Troy Historic Village stays on track for $25,000 grant match

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 30, 2018

 Elizabeth Thornburg, a curator at the Troy Historical Museum, holds up a rare, locally made quilt on loan from LaVere and Zola Webster, of Rochester Hills, for the “Threads” exhibit at the Troy Historic Village in August.

Elizabeth Thornburg, a curator at the Troy Historical Museum, holds up a rare, locally made quilt on loan from LaVere and Zola Webster, of Rochester Hills, for the “Threads” exhibit at the Troy Historic Village in August.

File photo by Donna Agusti

 This Appalachian quilt, made in the 1970s,  was part of the exhibit.

This Appalachian quilt, made in the 1970s, was part of the exhibit.

File photo by Donna Agusti

TROY — The Troy Historic Village is closing in on raising $25,000 from new memberships and donations that’s needed to claim a $25,000 match from the Humanities Access Grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Loraine Campbell, executive director of the Troy Historic Village, said they are about $3,000 away from the goal, which is needed by April 30. 

“We’re confident we’re going to get it,” Campbell said. 

The Troy Historical Society was one of only four cultural institutions in the state and 34 in the country to receive the new grant, awarded in December 2016.

Western Michigan University, the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History also received grants.

The National Endowment for the Humanities was created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, and it “supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation,” according to www.neh.gov.

“Humanities Access Grants support innovative projects that will help ensure that high-quality cultural programming is available to everyone,” National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman William D. Adams said in a prepared statement. “Americans of every age, race and economic status should be able to access the incredible opportunities that the humanities provide.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities will match funds raised by the Troy Historical Society, which operates and runs the Troy Historic Village. The Troy Historical Society raised $25,000 by April 30, 2017, that the endowment matched, and it must raise another $25,000 for another match, for a $100,000 total. 

The grant programs focus on research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities, including history. 

Campbell said there have been 100 new memberships over the past year, for a total of 408 individual and family memberships to the Troy Historical Society. 

The cost to join the Troy Historical Society is $35 per year for individuals and $50 per year for families. 

According to a National Endowment for the Humanities press release, the grant was awarded to allow “the Troy Historical Society to enhance the humanities programming at the Troy Historic Village for students on field trips and expand its ability to bring youth education programs into local schools free of charge to a seven-county area.”

By 2020, if goals are met, the Troy Historical Society will establish a permanent endowment fund, which is required by the grant, to provide long-term financial support for operations at the village. 

Campbell explained that the purpose of the grant funding is to increase sustainability and the number of members who attend village programs. 

“It’s working,” she said. 

 

Schools in
Campbell said that while school trips to the village remain robust at 13,000 students and chaperones each year, “that number cannot grow.”

That’s because of transportation issues many school districts face as a result of privatized transportation, along with budget and time constraints. Campbell noted that free field trip opportunities are available to schools through venues such as the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

Building on the success of school programs, the History to You program offered through the Troy Historic Village — described on the Troy Historic Village website as “time-traveling teaching” — takes history into the classrooms. Campbell described the outreach program as “history plus science, hands-on learning” for students in grades three through five. 

Attendance at village programs continues to grow, Campbell said. The average attendance at the Teas at Two is 80 people. She noted that the free open houses and a quilt exhibit offered last summer were popular. 

Campbell said renovation of the Niles Barnard House will provide 2,000 additional square feet for new programs at the village. 

The Troy City Council allotted $450,000 from the 2017-18 city budget for renovations of the Niles Barnard House. Campbell added that the Troy Historical Society funded the $874,142  cost for land acquisition, moving the home and initial stabilization. 

The Niles Barnard House — donated to the city in 2005 and moved to the grounds of the Troy Historic Village in 2010 — has remained shuttered since 2010. 

The city of Troy owns the land and the structures at the Troy Historic Village. The city maintains the buildings and grounds, and the Troy Historical Society runs and operates the village. 

The city defunded the village in 2009, during the economic downturn. In 2007-08, the operating budget for the village, funded by the city, was $500,000. The budget shrank to $270,000 in 2008-09. 

Restoration work at the Niles Barnard House is scheduled to start soon. 

There will be a free open house at the Troy Historic Village 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20, during schools’ midwinter break. It will feature historical fireside cooking demonstrations and live music, and a chance to play indoor games, create crafts and play outdoor games, weather permitting. There will also be hot chocolate and maple-flavored snacks.

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs helped to fund the event. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. Registration is not needed. For more information, call (248) 524-3570 or visit troyhistoricvillage.org. 

The Troy Historic Village is located at 60 W. Wattles Road.