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Grant number: PG-233550-16

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Presbyterian Historical Society (Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516)
Natalie Shilstut (Project Director: May 2015 to present)

Conservation Environment Assessment

Hiring an environmental engineer, preservation specialist, and HVAC technician to assess safety and security of the Presbyterian Historical Society’s collections by investigating its HVAC systems, building envelope, fire protection, lighting, and electrical systems and provide specific recommendations for sustainable improvements. The Presbyterian Historical Society is the national archive of the Presbyterian Church; its archival, library, and museum collections document 500 years of religious, political, and cultural history. Significant holdings include The American Indian Correspondence Collection consisting of 14,000 letters written by missionaries documenting their work among Native Americans, and over 23,000 cubic feet of official denominational records, including minutes from the first presbytery meeting in Philadelphia in 1706. This project responds to a January 2015 preservation needs assessment, which identified the development of an environmental monitoring program and a conservation environment survey as key short-term goals. The environmental monitoring program is already underway; this project would enable the team of experts to review this data and develop a plan for long-term improvement.

The NEH Preservation Assistance Grant will support a conservation environment assessment of all the Presbyterian Historical Society's collection spaces. This project will allow the Society to work collaboratively with a conservation environment engineer and a preservation specialist to assess the quality and efficiency of the HVAC system, building envelope, fire protection systems, and lighting and electrical systems; analyze environmental data collected over a full year; and provide institution-specific recommendations for sustainable improvement. The information gleaned from the survey will provide the foundation for planning HVAC and building modifications that will improve the Society's collection storage spaces and preserve its historic collections.

Project fields:
International Studies; Religion, General; U.S. History

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2016 – 9/30/2017