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Posted on: February 23, 2023

Burlington County Commissioners approve record sum in grants for local history groups, projects

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Burlington County will distribute a record-high $78,861 in local historic preservation grants this year to help support operations, projects and special events.

“Burlington County is home to history spanning hundreds of years from the indigenous people and early Colonials through the Industrial Revolution and fight for Civil Rights,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “Our historic sites and artifacts are among our county’s most treasured assets and these grants will support organizations committed to preserving and showcasing the history that makes Burlington County so special.

This year’s grants well exceed the $47,574 in grants awarded by the Commissioners last year and the total is more than double the $31,716 awarded in 2021.

Funding for the grants comes from the New Jersey Historical Commission and its County History Partnership Program to assist existing and emerging local history organizations and other nonprofits that undertake history projects and programs.

Burlington County’s 12 grant recipients were recommended by a peer panel within the County Division of Parks and the awards will be used for a variety of purposes and projects, including general operations, development of museum exhibits, interpretive signs for historic sites and other history projects.

The Burlington County Commissioners voted to approve the panel’s recommendations during their meeting on Wednesday.

The awards include one first-time applicant: The Burlington County Library. The other awardees have previously received County grants for history projects.

The complete list of history grants is as follows:

  • Bordentown Historical Society, Bordentown: $8,500 to assist with the development and installation of interpretive signs along the Camden and Amboy Railroad rights-of-way in Bordentown City. The signs will detail historic sites and topics, such as the Farnsworth Avenue Stone Arch Bridge, the Bordentown Cut and Causeway, the John Bull Steam Engine and other railroad history facts.
  • Burlington County Library, Westampton: $8,500 to support the development of an inventory of the Library’s New Jersey Room Collection and a centralized space on the library’s website for genealogy and local history information.
  • Delanco History Board, Delanco: $4,800 to develop and install interpretive signs at the Union Avenue Triangle site and the 1898 Delanco Camp Meeting site. The signs would focus on the Camp Meeting’s history and other local history topics, including the Delanco Village Green, the First Presbyterian Church, Hickory Street School, first train station and firehouse, sawmill and shipyard.
  • Evesham Township, Evesham: $5,138 to support the development and installation of interpretive signs detailing the history of the Lenni-Lenape, the Old Milford Burying Ground and an 1884 unmarked African American cemetery.
  • Evesham Historical Society, Evesham: $8,158 to hire a consultant to work with volunteers to catalogue, digitize and preserve materials acquired from Edna Wirth collection, including photographs, property descriptions and genealogies. 
  • Mansfield Historical Society, Mansfield: $10,000 to support the repairing, cleaning and conservation of an 1861 34-star flag presented to Col. William Napton, of the New Jersey Volunteers. The flag will be displayed at the Mansfield Township Museum in the Township Municipal Building.
  • The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in The State of New Jersey, Westampton: $3,454 to support the implementation of sensory friendly activities at Peachfield, a historic home in the township.
  • Revolutionary War Alliance of Burlington County, Mount Holly: $4,500 to support a re-enactment of the Battle of Iron Works Hill in December and a related June event focused on the British retreat from Philadelphia. The events will feature reenactors, speakers, authors and children’s activities.
  • Riverside Historical Society, Riverside: $10,000 to conserve pieces in their collection, including historical maps, photographs and paintings for display in the organization’s new museum. Funds will also be used to develop programming about the community immigrant population, including guided tours, a history report and awards ceremony.
  • Tabernacle Historical Society, Tabernacle: $6,500 for a structural survey of the 1861 Knight-Pepper House and for research on Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans buried in the Tabernacle Cemetery. Funds will also be used for website and history brochure updates and history programming.
  • Timbuctoo Advisory Council, Westampton: $2,000 to support Black History Month program, Juneteenth celebration, Timbuctoo Day and other programs that build awareness about Timbuctoo, the 19th settlement founded by freed and escaped slaves.
  • Timbuctoo Historical Society, Westampton: $7,311 to assist with website enhancement and educational materials. Funds will also be used to identify and transcribe 19th century newspaper articles about Timbuctoo and to support educational events next to Timbuctoo Cemetery.

Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks, said these investments in historical preservation and programing will strengthen communities and help grow local economies.

“Our history helps define us and these organizations will use this funding to preserve and share that history for the benefit of current and future generations,” said Eckel. “That alone is worth the investment, but we also know that historic sites and museums help attract visitors and produce economic benefits for our county and local communities. It’s a win-win for everyone and I’m thrilled to see our County continue to help preserve and promote our county’s history.”

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