Three grants awarded to support art and archives preservation area

Three grants awarded to support art and archives preservation area

The Kent Historical Society reported last fall that it was working to plan for the future collections and storage needs and we are fortunate that we’ve had three different granting institutions support our efforts. We will have over $26,000 in grants to assist in our efforts to create the Art and Archives Storage Area in Tallman House and provide climate-controlled storage for the extension art collection of George Laurence Nelson’s artwork, as well as the Society’s archives collection.

The Society has been awarded $4,000 from the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation from the Edwin M. Stone and Edith H. Stone Fund, $5,000 for Historic Preservation from the national Daughters of the American Revolution, and $17,394 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The IMLS grant is the Society’s first federal grant ever received.

The Nelson art was previously stored in the Seven Hearths Museum. Seven Hearths is not climate controlled, and although the oil paintings have tolerated the far less than ideal conditions fairly well, the works on paper have not. The renovation will include building storage bins of inert material that will safely house the wide variety of paintings that the Society owns, including oil, watercolors as well as lithographs. There will also be a dehumidifier installed.

Our grant applications were supported by a report from Richard L. Kerschner, Conservation Consultant on Museum Environments, who aided the Society’s plan to renovate the lowest level of Tallman House for collections storage. After thoroughly inspecting both Seven Hearths and Tallman House in October 2015, Kerschner quickly came to the conclusion that the tight, dry basement in Tallman offered the best place, for both structural and financial reasons.

The archives are also being moved from the main floor of Tallman to the new space downstairs to satisfy other strategic planning goals and protect the paper documents.

Moving the art collection will allow the Society to proceed with the evolving interpretation of the fur trading area in Seven Hearths. This area was previously used for storing the Nelson artwork.

The environmentally upgraded Art and Archives Area will provide the safest storage space possible on the society’s property. This move will help prevent further deterioration and damage to the artwork as well as increase the Society’s storage space.

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.