Monday, June 21, 2010

National Trust for Historic Preservation Awards Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center Foundation A Preservation Grant from The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors

Grant Will Go Towards Chesser-Williams House Project

The Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center Foundation was awarded a $10,000.00 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from its Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors. The seed grant funds will be used to assist in preserving the rare, historic folk art paintings found in the Chesser-Williams House.

"These funds provide the foundation for important preservation work nationwide”, said David Brown, executive vice-president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The grants go toward protecting the places that tell America’s story and they often trigger other preservation projects, further strengthening efforts to protect our country’s heritage and make our communities more livable."

The Chesser-Williams House is one of the oldest, surviving homes in Gwinnett County. The home was built in the mid 1800’s and still sits on its original foundation stones. The home was deeded to the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center Foundation in 2008. It will be re-located to the campus of the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center. Once restored, the Chesser-Williams House will be utilized as a teaching tool to showcase life in early Gwinnett.

The most significant feature of the home is the beautiful, hand painted folk art found on the exterior and interior. The artwork was painted in the late 1800’s and is attributed to an itinerant, German artist who was known to paint in exchange for room and board as he traveled from North Carolina to Texas.

“The Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center Foundation is honored to partner with the National Trust in preserving the Chesser-Williams House,” said Jason West, Director of Development. “The best way for people to gain an appreciation for the past is to make it relevant to their daily lives. Once completed, this house will provide Gwinnett and the surrounding area with an interpretative, educational experience of the past that can be seen and touched.”

In 1997, a generous gift from George P. Mitchell established the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors in honor of his wife. The fund provides assistance in the preservation, restoration, and interpretation of historic interiors. Once a year, Mitchell Fund grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 are awarded to non-profit groups and public agencies. Over $135,000 were awarded in 2010. Grants must be matched at least dollar for dollar with public or private funds.

For more information on the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors, visit: www.PreservationNation.org/resources/find-funding/grants.

About the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center Foundation

The Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center (Center) is a unique partnership among Gwinnett County, the Gwinnett County Public School System, the University of Georgia and the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center Foundation. The Center provides an opportunity for more than 40,000 students and 25,000 community members annually to participate in interpretative, hand-on field studies and community based educational programming. The Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center Foundation is a not for profit 501(c)(3), whose purpose to support the mission and vision of the Center and to assist in raising needed funding for its various educational programs and exhibits.


About the National Trust for Historic Preservation 


The National Trust for Historic Preservation (www.PreservationNation.org) is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, DC, eight regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.

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