Heritage Philadelphia Program to Award $1 Million for History Programs and Historic Preservation

Heritage Philadelphia Program to Award $1 Million for History Programs and Historic Preservation

The Heritage Philadelphia Program (HPP) of the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage announced today grants totaling $1,001,070 to seven cultural organizations in the Philadelphia area for outstanding projects in interpretive history programming and historic preservation. This year's grant recipients are: Cliveden of the National Trust, Fairmount Park Art Association, Historic Germantown Preserved, Philadelphia Folklore Project (a first-time Heritage Philadelphia Program grantee), Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates, Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, and Wyck Association.

Full descriptions of each project and the individual grant amounts can be found below.

“We are honored and delighted to support these projects which offer new and important models for historic interpretation and respond creatively to community needs,” notes Heritage Philadelphia Program Director Bill Adair. “There is a spirit of invention at work in the history community here in Philadelphia!”

“HPP's preservation and interpretation grants make it possible for us all to enjoy our region's rich heritage and treasured landmarks,” said Gregory T. Rowe, The Pew Charitable Trusts' director of Culture Initiatives and deputy director of the Philadelphia Program. “These funded programs will bring history to life in ways that lend greater meaning to our present-day experiences.”

HPP funding is awarded annually on a competitive basis, and grant recipients are selected by a distinguished national panel of experts in the fields of museum management, preservation architecture, and interpretive programming. This year, the panel included:

  • Patricia West, curator at Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook, NY and co-director of the Center for Applied Historical Research at the University of Albany, who served as panel chair
  • Craig Barton, chair of the Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Cynthia Copeland, public historian and interpretive specialist, and adjunct professor in the history department at the New School University, New York City
  • Frances Halsband, founding partner of Kliment Halsband Architects, New York City
  • Sojin Kim, curator of history at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
  • Liselle LaFrance, director of Historic Cherry Hill, a historic site in Albany, New York 
  • Fath Davis Ruffins, curator of African American history and culture at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

The Heritage Philadelphia Program 2009 grantees are as follows:

  • Cliveden of the National Trust ($200,000) to renovate Upsala, an 18th century neighboring house, for community programming. The renovated building will be used as a center for community revitalization, including neighborhood safety meetings, a teen writers' workshop, and a resource center for the area's many historic houses. The work on the building will include construction of an accessible entrance and restroom, and installation of new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. The adaptive re-use of Upsala will also allow office space to be removed from Cliveden, providing for more effective preservation of the National Historic Landmark building, site of the 1777 Battle of Germantown.
  • Fairmount Park Art Association ($199,720) to implement “Museum Without Walls”—individual audio programs on 35 public art pieces in Philadelphia that will be accessible by cell phone or podcast. Working with a team of professional audio producers and historians, the Fairmount Park Art Association (FPAA) will create interpretive audio programs that interested “visitors” can access through their cell phone as they walk, jog, or bike past an artwork. These pieces can also be downloaded to an MP3 player from the FPAA website. The audio programs are designed to incorporate what FPAA calls the “authentic voice”—the story of each piece as told by people with important connections to it.
  • Historic Germantown Preserved ($200,000) to implement “Germantown Works,” a series of history-based projects that include youth employment training and intergenerational programming. Historic Germantown Preserved is a collaborative of 14 historic houses and sites in Germantown working together to develop coordinated programming that is responsive to community concerns. The “Germantown Works” projects will combine historic perspectives on work and industry in Germantown with programs designed to create work for young people.
  • Philadelphia Folklore Project ($70,000) to pilot the Community Documentation Workshop. The Philadelphia Folklore Project (PFP) will select a group of community participants from diverse immigrant groups in the city for an eight-month training program in documenting community history and folklore. The training will provide participants with skills to document a variety of cultural experiences in their own communities as well as opportunities to develop exhibitions based on their research and findings. These exhibitions will be installed in PFP's gallery space. PFP will use the pilot project to develop on-going workshops and a new, community-driven approach to exhibitions.
  • Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates ($200,000) to implement “Journeys South,” exploring South Philadelphia's immigrant history through public art projects that include photography, installation, and lighting. Mural Arts Advocates will host four artist residencies, during which the artists (RA Friedman, Kate Slovich, Michelle Ortiz and Tony Rocco, and Phoebe Zinman) will work with historians and members of the community to develop their projects, based on immigrant stories and histories of the neighborhood. The resulting artworks will be installed in public spaces in the neighborhood, and will be unveiled to the public during a month-long festival in the summer of 2010. Mural Arts will also partner with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's internet-based PhilaPlace project, expected to launch later this year, in order to document the artworks and research.
  • Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia ($56,350) to plan and pilot a training and technical assistance program for African American historic churches and historic house museums. Building on the Alliance's successful neighborhood preservation program, these projects will provide opportunities for important collaboration among these sites. Training will offer congregations resources for capital fundraising and the development of new community partnerships. The Alliance will also work with the growing number of African American historic sites to assess and develop collaborative interpretation and marketing efforts.
  • Wyck Association ($75,000) to develop an interpretive plan for Wyck, a National Historic Landmark house and garden in Germantown. Working with expert advisors from a variety of fields, including historic preservation, urban agriculture, and sound art, along with representatives of local community organizations, Wyck will develop a plan for inventive future educational and community-focused programming. This planning process is part of Wyck's goal of developing their historic site as a community resource, building on the success of the Wyck Home Farm program, which combines a farmer's market with history and educational programming.

The Heritage Philadelphia Program (HPP) is a program of the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by the University of the Arts. HPP supports innovation and excellence in public history practice in the region through historic interpretation and historic preservation grants. Grants of up to $200,000 are awarded annually to projects that fit within the guidelines, goals and outcomes of the program. Support for the local history community is also provided through professional development activities designed to inspire engaging and audience-centered programming. HPP encourages imaginative, experiential, and substantive interpretive programming and preservation that is grounded in contemporary scholarship and incorporates active community involvement. Since it was established in 1998, the Heritage Philadelphia Program has supported 98 grants through its panel process, investing over $7.6 million in history projects in the five-county region.

About The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (Center), formerly the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, is dedicated to stimulating a vibrant cultural community within the region. Established in November 2005, the Center houses seven Initiatives of The Pew Charitable Trusts: Dance Advance, Heritage Philadelphia Program, Pew Fellowships in the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, Philadelphia Music Project and Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. The Initiatives support artists and arts and heritage organizations in the five-county, Southeastern Pennsylvania region whose work is distinguished by excellence, imagination and creative courage. The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and is administered by The University of the Arts. For more information, visit www.pcah.us.