Hadley museum lands National Park Service grant

  • The historic Porter-Phelps-Huntington House in Hadley has received a $19,050 grant to document the history of slaves, indentured servants and other underrepresented people who once worked on the property and adjoining lands. file photo

  • The historic Porter-Phelps-Huntington House in Hadley has received a $19,050 grant to document the history of slaves, indentured servants and other underrepresented people who once worked on the property and adjoining lands. Submitted image

Staff Writer
Published: 8/5/2020 10:33:18 AM

The historic Porter-Phelps-Huntington House in Hadley has been awarded a $19,050 grant from the National Park Service that will allow for additional research and documentation of people who worked on the property and surrounding land in the 18th century, especially enslaved people, indentured servants, and prisoners of war.

The funding, known as an Underrepresented Communities grant, has actually been made to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which will work with the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Foundation to update and expand existing National Register documentation for the museum property, just off Route 47 near the Connecticut River.

The overall goal, says museum Executive Director Susan J. Lisk, is to provide a broader and more inclusive history of the site, which dates to 1752, when Moses and Elizabeth Porter built the first part of the house.

In a statement, Lisk noted that Porter-Phelps is a “small museum” that’s been shut down by the pandemic, leaving the facility to rely on “donations and small grants to keep us afloat this year, so this announcement has come at a critical moment and is a wonderful morale booster.”

Lisk says existing documentation of the museum site doesn’t include the stories “of traditionally underrepresented people who lived, worked, and died here more than 200 years ago, as well as subsequent generations whose varied careers and interests reflect broader social and historical trends in the country.”

The National Park Service grant will also fund research about the nearby 19th-century Phelps Farm, on the other side of Route 47, which Lisk says has “its own rich history that has never been thoroughly researched or documented.”

The grant for Porter-Phelps is one of just 18 the National Park Service has made this year through its Underrepresented Communities program, Lisk noted. The Porter-Phelps-Huntington House itself interprets rural New England life through the history of six generations of an extended family that owned the property from the 1750s into the 20th century.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached as spfarrer@gazettenet.com.




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