions and independent scholars across 42 states; MHS is one of just three Maine organizations awarded funding.
“NEH gives out very few of these grants,” said Steve Bromage, Executive Director of MHS. “We are honored that they recognize the significance of Maine Historical Society’s efforts to incorporate environmental sustainability into how it cares for the collections that document the history of our state.”
In 2014, MHS formed a partnership with PPL to jointly purchase a 35,500 square foot former warehouse at 1000 Riverside Street in Portland and develop it into a state-of-the-art collections management facility. In addition to providing much-needed storage for MHS’s growing collections, the facility allows for the freeing of nearly 18,000 square feet of space at the MHS campus on Congress Street, and increases the organization’s ability to engage and serve the people of Portland and communities throughout Maine with expanded programs, services and outreach.
“I’m thrilled that this federal investment will help one of Maine’s oldest institutions enlist the latest green technology to preserve important pieces of Maine’s history,” said Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, which oversees NEH funding. “I applaud Maine Historical Society and the Portland Public Library for joining forces to make this possible. In receiving funding through a very competitive program like this, their collaboration is a great example of what multiple organizations can achieve by working together.”
Visit NEH online for more information about the grant awards.