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Treasures Preserved with Grants from the Bank of America/IMLS American Heritage Preservation Program

Thursday, March 11, 2010


IMLS Press Contacts
Jeannine Mjoseth,
Mamie Bittner,

Bank of America Press Contact
Diane Wagner,

Washington, DC—A school attendance record taken by Robert Frost when he served as a substitute teacher, a gown worn to the second inaugural ball of Abraham Lincoln, and a painted trunk made in 1702 in Uppsala, Sweden, will be preserved for future generations with grants from the American Heritage Preservation Program awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. Click here to view the list of recipients.

"Based on the number of applications that IMLS received and the impact that awardees from 2009 have begun to share, we believe that this program meets a critical need in the museum and library communities," said Anne-Imelda M. Radice, IMLS Director. "Organizations are improving the stewardship of these significant artifacts and documents and involving their community in the process."

"At Bank of America, we have made support of the arts a high priority and a key part of serving our customers, associates, and communities. That includes honoring our cultural heritage as well as helping to sustain the arts for the future," said Rena DeSisto, Global Arts and Heritage Executive for Bank of America. "This partnership with IMLS enables the preservation of cherished artifacts that instill pride in our communities and attest to the values this country was built upon."

This grant program is an important part of IMLS’s Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a multiyear, multipronged initiative to protect our national treasures. Nearly 190 million objects in U.S. collections are in immediate danger of deterioration and need restoration or conservation, according to the Heritage Health Index report.

Through this public-private partnership, 36 museums and 18 libraries and archives will receive individual grants of up to $3,000 to preserve treasures that convey the essential character and experience of the United States. The 54 grants totaling $156,346 are being awarded to museums, libraries, and archives to treat, re-house, and improve the storage environments of important collections.

Funded projects include:

  • The library of the Methuen Historical Commission in Methuen, Massachusetts will use funds to clean, stabilize, and rebind the "Frost Register," a record of school attendance during the time at which Robert Frost was a substitute teacher in his mother's classroom. The document will also be scanned and made available online. The original will be available by appointment and will be highlighted in a future exhibit.
  • Historic Spanish Point, a historic site preserving the houses and collections of early Sarasota, Florida, will conserve the violin, bow, and violin case once owned by Frank Guptill and his wife Lizzie Guptill, early pioneers of the town. Once treated, the violin and case will be exhibited in the parlor of the Guptill House, built in 1901, which interprets life in Victorian Sarasota.
  • The Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, Washington will stabilize and treat the painted surface of a Swedish trunk that was made circa 1702 in Uppsala, Sweden. Traveling as a family heirloom with Swedish immigrants to the United States during the 19th century, it is a rare example of 18th century Swedish craft. Upon completion of the work, the trunk will be highlighted in the newly reinstalled Folk Art Gallery.
  • The Postal History Foundation’s Slusser Library in Tucson, Arizona will conserve three rare books in the collection on postal history and philately. After restoration, the volumes will be rebound and rehoused so that they are available for researchers on site, and will be part of a larger project to make all of the library’s holdings available online in late 2010. The library will also install a hygrothermograph and UV filters to improve the environment of the entire collection.
  • The Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka, Kansas will use funds to conserve a rare gown worn to the second inaugural ball of Abraham Lincoln by the wife of the Secretary of Interior.  After treatment of the delicate silk, the gown will be installed as part of a temporary exhibit at the museum and be available for loan to other museums.  Previously only the evening bodice was stable enough for exhibit and travel; conservation will allow the dress to be seen in its entirety as an extraordinary example of mid-19th century finery.

The next application deadline is Sept. 15, 2010. For questions about museum projects, please contact Christine Henry, Senior Program Officer, at, 202-653-4674. For questions about library or archival projects, please contact Kevin Cherry, Senior Program Officer, at, 202-653-4662.


About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit