Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program

The 2021 Partnership Grant cycle has closed. Stay tuned for information on 2022 applications.

Please email Charles Smith with questions at or call the Essex Heritage office at 978-740-0444.


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 23-year old program has invested more than $1.6 million in support of the region’s nationally significant heritage. For a detailed list of past grants, please navigate to the submenu on the left.


2020 Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Recipients:




Andover Historical Society:


Andover Historical Society will carry out a roof replacement project, which is phase 4 of a Capital Improvement Plan for the 1818-1819 Amos Blanchard House and Barn. This project hopes to achieve long term protection of their historic structures; aesthetically pleasing solutions that maintain the historic charm of the 1820 Blanchard house and barn while improving accessibility, safety, and energy efficiency; & environmentally sustainable solutions.




Danvers Alarm List Company, Inc:


Danvers Alarm List Company will use their grant funding to undertake a restoration of the 17-Century Nurse Family Homestead Cemetery. Gravestones will be repaired, restored, and some recently-found stones will be returned to their places. No major repair work has been to the gravestones in this cemetery since the mid-1900s, and many stones have fallen over, cracked in half, sunk into the mud, or are leaning at angles that will cause further damage to the stones. Additionally, several stones that had toppled were removed from the cemetery during the 1960s and were recently rediscovered in the cellar of a barn. This project will restore the heretofore missing stones to their proper locations above the graves of several generations of the Nurse and Putnam families. Through meticulous historical research of old photographs and images, broken pieces of gravestones have been matched together and the original locations of the stones stored in the barn have been determined. In addition to returning the removed gravestones, several stones currently in place will be repaired and restored: leaning stones in danger of breaking will be reset to protect them from damage, broken pieces of stones will be put back together, stones that have fallen over and are sinking into the ground will be dug out and reset before any fragments are lost to the mud, and certain stones will be treated to prevent the lichen and moss on them from causing further damage.



Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum:


Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum will use their partnership grant to digitize and rehome their collection of 16mm film reels and VHS videotapes, ranging from c.1920’s to the 1990's. These primary documents are a critical part of their collections and our educational programming, as they include footage of the building and launching of ships, town life and celebrations, oral histories, and coverage of Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum’s programming. To prepare the film reels and tapes for digitizing, Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum will work with Collections Management professionals to train staff and volunteers in industry standard collections management practices for film handling and re-homing. The reels and tapes will then be sent out to the Kodak Company for digitization.



Georgetown Historical Society, Inc:


Georgetown Historical Society will be using their partnership grant funding as a means for creating historically accurate gardens increasing awareness and understanding of the region’s heritage at the Brocklebank Museum. Georgetown Historical Society will be constructing historically accurate raised beds which can offer visitors samples of organic fruits, vegetables and herbs evoking life in colonial times. They will also be extending the exhibit started last year which teaches about medicinal and practical use of these plants.




Town of Hamilton:


The Town or Hamilton will improve wayfinding and accessibility on the grounds and share Patton family history of the property. This will be achieved through a multi-faceted process which includes trail and grounds maintenance, interpretive aides, and accessibility improvement projects.




Ipswich River Watershed Association:


The Ipswich River Watershed Association will undertake the creation of durable posters on climate resiliency topics designed to travel to public locations in Essex County. Through this, Ipswich River Watershed Association intends to inspire action to build resilient communities. While increasing awareness of the issues, the posters will empower residents to take action by offering them the tools and methods to make change happen. The goal is to see increased community involvement in watershed communities, such as more community projects, increased environmental stewardship or citizen science volunteering, increased participation in outdoor or nature-focused events,and noticeable and vocal advocacy from residents for improved land and water management. By interpreting the climate crisis through the lense of local issues, the Ipswich River Watershed Association hopes to inspire more people, on an individual and community level, to preserve their natural resources and community character.




The Museum of Old Newbury:


The Museum of Old Newbury will present “A Passion for Place: Women & the Origins of Historic Preservation & Public History in New England,” a symposium featuring local women who blazed trails in historic preservation and shaped public history. This one-day event will feature case studies of women instrumental in preserving history for future generations and the sites with which they were associated. Anchored by keynote speaker William Hosley, local historians and museum professionals will deliver lectures on the impact of women on today’s institutions and professional practices. Hosley, former curator at the Wadsworth Athenaem and former director of the New Haven Museum and Connecticut Landmarks, has been inspired by the many fascinating case studies in which women were on the forefront of preserving our diverse heritage. He will explore the “history of history”, important groundwork for understanding where the discipline is moving today. These lectures will bring to light the hidden roles of women and their relevance in our local cultural institutions.


St. Paul’s Episcopal Church:


St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Newburyport is part of the Newburyport Heritage Trail and participates in the Trails and Sails event series every year. St. Paul’s will be undertaking accessibility repairs to their historic structure, keeping the historic asset accessible by replacing the current broken wheelchair lift with a new lift.




The House of the Seven Gables:


In 2019, The House of the Seven Gables completed an Interpretive and Engagement Plan, helping to identify several areas where the site could better engage visitors. The Counting House, a c.1830 structure, was identified as a place where the family experience could be enriched. The Counting House and the area around it has been some type of children’s play area since the middle of the 20th century. The last update to the area happened more than a decade ago and the activities are out-of-touch with today’s young visitors. The plan calls for The Gables to “re-equip The Counting House to the delight of young visitors” and to include “robust, sensory-based exhibits staged to appeal to kids and families.” Using the five senses, the area will offer compelling activities that will simultaneously accomplish some of the site’s interpretive goals.




Town of Swampscott:


The Town of Swampscott will develop and install new interpretive signage at key historic places and spaces throughout town, and work with walkBoston to develop a companion walking map for visitors and residents. The signage will help inform and promote the Town’s historic and environmental assets, which assists in the long-term preservation of these areas as more people become aware of and use them. Combined with the walkBoston map, the project will provide easy walking routes between areas of Town, which will be enhanced further when the future rail trail is completed. Additionally, many Town committees are committed to promoting sustainability and healthy options for residents, and the walking map will be an easy and fun item to help fulfill these goals. The project is geared to present and future residents of the Town, and visitors to the area, with the goal of inspiring additional projects and programming related to the Town’s cultural and natural history.




The Topsfield Fair:



The Topsfield Fair will use their partnership grant funding in order to continue offering educational classes that focus on historical agriculture of Essex County to local schools. Serving 15,000 students every year, Topsfield Fair’s educational field trips are specifically designed to tie in the Common Core Standards for grades 3-5. Each program requires transportation and staff, and are free to the students, who include groups who have students with special needs (including students with physical disabilities) and/or English Language Learners. To make sure that this important educational, historic, and agricultural opportunity can be accessible to all students, Topsfield Fair has received a 2020 partnership grant in order to offset the cost of this valuable educational programming.




About Essex Heritage and the Essex National Heritage Area

Essex Heritage is the non-profit organization that manages the Essex National Heritage Area by developing programs that enhance, preserve, and encourage recreation, education, conservation and interpretation projects on Boston’s North Shore and the Lower Merrimack River Valley. The Essex National Heritage Area comprises the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, MA. For more information, visit or call (978) 740-0444.  

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 22-year old program has invested more than $1.6 million in support of the region’s nationally significant heritage.


Charles Smith, Program Manager

(978) 740-0444  /