Preservation & Facilities

Minnesota Local History Blog.

Minnesota Local History Blog.

Advice and help with building history capacity.

The Minnesota Historical Society’s Local History Services helps Minnesotans preserve and share their history. This blog is a resource of best practices on the wide variety of museum, preservation, conservation, funding, and non-profit management topics. We’re here to help.

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Preservation & Facilities

Seasonal Window Considerations and Treatments

Windows have of course long been called the eyes of buildings as they are usually a leading character-defining feature that transmit light but also illuminate an important component of the Industrial Revolution and construction. They tell us a lot about their host buildings, such as their owners and their tastes and interests, as well as styles, uses, and alterations over the years.

Comstock House exterior window.

Comstock Historic House, Moorhead, Minnesota.  Source: MNHS.

This Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) museum property was constructed in 1883 for a prominent Red River Valley family who was active in railroad and educational pursuits. Storm windows paired with regular sash windows help provide thermal protection from the prairie elements.

The multibillion dollar window replacement industry is able to dedicate considerable funding to try to convince people that only replacement windows will eliminate drafts. However, here in a state with weather as diverse and dynamic as Minnesota’s, people have long thought of ways to make their buildings as weathertight as possible. These options allow people to continue to enjoy the effects of the painted wood frames and the unique types of window glazing like crown, cylinder, and faceted glass that would otherwise likely end up in a landfill.

“Unlike historic windows, new window assemblies cannot be repaired; they can only be replaced once again. The sustainable choice is to repair historic windows whenever possible.” National Park Service 

Of course, the main requirements that window structural integrity rests on are regular observation and maintenance. Repairs should be made as soon as possible. Finding professionals who are experienced at window repair and rehabilitation is very important. National Park Service’s Preservation Brief 9 and 13 along with Preservation Tech Notes Windows 1-22 are excellent starting resources when considering window care and weatherization. More effective than having weathertight windows is ensuring that, especially, ceilings and attics are insulated and, less so, exterior walls are insulated too. 

Storm Windows 

“A 2002 study confirmed that installing a storm window over a historic window can achieve a similar thermal performance to that of a new low-E vinyl replacement window. This experiment conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory also noted that remaining air infiltration around the historic window and storm assembly is a matter of occupant comfort rather than energy efficiency.” Weatherization: Windows and Doors National Park Service 

The use of storm windows, which have supposedly been around since the eighteenth century, can be effective year round, while only changing to screen windows the locations that need to be opened for ventilation during the summers. Thankfully, there are exterior and interior storm windows that come in a variety of materials, colors, and finishes that can complement historic buildings. Storm windows should match the overall style and color of the main windows they are serving. Speaking with a historic architect or building preservation professional can be of considerable assistance when navigating the many options to find suitable ones for the subject building. 

Sometimes, some of the storm window suppliers are from more obscure manufacturers. Often finding the most in-kind type of storm window may require contacting the manufacturer who will hopefully find the best match through a deep array of options. Existing storm windows should be retained, either on the building or in storage, as often as possible. Many of the finest historic storm windows even included true glass dividers of wood and stained glass margin lights. 

Storm windows significantly reduce the amount of sound that is transmitted through an opening. A single-pane historic window with a storm window provides greater noise reduction than a double-pane replacement window because there are two different systems instead of one; having two different systems provides a noise break. Some storm windows also integrate or have a basic surface for applying a UV-protection film or privacy glass, film, or safety glass.

Blue Goose Cottage exterior near a lake with two people on the front stoop and a screened rear porch.

Blue Goose Cottage, Idlewilde, Lake Osakis, Osakis.  Source:  MNHS.

This 1940 photograph of this resort cottage shows how screen windows and screen doors were utilized in the summer months to repel insects while allowing cross ventilation.

Shutters 

Most commonly wood or metal, these devices, when closed shut over windows, can help weatherize the openings in a considerable way. However, they should not be utilized unless they were featured on the building historically. Adding features that were never there on the building creates a false sense of history. However, when there is photographic or physical evidence they had been utilized, there are regional manufacturers, repairers, and restorers of this feature, including here in Minnesota. 

Awnings 

Usually more useful in summer than in winter, these exterior window coverings are usually made of some type of cloth but also can be made of metal or other materials. They often keep out the sun in the summer but also can find a way to reduce wind and rain in the spring and fall. In commercial buildings, they would help keep interiors and window shoppers more comfortable and reduce HVAC costs. 

Boy standing with a bike in front of a building with scalloped awning.

T.F. Cann Window Shades and Awnings, Seventh and Hennepin, Minneapolis. Source: MNHS.

This 1899 photograph shows an interesting scalloped awning on the porch of this building.

Treatments / Accessories 

Using drapes, curtains, and sheers, as appropriate, to minimize drafts and temperature fluctuations while providing privacy, defining views, and creating the right ambience has long been considered an economic option for reducing temperature changes, solar fading, and sound transmission within a building. 

Drapes

Drapes are usually of very heavy fabric that is tightly woven and effective at greatly reducing drafts and separating heat and cold.

Governor's Reception room with large desk and chairs in the foreground with three windows covered with decorative pelmets and drapes in the background.

Governor’s Reception Room at the Minnesota State Capitol, St. Paul, Minnesota. Source: MNHS.

The decorative drapery and pelmets (located at the tops of the window openings) provide for dramatic and decorative shading of light and weatherproofing in this landmark, which was constructed from 1896 to 1905.

Curtains 

Curtains are slightly more lightweight than drapes and can be effective for filtering light and sound and helping to provide a lesser amount of weatherproofing. Made of a variety of fabrics and fibers that have transitioned from natural to synthetic over the years, curtains also help provide decoration and privacy.

Four women sit at a table working with sewing lightweight fabric.

Handicraft workers making curtains for Gillette Hospital, St. Paul.  1936.  Source: MNHS.

Sheers 

This thin gauzy material is more minimally effective at weatherization but is often considered beautiful in window treatments while providing some privacy. It is utilized together with curtains or drapes and is sometimes used all by itself. Historically, materials such as cotton and linen were used while in recent years polyester and nylon have been featured.

A decorative Victorian parlor features various pieces of furniture and two sash windows.

Historic Forestville, Minnesota.  Source: MNHS.

The sheer curtains and blinds provide a layered appearance that gives versatility to regulating temperature, light, and privacy in this decorative nineteenth-century space.

Blinds 

Blinds have been utilized for centuries to enhance solar and heat gain in the winter and minimize solar and heat gain in the summer, with more natural materials like linen and wood being replaced with plastics in recent years. Horizontal blinds are usually designed more to control light and heat gain while vertical blinds are utilized for privacy unless they are closed. 

Roller blinds come in a variety of colors, privacy levels, and patterns. Some of the blinds are available with an open weave and some with UV protection built into the material. Historically, material such as linen and cotton was utilized. Some of the more modern roller blinds material includes polyester and vinyl. Some of the material used to make blinds is thicker and occasionally quilted to provide additional solar and thermal protection.

Related National Park Service Preservation Briefs and Tech Notes

Preservation Brief 3, “Improving Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings”
Preservation Brief 9, “The Repair of Historic Wooden Windows”
Preservation Brief 13, “The Repair and Thermal Upgrading of Historic Steel Windows”
Preservation Brief 44, “The Use of Awnings on Historic Buildings: Repair, Replacement and New Design” 
Preservation Tech Notes Windows 1-22

In Memory of Denis Gardner, 1965-2022

By: Todd Mahon | Preservation & Facilities | May 6, 2022
Composite image: Left to right: Denis with beard and scarf; Denis in baseball cap with Saint Paul municipal grain terminal head house in background; Center: Denis with Minnesota State Capitol East stairs behind him; Denis at his desk at MNHS

As noted in the May 4, 2022, edition of the Local History News, Denis Gardner, Minnesota’s National Register Historian, passed away unexpectedly on March 4, 2022. His work with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and his important research and writing about Minnesota’s historic places brought him in close contact with many in Minnesota’s history network. 

His professional work in the field began in 1996 as a historian for Minneapolis’s Hess Roise and Company. With that work, he developed a strong connection to the National Register of Historic Places through various projects with the firm. He struck out on his own and worked as an independent consultant, researching and writing nominations for properties to be listed on the National Register. With this deep experience, as well as his published books, Denis became a National Register Historian with SHPO in 2011, where he managed the National Register program for the Minnesota Historical Society. In 2018, SHPO, along with Denis, transferred from MNHS to the State of Minnesota. 

Denis leaves behind an impressive record of work that will benefit Minnesotans for generations to come. He wrote books about the state’s bridges, the construction and restoration of the Capitol building, and books about the state’s other National Register properties. He conducted countless book talks, lectures, and programs at local history organizations across the state. 

These contributions to the historical record and sharing it with so many people are perhaps only matched by the friendships that he forged with many of us. Denis was… a character. He often had us all laughing at his small quirks and independent attitude. Melinda Hutchinson, Grants Specialist, said, “Denis was a wonderful guy--intelligent, dedicated, witty. He put up with all my sassy remarks and good-natured ribbing. In return, he called me one of his favorite people. He was one of mine, too, and I will miss him.” Carolyn Veeser-Egbide, our Grants Office manager, noted Denis’s (extreme) enthusiasm for bridges when she said, “I have fond memories of him, especially stories involving his love of bridges. His knowledge of Minnesota resources was impressive, and he could easily recall many details when most of us would need to look them up. I’ll miss him!”

And miss him we do. We still have moments of reaching for the phone to call him or drafting an email to ask him a question. There are still so many things that are “good questions for Denis.” It’s a reminder that his duties will be taken over and continued, but he will not be replaced. Thanks for being a great colleague to all of us, Denis, and thanks for leaving behind a legacy for Minnesota to benefit from. 

There will be a memorial service for Denis in the L’Etoile du Nord vault (room B015) at the Minnesota State Capitol on Saturday, May 14 at 11:00 am. 

 

Historic buildings: Identifying and Reading Architecture

By: Tamsin Himes | Local History | Preservation & Facilities | June 28, 2021

Image by Tamsin Himes

As a design reviewer at the Minnesota Historical Society, I am lucky that as part of my job I get to see a lot of interesting and varied architecture from around the state. I have enjoyed a front-row seat to some fantastic preservation projects. Helping people who are passionate about their built history and seeing those preservation projects progress and succeed is exciting and fulfilling. 

Another part of my job is being able to identify architectural features and read buildings. For me, this isn't merely a part of my job that I enjoy -- I feel it should be important to anyone interested in the history of their community or in built history in general. I’m passionate about preservation and I believe that the more we understand about architecture, the more we will realize its importance and will be invested in preserving it.

Why does this matter? 

You might ask "But wait, can this actually help me? Why should I invest time in learning about random architecture creatures?" There are actually a ton of benefits to being able to "read" architecture. Here are three (of the many) ways knowing how to identify architecture and recognize features can help you. 

1) It can help identify a general window date of construction.

2) It can help you identify construction methods and techniques 

3) It can help you understand the significance of the building 

Note: this blog post is focusing on exterior elements and features -- there is a mountain of information about the layout, plan, interior design and features of a building that also help to identify it. But that would be another blog post altogether.

Identify date of construction. Often there are papers, drawings, photographs or other documentation that can pinpoint the date of construction of a particular building. But sometimes there is no tangible documentation and so we have to rely on observation of the building to give us clues. (Side note: If you’re planning on doing some major preservation work to your building, then we highly recommend consulting with a historic architect who has the expertise to analyze your building completely). But for an informal study of a building, if you have the ability to see key identifying features, then you can more often than not, place a building in a window of time when that architecture style was most prominent. For example, Second Empire (1855–1885), Craftsman (1905–1930), Queen Anne (1880-1910).

Construction methods and techniques. If you have an idea of the time period in which a building was built, then you have valuable insight into the construction of the building as a whole and techniques or materials that were likely used. Examples of this could be lath and plaster, roofing materials/techniques (such as slate, wood shakes or shingles, etc), different types of stone or brick patterns that indicate specific masonry techniques, mortar type, or asbestos-containing materials. All of this is valuable knowledge to those who are involved with historic architecture. 

Understanding Significance. An important part of working with built history is understanding how the building interacts with and contributes to its surroundings. Does it contribute to an important time in the community? Does it represent some iconic art form? Does it provide physical evidence of a change or progression in the historic economy? These are all aspects of architecture that you can understand better if you know how to read the architectural elements of a building.

So, how does one get started in learning how to read historic buildings?

An easy place to start is to choose an architectural style that you like and learn some basics about it. You can start with a Google search or a reference book. Here are some great resources that may be helpful: 

Books: “A Field Guide to American Houses” Virginia Savage McAlester. “How to Date Buildings” Trevor Yorke. “American House Styles” John Milnes Baker. Digital resources: Architectural Styles of America and Europe (architecturestyles.org), Pevsner’s Architectural Glossary (a mobile app), and don't forget Google! 

Let's take Gothic Revival for instance. After a quick read/search I can find a few key features of this architecture style: cross gable, steeply pitched roof, one-story flat-roofed porch, tall vertical windows, the classic gothic arch, and decorative barge-board detailing. There are many others, but these are a few of the most prominent.

Once I know these few features I can practice identifying them on buildings, like this:

Note: reading/identifying buildings and their features is far from cut and dry. Often there are elements of several styles in one building. But if you know the basics, then you can learn to pick apart buildings and read their stories. 

By far the best way to start is simply to notice the architecture around you. Go on a walk, drive or run and look at the architecture that is in your neighborhood or town. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to identify some buildings and many of their features. It's the best way to practice SEEING architecture because so often the architecture closest to us that we see every day is the same that we do not really see. Or at least do not notice. Also, look at your own house -- even if it's modern, you’ll probably be able to see elements taken from older styles and nods to major architectural movements.  

You may have heard writers say they don’t know what they think until they write about it -- or artists say they don’t know what they’ve seen until they paint it. That is how I feel about architecture and having the words to describe and name features and building types, So often we don’t know what we're seeing or experiencing until we can identify and name it.

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Questions about this blog or requests for future blog posts? Contact us at localhistory@mnhs.org

Modifying Historic Properties for Increased Accessibility - Panel Conversation

By: Todd Mahon | Preservation & Facilities | June 11, 2021

Webinar Recording from June 3, 2021

Moderators: Julia Larson and Todd Mahon. Panelists: David Fenley, Minnesota Council on Disability; Ray Bloomer, National Park Service's National Accessibility Support Program; and Bill Wright and Bess McCollough with Collaborative Design Group, Inc.

 

A conversation among accessibility and design professionals about the intersections between accessibility and historic preservation.

David has been with the Minnesota Council on Disability since 2014. He transitioned from legislative work to ADA education and outreach throughout Minnesota. David, a certified access specialist, informs entities across the state about Disability awareness, ADA obligations, Minnesota’s Accessibility Code, digital accessibility.

Ray works with the National Park Service’s National Accessibility Support Program. He has significant experience in training and consulting on accessibility in historic sites, both in physical and programmatic accessibility.

Bill is an award-winning designer, and a leader of CDG's Preservation and Adaptive Reuse practices.

Bess is a Senior Designer and Project Manager at CDG, specializing in Preservation, Adaptive Reuse and Universal Design practices.

This session was one of four from a half-day workshop focused on accessibility in historic buildings. 

  1. Disability and The ADA: Cultural, Demographic, Legal and Technical Implications
  2. Accessibility to Historic Sites; the Decision Process
  3. Strategies for Accessibility Improvements to Historic Properties
  4. Modifying Historic Properties for Increased Accessibility - Panel Conversation

Strategies for Accessibility Improvements to Historic Properties

By: Todd Mahon | Preservation & Facilities | June 11, 2021

Webinar Recording from June 3, 2021

Bill Hickey, Principal and Bess McCollough, Architect with Collaborative Design Group

Description: This session will consider strategies for increasing physical access to historic structures. Universal Design concepts will be reviewed, with methods and construction approaches illustrated through review of case studies.

Bill is an award-winning designer, and a leader of CDG's Preservation and Adaptive Reuse practices. Bess is a Senior Designer and Project Manager at CDG, specializing in Preservation, Adaptive Reuse and Universal Design practices.

This session was one of four from a half-day workshop focused on accessibility in historic buildings. 

  1. Disability and The ADA: Cultural, Demographic, Legal and Technical Implications
  2. Accessibility to Historic Sites; the Decision Process
  3. Strategies for Accessibility Improvements to Historic Properties
  4. Modifying Historic Properties for Increased Accessibility - Panel Conversation

Accessibility to Historic Sites; the Decision Process

By: Todd Mahon | Preservation & Facilities | June 11, 2021

Webinar Recording from June 3, 2021

Ray Bloomer, Accessibility Specialist

Description: The process of deciding how to make historic structures and sites accessible to people with disabilities, must consider multiple factors. This session will discuss types of structures, types of changes to be considered, limitations and uses of the structures, along with what to do if all areas of historic structures cannot be made accessible. This session is intended to provide participants with guidance in order to successfully strike a balance between accessibility and preservation.

Ray Bloomer works with the National Park Service’s National Accessibility Support Program. He has significant experience in training and consulting on accessibility in historic sites, both in physical and programmatic accessibility.

This session was one of four from a half-day workshop focused on accessibility in historic buildings. 

  1. Disability and The ADA: Cultural, Demographic, Legal and Technical Implications
  2. Accessibility to Historic Sites; the Decision Process
  3. Strategies for Accessibility Improvements to Historic Properties
  4. Modifying Historic Properties for Increased Accessibility - Panel Conversation

 

Disability and The ADA: Cultural, Demographic, Legal and Technical Implications

By: Todd Mahon | Preservation & Facilities | June 11, 2021

Webinar Recording from June 3, 2021

David Fenley, ADA Director, Minnesota Council on Disability

Description: This session will discuss how disability and the ADA affects society and people’s lives. It will provide a demographic and cultural analysis of disability while setting the stage for the technical application of the ADA.

David has been with the Minnesota Council on Disability since 2014. He transitioned from legislative work to ADA education and outreach throughout Minnesota. David, a certified access specialist, informs entities across the state about Disability awareness, ADA obligations, Minnesota’s Accessibility Code, digital accessibility.

This session was one of four from a half-day workshop focused on accessibility in historic buildings. 

  1. Disability and The ADA: Cultural, Demographic, Legal and Technical Implications
  2. Accessibility to Historic Sites; the Decision Process
  3. Strategies for Accessibility Improvements to Historic Properties
  4. Modifying Historic Properties for Increased Accessibility - Panel Conversation

National Register help: Property Evaluation Grant

By: Tamsin Himes | Funding | Preservation & Facilities | April 12, 2021

Image by Tamsin Himes

National Register help: Property Evaluation Grant

Listing in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) is a prestigious designation that can have many benefits, including opening doors to funding opportunities for historic building preservation. The nomination is an involved process. We at the Minnesota Historical Society can help with pointers and funding to complete the documentation, but the process itself is carried out by the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the National Parks Service (NPS). Before anything else, be sure to contact SHPO to fully understand the listing process.

Contact SHPO So, your organization has in its ownership a beautiful property that you believe has local/state/national significance and you want to find out how to apply to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Your first point of contact should be the State Historic Preservation Office. SHPO will give you all the information you need about the nomination process and how to get started. 

Eligibility: property evaluation SHPO will likely tell you, among other things, that a property evaluation should be completed to determine if the property is eligible for listing. This is where the Legacy Grant program comes in. There is a Structured Grant available specifically for property evaluation, which results in an official SHPO opinion on the eligibility of the property:  “This structured application provides funding to conduct an evaluation of a property for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Properties listed in the National Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture.” (Grants Manual, p. 91) 

Grant Application Applicants can apply for this Structured Grant via the same platform as all other Legacy Grants. In order to be eligible for this grant your organization must fall under one of four categories: 1) nonprofit 501c3 organizations 2) units of state or local government 3) federally recognized tribal organizations, and 4) educational institutions. If your organization falls under one of these, then your next step is to visit this page for information about requesting an account on our grants portal. After being approved for an account, you will have access to the required paperwork and forms to begin the application process. 

When can I apply? The Property Evaluation Structured Grant is a small grant ($10,000 and under), so there are four opportunities a year to apply. Visit this page for deadline information. 

Who do I contact with questions? If you have questions about the National Register listing process, contact the SHPO here. Any questions? Shoot us an email at localhistory@mnhs.org (or our colleagues at grants@mnhs.org).

National Register Nomination: Why Get Listed?

By: Tamsin Himes | Local History | Funding | Preservation & Facilities | April 1, 2021

Image by Tamsin Himes

National Register Nomination: Why Get Listed?

Applying for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) can be a long process that often requires a significant amount of work and resources. Is it worth it? The short answer is that it depends on the building and its situation -- ownership, purpose, use, etc. But there are important benefits that can come with being listed. The purpose of this blog post is to highlight some of the benefits of being in the National Register and to give pointers for how to get started on the process of applying for nomination.

Funding. If you are at all involved with a historic building or historic preservation efforts, you know that funding is both scarce and essential, especially in the beginning stages of “saving” a historic building. Being listed in the National Register opens up opportunities for funding that otherwise would not be available, including the opportunity to apply for Legacy Grant funds. (Note: National Register listing is one of the requirements for eligibility for Legacy funds. Please see our website or Grants Manual for additional information and requirements.) 

History. The National Register nomination process requires extensive research into a property’s history, design, physical features, condition, and its use by the community over time. This is invaluable information that will be an asset to your community and organization for purposes beyond designation. History from these documents is often used for walking tours, interpretation, tourism brochures, etc. 

Prestige. Let’s be honest -- it makes a difference to the community or in the public eye if a property has been formally acknowledged to be historically significant. In some cases that can make all the difference between success and failure in preservation efforts. As a listed building, it may be easier to convince skeptics that the property is an important resource and asset to the community.

Preservation planning. Along with research that benefits your community/organization, the information about your property,  gained through the nomination application process, can be an invaluable resource when working to improve the longevity of the building by informing future preservation work.  

These are just a few of the benefits of listing in the National Register. So, is it worth it? In many, many cases it is. And we can help you get started! Check out this blog post for information about how we can help. 

Any questions? Shoot us an email at localhistory@mnhs.org (or our colleagues at grants@mnhs.org). If you have questions specifically about the National Register listing process, contact the SHPO here

Funding: Non-Legacy Grants for Preservation Projects

By: Tamsin Himes | Funding | Preservation & Facilities | February 3, 2021

All of us involved in heritage preservation are familiar with the mammoth amounts of effort and funding/resources required to keep a building or heritage asset in good condition, safe, and relevant. Finding these funding resources also can be a massive undertaking and it can often be confusing to know where to start in your search for grants and financial support. The Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants (MHCHG) program  – commonly known as the Legacy Grant program – is an incredible resource available for eligible organizations and projects here in Minnesota, and it’s a great place to start. But there are other resources out there that can also be valuable assets in your efforts to preserve history and heritage, and may sometimes be a better fit for your project or organization. 

This blog post lists some of those additional grants and resources. Most of these are directed specifically toward building preservation, but some are also available for a broader range of preservation projects such as interpretation, digitization, research, and collection conservation. 

You may notice that all of the grant programs below are specific to certain organizations or groups, and you might be wondering “What about private owners of historic buildings or historic private residences?”

This is tricky and there aren’t many (if any) grant programs that will fund preservation work on private residences -- even if the building is on the National Register. Normally grant programs have stipulations in place that require a degree of public benefit from the project that is funded by grant money. If you are looking for resources for a privately owned building, you may be more successful in researching tax credits/incentives and low-interest loans available for preservation work. This article has some good advice for privately-owned preservation projects. 

National Trust for Historic Preservation  “Grants from National Trust Preservation Funds (NTPF) are intended to encourage preservation at the local level by supporting on-going preservation work and by providing seed money for preservation projects. These grants help stimulate public discussion, enable local groups to gain the technical expertise needed for preservation projects, introduce the public to preservation concepts and techniques, and encourage financial participation by the private sector.” National Trust grant applications are available for eligible parties which include public entities, 501c3 organizations, and other non-profit organizations.

Certified Local Government Grants “Certified Local Governments may use these federal matching grants for local preservation projects. Funding comes from the Historic Preservation Fund, appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress; federal regulations require that the SHPO distribute to CLGs at least 10 percent of its allocation each year.” This grant through the State Historic Preservation Office does not fund construction/bricks and mortar projects but could be an ideal funding source for pre-construction work such as building reuse plans or historic preservation plans. As the name suggests, these grants are intended specifically for local government organizations. Find grant information here

Save America’s Treasures Grants “SAT funds the preservation, rehabilitation, and conservation of nationally significant historic properties and collections. Eligible properties must be either currently: 1) individually listed as a National Historic Landmark or be a contributing property within a National Historic Landmark district, or 2) individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places for national significance (properties listed at the state or local significance are not eligible) or be a contributing property within a nationally significant National Register Historic District. Properties include buildings, sites, structures, and objects.” Find grant information here

State Capital Projects Grants-in-Aid Eligible projects are publicly owned buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. “The work must meet the following conditions: 1) the expenditure funded must be for a public purpose; 2) the project expenditures funded must be for land, buildings, or other improvements of a capital nature; 3) the work must fall within one of the prescribed categories; 4) the project must correspond with the purpose for which funding was issued, as set forth in the bill citation on page one (Laws of Minnesota, 2014, Chapter 295, Section 12); and 5) the work must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.” Find more grant information here.

History of Equal Rights Grants “Funded through the Historic Preservation Fund, the History of Equal Rights grant program preserves sites related to the struggle of all people to achieve equal rights in America. The History of Equal Rights grants are not limited to any specific group and are intended to include the broadest possible interpretation of sites associated with efforts to achieve equal rights.” This is a yearly grant with an application deadline in December. Eligible parties include states, government entities, non-profits, and federally recognized tribes. Buidlings must also be on the National Register of Historic Places. Find grant information here.

African American Civil Rights Grants “The African American Civil Rights Grant Program (Civil Rights Grants) documents, interprets, and preserves sites and stories related to the African American struggle to gain equal rights as citizens.” This grant program has one grant round a year, normally in late fall, and is open to a broad range of preservation projects, not just historic building preservation. Find more grant information here

Daughters of the American Revolution This may be a long shot, but if you happen to be a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, this grant is a great opportunity. “The DAR Historic Preservation Grants provide financial assistance for projects that preserve historic resources, sites, and other history-related projects. Examples include restoration of historic buildings; digitization or preservation of documents/records; preservation of historical items/artifacts; erection of new or rededication/relocation of existing historical markers; cemetery headstone and monument conservation, etc.” Find grant information here

Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program “The Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program is a new Historic Preservation Fund grant program created in fiscal year 2018 that supports subgrant programs that enable the rehabilitation of historic properties and rehabilitate, protect, and foster economic development of rural communities.” While this grant program is not accepting applications at the moment, it may be a good one to keep an eye on in the future. Find grant information here.

Jeffris Family Foundation “The Jeffris Family Foundation assists the development of historic sites for non-profit organizations in small towns and cities in the eight states of the Midwest: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.” More information about eligibility and grant application deadlines can be found here

This is not a comprehensive list, but hopefully, it’s helpful as a starting point for researching opportunities for your organization and historic asset. Any questions? Shoot us an email at localhistory@mnhs.org (or our colleagues at grants@mnhs.org).

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