In keeping with our long tradition of supporting the region’s unique cultural heritage, we announced the 2018 Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program recipients at our spring meeting in Saugus on April 5. Over the next year, the 12 grant recipients will be working to implement a diverse range of educational, interpretive, and preservation projects throughout Boston’s North Shore and the Merrimack Valley.

“We recognize the importance of supporting local organizations and we are proud that we are able to award twelve partnership grants again this year” said Annie Harris, Essex Heritage CEO, “Over the 20-year life of the program we have provided grants to every community in Essex County – and we know that this seed money greatly impacts the region by leveraging more investments in the Essex National Heritage Area.”

2018 Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Recipients:


Lowell’s Boat Shop

Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury, will be carrying out urgent and emergency projects including the structural repair, stabilization, and shoring of facility footings and foundation piers, which are being eroded and causing the building to sag. Funding from the Essex Heritage grant program will enable Lowell’s Boat Shop to construct a proper footing that would mitigate erosion and allow them to slowly return the structure back to level and set it on a foundation pier that will be permanently stable.


Andover Historical Society

Based on a successful 2017 pilot program intended to augment a lack of local history in the school curriculum until 3rd grade or even high school, Andover Historical Society will be offering “Discovering my Neighborhood,” in which students will examine objects, photographs, and maps that tell the story of their neighborhood and the town. Students will be able to consider how Andover has changed, how it stayed the same, and how it might change in the future. The program will be tailored to each neighborhood, the historical development of Andover being reflected in its five school districts.


Bread and Roses Heritage Committee, Inc.

Taking place September 3rd in the historic Campagnone Common, Partnership Grant funding will be used to make possible The Bread and Roses Labor Day Heritage Festival, a unique event commemorating the Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912, now known world-wide as the Bread and Roses Strike. The free, family-oriented event that hosts the city’s many community organizations, educational workshops, and discussions on historical and contemporary issues aims to bridge the relationship between the immigrants of the past and present by revealing common struggle through music, theater, dance, food, art, historical tours, presentations, and family activities. Historical interpretation occurs through  guided trolley tours, walking tours, at talks and discussions at the Lawrence History Live! tent, and by exhibitors in our History and Labor area.


Marblehead Museum

With the goal of maintaining and protecting the 1768 Jeremiah Lee Mansion, the Marblehead Museum will be working to continue re-stabilizing the 20 front windows of the building using a durable putty to seal the glass to the frames and secure all framing members, effectively protecting the mansion and sealing out the elements. The two-to-four week long project will be carried out this summer, proactively preventing the glass from coming loose from the frames, and moisture being allowed to continue damaging the internal plaster and floors.


Middleton Stream Team

The Middleton Stream Team with utilize their Essex Heritage grant in order to construct an unpaved walking path in the Henry Tragert Town Common, along which they will place unobtrusive interpretive signage displaying short narratives on the natural and historical significance of the area.


Historical Society of Old Newbury

The Historical Society of Old Newbury will use their partnership grant to update their current museum, which was last updated in 1995 and was victim to unfortunate water damage. Partnering with five local schools to offer new programming, the museum will be turning its focus to its collections and exhibits relating to the American Revolution and Civil War to provide deeper interpretation of these two major conflicts that figure prominently in local history. The update will also ensure that these events are well-represented by the museum’s collections, and align with the curricular interests of local school groups by paying special attention to the events effects on a local level.

Theater in the Open

Theater in the Open will utilize an Essex Heritage grant to engage a qualified contractor to repair the roof and help to replace the exterior shingles of the Maudslay Gatekeeper’s House garage and garden, designed by William Gibbons Rantoul and built in 1903. The garage and garden are both highly visible from the road, making a big impact on the appearance of the Gatekeeper’s House to all visitors to Maudslay State Park. This spring, visitors will also see a completely restored entrance porch to the main house and significant improvement to the grounds.


Peabody Historical Society and Museum

Partnering with the City of Peabody and the Peabody Historical Commission in their efforts to improve Crystal Lake Park, the Peabody Historical Society will be implementing the “Witch Trials Legacy Trail of Peabody” by developing and providing three new interpretive displays clarifying witch trial history as it relates to Peabody as well as removing and re-placing two signs already at Crystal Lake Park to compliment the new design. In addition to the improved signage, the Peabody Historical Society will be developing an interactive audio tour, information for which will be displayed on the new signage


Thacher Island Association

Thacher Island Association will replace the original c. 1850, 220-foot granite and wooden timber walkway to provide safe and easy access for the public to visit the lighthouse. This walkway has been there since 1854 but was destroyed sometime in the 1930’s. Besides its usefulness it has also been an iconic signature of the island’s profile for over 80 years. The walkway provided access from the keepers house to the lighthouse, and the rebuilt walkway will serve the same function for visitors to the lighthouse once the island is reopened to the public next year.


Hamilton Hall

Arriving in Salem from Curacao in 1798, John Redmond took up living quarters in an apartment at Hamilton Hall, serving as its caretaker upon its completion in 1805. Working as a barber, caterer, and restauranteur, Redmond became the preferred caterer and provisioner for all social events at the Hall, and over time he came to be known as “principal restauranteur” in Salem, and his family went on to be active in the early abolitionist movement. Hamilton Hall will use their partnership grant to develop inclusive narrative content about John Redmond’s life and the role that he played in Salem and Hamilton Hall’s early history, complemented by visual interpretive aids to broaden their reach to better reflect the culture and population of Salem.


Topsfield Historical Society

Originally built in 1683 and largely unaltered, the wood frame edifice of the Parson Joseph Capen House is a well-known icon arguably ranking among the most architecturally significant structures in the Essex National Heritage Area and is considered by many authorities to be one the finest extant examples of Colonial Era architecture anywhere. The Topsfield Historical Society will use their Essex Heritage grant to replace deteriorating clapboarding of various materials – including oak, pine and cedar – and prevent damage to and decay of the structure caused by allowing moisture to penetrate the frame.


Wenham Historical Association and Museum

Using their partnership grant from Essex Heritage, the Wenham Museum will create an interactive exhibit devoted to Col. Timothy Pickering’s life in Wenham, his impact on agriculture, and his role in founding the Essex Agricultural Society, as well as improving the museum’s Pickering Library. As the Topsfield Fair marks its 200th anniversary, the Town of Wenham also celebrates its 375th anniversary and the Wenham Museum its 95th anniversary. To highlight an important and often overlooked facet of local history, the museum seeks to install this exhibition on Col. Timothy Pickering, whose legacy is common to all of these entities, this year. In the exhibit, visitors will see historic Pickering Family textiles, such as a crest and wedding coat. Correspondence, reproductions of portraits, a family tree, visual interpretations of agricultural “best practices,” and text relating to the founding of the Essex Agricultural Society will also be included.


About the Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program

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 Essex Heritage’s 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 20-year old program has invested more than $1.5 million in support of the region’s nationally significant heritage. 

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Media contact:Charles Smith, Program Manager(978) 740-0444  / Note to Editor: ­   Photos of the 2018 grant recipients are available by request­   Contact information for each grant recipient can be made available upon request