Preservation and Access: Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections

Period of Performance

10/1/2015 - 2/28/2019

Funding Totals (outright + matching)

$300,000.00 (approved)
$300,000.00 (awarded)

Creating a Sustainable Preservation Environment

FAIN: PF-230283-15

Monhegan Museum (Monhegan, ME 04852)
Jennifer Pye (Project Director: December 2014 to June 2019)

An implementation project to improve energy efficiency through improved lighting and non-mechanical climate control in the museum’s seasonal displays, and optimize climate control systems in the museum’s off-season storage vaults for a collection of art, photography, and material culture that chronicles the history of Monhegan Island, Maine, from Native fishing sites to an art colony that flourished from the mid-1800s to the present.

The Monhegan Museum has developed a plan to address the serious environmental issues that pose a threat to the long-term care and conservation of the Museum’s varied and significant collection of artwork, documents, photographs, and artifacts chronicling the unique history and culture of Monhegan Island, Maine.  This implementation will focus on the use of energy efficient low impact lighting, effective non-mechanical climate-control options for the Museum’s seasonal display facilities; and optimizing the existing climate-control systems in the Museum’s off-season storage vaults using sustainable technologies with an eye towards increased energy-efficiency, and ultimately, reduced energy consumption.

Media Coverage

Author(s): Island Institute
Publication: Island Institute
Date: 8/25/2017
Abstract: MONHEGAN ISLAND, ME - On Monday, August 21st, state and federal representatives, island leaders, and community partners joined the Monhegan community at a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of a comprehensive upgrade to the island's energy systems. The culmination of countless hours of hard work, the project enables the community-owned Monhegan Plantation Power District (MPPD) to power the island with cleaner burning diesel-fired microturbines and a solar array. The new system is designed to improve reliability and safety of service and reduce generator emissions on the island. In addition, the Monhegan Museum of Art & History will use waste heat from the microturbines to provide dehumidification and heat for its world-class collection, and has implemented other energy efficiency measures as part of a larger initiative to lower energy costs, reduce the environmental impact of the museum, and improve preservation conditions.

Monhegan Island (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Jennifer Pye
Publication: Maine Archives & Museums Newsletter
Date: 11/1/2015
Abstract: Announcement of NEH SCHC Grant Award to Monhegan Museum

Associated Products

Island Energy Conference Monhegan Field Trip (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Island Energy Conference Monhegan Field Trip
Author: Scott Fitch
Author: Jennifer Pye
Abstract: The 2017 Island Energy Conference will feature a trip to Monhegan Island. This small island community, located 12 miles off the coast of Maine, is famous for its striking scenery, world-class birding, and singular character. Monhegan’s remote location creates a unique set of energy challenges, and residents have adopted innovative strategies to meet those challenges. Attendees will learn about recent upgrades to the island’s power station including its solar diesel hybrid system, as well as locally-driven energy efficiency and community planning efforts.
Date: 04/29/2017
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: The Island Institute works to sustain Maine's island and coastal communities, and exchanges ideas and experiences to further the sustainability of communities here and elsewhere.
Conference Name: 2017 Island Energy Conference

The Monhegan Museum: Celebrating 50 Years (Book)
Title: The Monhegan Museum: Celebrating 50 Years
Author: Edward L. Deci
Author: Emily R. Grey
Author: Jennifer G. Pye
Author: Robert L. Stahl
Editor: Robert L. Stahl
Abstract: THE MONHEGAN MUSEUM OF ART & HISTORY was founded in 1968 when automation of the Monhegan Light Station provided the opportunity to acquire the property and transform it into a venue to preserve and display the island's rich historical and cultural heritage. As Edward L. Deci, director of the museum for thirty-five years, writes: 'Remarkably, on this small, isolated island the human history has been extraordinary.' The museum now houses a collection of more than 30,000 objects, including nearly 1,500 works of art, many created by some of the giants of American art who have been associated with the 160 year history of the Monhegan art colony
Year: 2018
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Boston Athenaeum
Access Model: Print book
Publisher: Monhegan Museum of Art & History
Type: Edited Volume
ISBN: 9780692092811
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes