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Grant number like: PF-50272-12

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National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (Washington, DC 20007-3071)
Karen L. Daly (Project Director: December 2011 to December 2013)

Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections
Preservation and Access

[White paper]

$37,965 (approved)
$37,965 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2012 – 9/30/2013

Interdisciplinary Assessment and Plan for an Energy Efficient HVAC System for Dumbarton House

Planning for sustainable environmental conditions to preserve humanities collections in Dumbarton House, a Federal period historic house museum with holdings of furniture, fine and decorative arts, household goods, clothing and textiles, as well as books, manuscripts, and maps that document the history of Georgetown and Washington, D.C., in the early 1800s.

Dumbarton House tells the story of life in the City of Washington during the formation of the early republic and a new national identity. This project will explore and recommend sustainable approaches to collections care and preventive conservation for the house and its collections. Recent failures in the 21-year-old patchwork HVAC system demonstrate that a planned upgrade, based on a thoughtful review, not a crisis-response, is a critical institutional responsibility. Our advisors have voiced concern over our ability to efficiently and effectively manage the current system. An interdisciplinary team of sustainability, collections and energy experts will review environmental conditions records, and all assessments, and then explore and recommend a holistic approach to measured, responsive, system and operational changes. We expect requests for energy audits and a geothermal assessment. The team will formally recommend next-steps to the board for implementation.