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Newport, RI — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced on July 29, $30 million in grants for 238 humanities projects across the United States in several categories. NRF’s Whitehorne House Museum received a Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections Grant, the only such award in the state of Rhode Island. The $50,000 planning grant supports organizations like NRF as they assess their needs and direct efforts in “preventative conservation measures to prolong the useful life of collections [and] to help cultural institutions preserve large and diverse holdings of humanities materials for future generations.”
The planning grant will be used to research and develop a plan that will serve as a road map to improve the climate control and collections storage systems at Whitehorne House Museum. Located at 416 Thames Street in Newport, it is the only museum in the world specializing in 18th-century Newport furniture and related decorative arts. The current challenges facing the museum building, a Federal era mansion near the Newport harbor, and its collections are numerous, including fluctuations in its temperature and relative humidity, degradation of the building envelope, and storage issues. With this grant, NRF can work with an integrated team of outside consultants to create a planning document that will offer clear and implementable suggestions about the best systems for addressing the museum’s current challenges.
“All of us at NRF are deeply appreciative of this award, which I think is a recognition of the historic significance of our 18th-Century furniture collections and the Whitehorne House itself,” said Dr. Erik Greenberg, NRF’s Director of Museums, who served as the primary author of the grant application.
A completed plan will serve as a blueprint for all subsequent operations at and fundraising for the Whitehorne House Museum. Once completed, the project team will undertake a comprehensive review of the plan and determine what projects, based on recommendations and priorities, NRF can undertake on its own, and what projects will need outside financial support. The project is planned to begin in 2021.
For more information about Whitehorne House Museum, visit www.newportrestoration.org/whitehornehouse
About the Newport Restoration Foundation
The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is a non-profit organization established by philanthropist Doris Duke in 1968 to preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of 18th and 19th century Newport. NRF promotes economic and community restoration through historic preservation initiatives like Keeping History Above Water, which addresses the impact of sea-level rise on the built environment in the wake of climate change, and the Historic Trades Initiative, which harnesses the knowledge of local specialists to train the next generation of preservation craftspeople. In addition to a collection of more than 70 colonial houses, now rented to tenant stewards, NRF operates properties that are open to the public —including Rough Point, the Newport home of Doris Duke, and The Vernon House, a site of expansive storytelling, contemporary dialogue, and preservation trades skill-building.
NRF is on Facebook /NPTRestoration and Instagram @NPTRestoration. Visit newportrestoration.org for more information.