On the Bright Side of History
Installation of the solar energy system at Maine Historical Society
In 2017, a $300,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)—and additional assistance from Jane's Trust and Horizon Foundation—made possible the installation of a solar energy system at Maine Historical Society's offsite collections management facility. This state-of-the-art edifice is home to many incomparable collections, including materials from Bangor Theological Seminary, Central Maine Power, and Great Northern Paper.
Specifically designed to help museums and libraries operate more sustainably, the grant is part of $36.6 million given out by NEH to support 212 humanities projects administered by institutions and independent scholars across 42 states—MHS is one of just three Maine organizations awarded funding. This is the first time the NEH has funded a solar project designed to support the long-term preservation of historical materials.
Installed in April by ReVision Energy, the 126,000 kw/hr solar installation generates enough electricity to cover the needs of climate-control—an energy-intensive necessity for the long-term preservation of art, artifacts, manuscripts and other materials—as well sufficient power to subsidize usage at MHS's Congress Street campus. Furthermore, the facility allows for the freeing of nearly 18,000 square feet of space at the campus, and increases MHS's ability to engage and serve the people of Portland and communities throughout Maine with expanded programs, services, and outreach.
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