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Historic Newton Builds Educational Wing at Pre-Revolutionary House with $218,000 Cultural Facilities Grant

September 5, 2012

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)
Cynthia Stone, Historic Newton, 617-796-1450

MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council have provided a $218,000 Cultural Facilities Fund grant to the Newton Historical Society, which does business as Historic Newton and encourages the exploration of Newton in the context of American history. The organization will use grant funds to preserve and restore the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, which was built in 1734. Historic Newton will also add an educational wing to the Waverley Avenue home, one of only a few pre-Revolutionary houses remaining in Newton.

“By restoring the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, Historic Newton helps preserve open space and creates more opportunities for public programs focusing on the City’s history,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “This grant will help the organization disseminate interesting information about Newton's past and present.”

Historic Newton recently acquired the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds including period furniture from the Durant Homestead Foundation. The house, in near original condition, will be furnished with period vignettes, interactive displays and a family learning center to tell the stories of three families: the Durant family – active in pre-Revolutionary War activities – serves as models of civic engagement; the Kenrick family, which developed a nationally significant commercial nursery that impacted the nation’s horticultural economy in the early 19th century; and the Dewings, who were active in the historic preservation movement in the early 20th century. The interpretation extends to the grounds where specimen trees were planted by William Kenrick, one of the country's first horticulturists.

“We are especially grateful to MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council for this generous gift early in our capital campaign. We were able to leverage this gift as matching funds for another grant thereby increasing its value,” said Cynthia Stone, Director of Historic Newton.

MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council administer the Cultural Facilities Fund, an initiative of the Commonwealth to increase public and private investment in cultural facilities throughout the state. Created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2006, the Fund offers capital grants, feasibility and technical assistance grants, and systems replacement grants for eligible nonprofits engaged in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences. The Fund has awarded more than $44 million in grants to more than 200 cultural organizations across Massachusetts. For more information, visit the Massachusetts Cultural Council websites.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2011, MassDevelopment financed or managed more than 300 projects generating investment of $3.8 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 10,000 jobs (2,547 permanent and 8,129 construction), and build or rehabilitate more than 1,000 residential units.