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Proprietors Portsmouth Athenaeum (Portsmouth, NH 03801-4011)
Thomas Hardiman (Project Director: December 2017 to present)
Planning Sustainable Environmental Improvements for Collections at the Portsmouth Athenaeum

A planning project to conduct comprehensive space reorganization and create a collections storage plan, as well as identify options for upgrading HVAC and fire safety systems.  The Portsmouth Athenaeum, located in three adjacent 1805 historic buildings, possesses an extensive collection documenting the history of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the Piscataqua River region. It includes 35,000 rare and historic books, 2,490 archive and manuscript collections, 22,000 historic photographs, and 570 artworks and artifacts related to maritime and regional history.

The proposed project advances the Portsmouth Athenaeum's ongoing efforts to develop a holistic, sustainable plan to better preserve our collections while maintaining the integrity of our historic buildings.  Funds will support development of a comprehensive space reorganization and collections storage plan, as well as preliminary HVAC selections and fire safety upgrades.  Potential for solar and/or geo-exchange technology will also be investigated.  The project team will include the Athenaeum Keeper, a collections conservator, a museum space planning consultant, and an environmental systems engineer.  Project activities will generate opportunities for further testing and modeling of plans as they are developed.  The proposed project will position the Athenaeum for the next stage in our comprehensive preservation initiative: detailed building envelope improvement plans, and detailed systems design planning and schematics to support final implementation.

[White paper]

Project fields:
Cultural History; U.S. History

Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections

Preservation and Access

$49,875 (approved)
$49,875 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2018 – 7/31/2020