A Trio of Grants

A Trio of  Grants Upgrades the
Kent Historical Society’s Archives and Art Storage

The Kent Historical Society recently completed a renovation project that more than doubles the storage available for its art collection and its archives. According to KHS President Mike Everett, “The upgraded Art and Archives Area provides excellent storage space on the society’s property. It will also prevent deterioration and damage to the artwork as well as make far better use of our whole campus. We’re grateful to the three organizations who gave us grants for this project: Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.”

Like many nonprofits, the Kent Historical Society puzzles over finding more space. The need had become acute since they discovered that the second floor of Seven Hearths, where they had been storing the artwork of George Laurence Nelson, was a Colonial-era fur trading operation. That meant we needed to move the paintings…. But where?

A timely visit from Richard L. Kerschner, Conservation Consultant on Museum Environments, suggested a way forward. Kerschner pointed out that the largely unused space in the Tallman House basement was in fact dry, tight, and structurally just fine for art and archival storage.

This opened up some possibilities. The Society realized that they could move George Laurence Nelson’s paintings there, and have a better environment for the works on paper, which had been suffering at Seven Hearths. With the proper outfitting,the same space in Tallman’s basement could also house the Society’s archives, which would free up space on the first floor of Tallman.

To address these issues, the KHS applied for three grants aimed at renovating the Tallman lower floor for storage of paintings and archives. The grants were carefully structured to cover different phases of this renovation.

The Society was awarded $4,000 from the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation from the Edwin M. Stone and Edith H. Stone Fund, aimed at the basic reconditioning of the basement — removing an unnecessary oil tank and a furnace, and preparing the walls and floor.

The Daughters of the American Revolution supplied $5,000 for Historic Preservation. Once the KHS explained the relation of the Tallman basement renovation to the fur trading post, they agreed to support us, too. The DAR money covered additional outfitting to make the space suitable for archival work.

More ambitiously, we applied for $17,394 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to custom-build a storage module for the paintings and artwork. The IMLS grant is the Society’s first federal grant ever we’ve ever received. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant to KHS was one of 206 museum projects awarded that totaled $21 million. The museums were selected from a pool of 548 applications to the highly competitive Museums for America grant program.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries (link is external) and 35,000 museums. Their mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, their grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow the IMLS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

KentPresents awards grant for second year

KentPresents awards grant for second year

The Kent Historical Society is extremely grateful to be a recipient of a grant from the KentPresents/KentProvides Committee this year.

Ken Cooper of the committee announced the award of an unrestricted grant of $1,000, noting that the Historical Society clearly fulfilled the mission sought for grant recipients of service in the life of the community.

“We are proud to include you among this year’s group of grant recipients. Congratulations to you for the work you do to make our community a better place for all to live,” Mr. Cooper wrote.

The Historical Society was one of 29 organizations in Litchfield County that were presented with grant funds that totaled $100,000. KentPresents is an ideas festival started by Ben and Donna Rosen in 2015. The second annual KentPresents was held at the Kent School in August and brought together 87 leaders in a variety of fields for cultural and intellectual discussions. Among the presenters were Nobel Prize laureates; Tony, Peabody and Emmy winners; Pulitzer Prize winners; and distinguished speakers from art, economics, education, energy, environment, food, global affairs, health care, humanities, national issues, performing arts, science, technology and many others. Over 300 guests attended from across the United States.

“We are very pleased that in our second year KentPresents has been able to continue to make meaningful grants to so many organizations,” said Donna and Ben Rosen of Kent, founders and guiding spirits of KentPresents. In the years to come we hope to continue to support needs-based groups that help people in our communities to thrive.”

George Laurence Nelson Scholarship


In honor of noted American artist George Laurence Nelson, one of the founders of the Kent Art Association, the Kent Historical Society is offering a very special scholarship of $1,000 to any graduating high school senior intending to further their education in studio art or art history.

The George Laurence Nelson Art Scholarship will be awarded to a graduating senior or college student, who is a graduate of Kent Center School or whose family resides in one of the towns of Region 1 (Canaan, Cornwall, Falls Village, Kent, Salisbury and Sharon). The application must be received by the Society by May 1, 2015.

Applications have been supplied to the guidance offices of most high schools in the immediate area.  Please click GLN Scholarship 2015 for the application.

The Kent Historical Society is located at Seven Hearths, which was the home of George Laurence Nelson and has a permanent display of his original art works. This home, at 4 Studio Hill Road, is a reminder that Kent has a rich and diversified historical past. In supporting young artistic talent we hope to keep this tradition ongoing.

For further information or to request an application for the George Laurence Nelson scholarship contact: e-mail: scholarship@kenthistoricalsociety.org

Tel: 860-927-4587
Kent Historical Society, PO Box 651, Kent, CT, 06757
Please reference: Art Scholarship