Three Maine museums have received nearly $1 million in federal funding to improve storage at the Monhegan Museum and Maine Historical Society and reinstall the collection at the Portland Museum of Art.

The PMA received $400,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities; Monhegan and the historical society each received $250,000, with the condition that each raises $50,000 in matching grants.

The grants are among $36.6 million spread out among more than 200 cultural institutions in the United States.

The Portland museum will use the money to continue its ongoing effort to reinstall its collection of fine and decorative art. The effort has begun and will continue into 2017, said museum Director Mark Bessire. The effort involves the digitalization of the collection, publication of a museum catalog and construction of an art-study room. The grant will further that effort by providing the resources for the curatorial staff to reconsider and reinstall art throughout the museum, he said.

“To receive such a grant enables us to tell our community that a national federal organization is recognizing the great work of the PMA,” Bessire said. “They understand the narrative of our collection and want to see it communicated to all of our audiences, particularly the role Maine has played in American art history, in the past and in the present.”

Monhegan and Maine Historical will use the money to improve storage and the care of art. Monhegan is working to improve energy efficiency throughout its display area and better climate control systems in its off-season storage vaults. The museum sits atop the island off the coast of Maine and is subject to harsh weather conditions year-round. During the off-season, the museum transports art to a vault that is separate from the museum. The grant will improve the climate systems in both buildings.

Maine Historical will use the money to install a solar energy system at the off-site storage facility it shares with the Portland Public Library. The two Portland cultural institutions jointly purchased and retrofitted an industrial building on Riverside Street to house artifacts and collections. The NEH grant allows them to continue that process.

Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

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