Essex Heritage announced the 2014 Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program recipients at the Commission’s Spring Meeting. Over the next year, the 15 grant recipients will be working to implement a diverse range of educational, interpretive, and preservation projects throughout Boston’s North Shore.

“We recognize the importance of supporting local organizations during financially challenging times” said Annie Harris, Essex Heritage CEO, “and we are proud that we were able to increase the number of grants award this year – we know that this seed money greatly impacts the region by leveraging more investment in the Area.”

2014 Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program Recipients:        


Amesbury High School

In response to the age-old question, “When will we ever use this?,” Amesbury High School has formed an educational partnership with Lowell’s Boat Shop to offer “Math on the Merrimack.” After first learning to row a wooden dory built by the oldest continuously operating boat shop in America, students in this innovative class will conduct experiments using geometry, trigonometry and algebra to determine the Merrimack River’s velocity, depth, tidal variations, distances and rowing speeds. In doing so, these hands-on, place-based activities will further develop skills such as data gathering, variability analysis and teamwork.


General Israel Putnam Chapter of the DAR

On property formerly owned by one of Danvers most illustrious citizen – patriot, physician and judge Samuel Holten – sits an important First Period house as well as rare, surviving double privy. Built circa 1823, the wooden privy features two doors and seating for seven. This architectural gem is so remarkable that it was documented in 1935 by the Historic American Building Survey, with its measured drawings and photographs now housed in the Library of Congress. With time and talent provided by preservation carpentry students from the North Bennet Street School, the privy will be restored to its former glory.

Danvers Historical Society

As part of its 125th anniversary celebration, the Danvers Historical Society will enhance its popular 29-year old history education program which is offered annually to nearly 300 third graders in the public school system. Working with curriculum coordinators the society will add more hands-on activities and problem solving experiences that meet current social studies curriculum standards. Much of the implementation will be conducted in collaboration with an expanded array of local partner organizations. A community-wide, family-oriented educational event will also be held as part of the annual Danvers Family Festival held in June.    


Gloucester Adventure

Having undergone a major overhaul of its hull, decking and rigging, the Schooner Adventure, a National Historic Landmark, sailed last summer for the first time in over 20 years. An integral part of the ongoing restoration is the creation of a permanent exhibit honoring the men who sailed the 122-foot dory fishing schooner. With assistance from Endicott College’s School of Visual and Performing Arts, the project entails the design and installation of an archival photo exhibit in the ship’s hold where fish were stored on ice pending delivery to market. As part of the iconic vessel’s on-board learning center the exhibit will help increase awareness and understanding of the region’s nationally significant maritime heritage.


Ipswich Historical Commission

The Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich dates to 1634 and as one of the oldest cemeteries in the country provides an enduring record of the region’s earliest settlers and important historical figures. With Essex Heritage seed funding the town will embark on the multi-year restoration of the overall landscape, the first phase of which will be a survey of the burying ground’s 1,000+ headstones. The survey will provide an estimate of the total cost for repairs and reconstruction of the monuments, an important first step in the planning process.


Lynn Museum

The Lynn Museum will create Spanish and Russian translations of its permanent exhibits and promotional materials, thereby providing a growing segment of its visitor base with a meaningful experience and greater understanding of Lynn’s rich history. Consistent with its mission to foster connections between its collections and the Lynn community, the project will aid the museum in its quest to reach and engage the Spanish and Russian-speaking residents who now make up over 30% of the city’s population.

The Highlands Coalition

With the goal of inspiring community pride and changing perceptions, the project entails production of a film about the Highlands neighborhood of Lynn as seen through the eyes and experiences of its older and immigrant residents. Using as primary source material oral histories captured by Lynn youth ranging from eighth graders to North Shore Community College seniors, the film’s narrative will be enhanced by supporting images and music. The film will be distributed to local cable stations and community organizations as a means of stimulating additional dialogue between generations.


Marblehead Museum

Untrained yet passionate, more historian than an artist, J.O.J. Frost began painting at the age of 70 and used house paint, wall board and any available material to tell stories about daily life in a small New England fishing village. Through the renovation and reinterpretation of its Frost Gallery the Marblehead Museum will enhance access to this nationally important collection of folk art paintings. The charm and appeal of Frost’s work will be accentuated by improvements that include new exhibit designs, lighting, graphics, labels and interactive video monitors


Town of Merrimac

The Town of Merrimac will utilize Essex Heritage grant funding to nominate its town hall to the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Located in the heart of the classic 19th century industrial village, the high-style Victorian building was donated to the town in 1876 to commemorate its founding the same year. Considered a fundamental preservation activity, the National Register listing will provide due recognition of the building’s historical significance while making it eligible for scarce public preservation funding.


City of Newburyport

Envisioned as part of a comprehensive effort to build greater awareness of the city’s rich cultural history, the new city-wide mobile tour will help explorers experience approximately 50 locations situated outside of the city’s popular downtown. With mobile devices in-hand users will access free self-guided tours, downloadable maps and brochures and videos about sites on the year-old Clipper Heritage Trail. Essex Heritage grant funds will support research, image collection, writing, testing and implementation of the mobile tour.

North Andover

Friends of North Andover Trails

In addition to leading guided hikes and coordinating monthly work days on town trails, the all-volunteer friends group will produce a comprehensive guide to North Andover’s trails and open spaces. The full color guide will increase awareness and access to the town trail system by providing maps, photos, hiking itineraries as well as historical and ecological information for 15 North Andover properties, including the 200-mile Bay Circuit Trail which passes through the town.


Salem Sound Coastwatch

Through its School to Sea program, a Salem Sound Coastwatch educator will use place-based, experiential activities to help underserved youth increase their knowledge and appreciation of the natural resources of Salem Sound. During two weeks at Camp Naumkeag, the Salem YMCA’s waterfront summer day camp, campers will learn the history of the local area, explore marine habitats and engage with natural resources by tidepooling, visiting Misery Island, exploring salt marshes, learning about invasive species and snorkeling to observe the sound’s marine life.


Saugus Historical Commission

The Round Hill historic site, located 150 feet above the Saugus River and in close proximity to the Saugus Iron Works, is part of a highly significant Native American archeological cluster. As a central element of a comprehensive project to showcase the area’s extensive history, culture and natural resources, interpretative signage will complement other site improvements designed to communicate the compelling story of the community’s Native American ancestry to thousands of students, residents and visitors.


Merrimack Valley Planning Commission

With the goal of increasing public awareness of the Great Marsh’s ecological vulnerability, the Great Marsh Ecology Tour (GMET) will provide a greater understanding of the marsh’s history, its critically important environmental significance and the very real threats it faces. The GMET will consist of a series of signs bearing QR codes that will be placed in strategic locations throughout the Great Marsh and its many coastal habitats, providing real-time web access to short narratives and other resources covering topics such as marsh habitat, climate change, wildlife ecology and invasive species.

Towns of Wenham, Topsfield and Danvers    

Working in close collaboration, the three contiguous communities will develop and install an informational kiosk and signage along the recently completed segments of the regional Border to Boston Trail. Spread over approximately seven miles, the visual materials will enhance the public’s safety and provide historic and cultural background information on the railroad’s history and its association with surrounding sites. The materials will have consistent graphics and an interpretive style that can be replicated as the proposed 30-mile trail is further developed.

The Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program is a matching grant program created to foster and support the stewardship activities of municipalities and organizations that share its mission to preserve and enhance the historic, cultural and natural resources of the Essex National Heritage Area (Essex County). Impacting many in the region, the 16-year old program has invested more than $1.5 million in support of the region’s nationally significant heritage.