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Grant number: PG-233635-16

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Proprietors Portsmouth Athenaeum (Portsmouth, NH 03801-4011)
Thomas Hardiman (Project Director: May 2015 to present)

Portsmouth Athenaeum Collections Care and Fire Safety Improvements

Hiring an outside consultant to conduct a fire safety study and the purchase of environmental monitoring equipment, including temperature/humidity monitors and a visible light meter.  The Portsmouth Athenaeum maintains an encyclopedic collection of materials related to the history and culture of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Founded in 1816, the Athenaeum holds diverse collections including important materials relating to the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese War. Other collection highlights include a 1979 dockyard model of the Portsmouth-built ship H.M.S. America and King George II’s 1737 proclamation settling the boundary between New Hampshire and Massachusetts. This proposal responds to a 2014 collections conservation assessment report identifying fire safety and improvement of the building envelope as a critical priority in the Athenaeum’s long-range collections planning.

The proposed project will support a fire safety study at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, and fund purchase of environmental monitoring equipment. Project activities will take place between January and March 2016. A recent collections conservation assessment identified fire risk and environmental conditions as our top collections care priorities. This project will lay the foundation for creation of an integrated master environmental improvement plan for the Athenaeum. The Athenaeum is steward to an extraordinary collection of manuscripts, objects, art, photographs, and rare and historic books and printed materials. These collections document the cultural, economic and political life of Portsmouth, New Hampshire's only major seaport, which played a significant role in American colonial, Revolutionary, and Early Republican history. Spanning centuries and representing historic cultural encounters worldwide, the Athenaeum's collections are of regional, national and international importance.

Project fields:
Cultural History; U.S. History

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

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

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 6/30/2017