Do You Have Civil War Artifacts?

A state grant program seeks to preserve them.

BOSTONRepresentative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg) announces the availability of matching funds for the preservation of historic objects, sites, and document collections that are significant to the history of the Civil War. The Massachusetts Sesquicentennial Commission of the Civil War is accepting applications until April 1, 2014.

Representative Benson stated, “It is wonderful to see Massachusetts investing in protecting our history of the Civil War.   It is important to preserve Civil War monuments, memorials, markers and documents, not only for their historic value, but also to remind us every day of the sacrifices, heroism, and selflessness of those who fight to protect our Union, past and present.  Municipalities that have preservation projects relevant to the Civil war should take advantage of this funding opportunity.”

The program, a partnership of the Sesquicentennial Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, is now in its second cycle.  Earlier this year, the Commission awarded over $91,000 in matching funds to 24 projects across the Commonwealth. 

"The preservation aspect of this program is just one more example of how Massachusetts is preserving the past for future generations,” said Robert von Wolfgang, Commission Chair.  “It also clearly serves as a reminder that the Civil War is a lot closer in time than most people think."

Sean Garballey, state representative from Arlington and West Medford, and appointee to the Commission, commented, “I am proud to play a small part in helping preserve historic Civil War objects, sites, and document collections. Many municipalities have veterans’ memorials and documents which have dilapidated from exposure to the elements.  These grants are a wonderful incentive for communities to take concrete steps to once again honor their residents’ roles in the Civil War.”

The program is open to Massachusetts municipalities and non-profit organizations and provides state matching funds of up to 50 percent of a project’s total cost, but not exceeding $7,500.  Eligible projects may include the renovation, rehabilitation, restoration, or enhancement of existing monuments or memorials relevant to the Civil War and Civil War veterans.  Proposals to construct new markers for historically significant sites will also be considered.  Also, eligibility was recently expanded to include preservation or digitization of historic documents. This will encompass local libraries and towns which may own or seek to acquire documents relevant to the Civil War such as archived records, or letters which may require restoration or digital archiving.

The rolling application period began January 1, 2014 and ends on April 1, 2014. Application materials may be found on the Sesquicentennial Commission’s website: www.MA150.org/civil-war-preservation-grants

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