Funding secured in the FY23 Omnibus for Historic Preservation and Rehabilitation at Old South Meeting House.
For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 9, 2023
Contact: Amanda Bertone
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BOSTON — Revolutionary Spaces is pleased to announce that Old South Meeting House has been awarded $480,000 in Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) as part of the bipartisan omnibus federal budget signed by President Joseph R. Biden on December 29, 2022.
These funds will be utilized to remediate damage from flooding that took place in 2021 and to ensure that Old South Meeting House, one of the nation’s most important historic sites, is protected against water infiltration from future severe weather events.
Old South Meeting House, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, was included in the CDS federal funding request submitted and championed by the offices of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA).
“I’ve been fighting hard alongside our Massachusetts delegation to bring in federal funding for the Commonwealth and I’m glad we were able to secure $480,000 for the Old South Meeting House,” said Senator Warren. “As a national landmark centrally located on the Freedom Trail and a part of the National Parks of Boston, we want to ensure the longevity of Old South Meeting House for the citizens of and visitors to Massachusetts.”
“I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in the congressional delegation to secure critical funding for such an important national treasure,” said Senator Edward J. Markey. “This preservation and conservation work will address critical climate control and efficiency measures at the Old South Meeting House, helping to ensure the building is maintained for generations to come.”
Water infiltration has been a recurring problem at Old South Meeting House, resulting in significant building damage. In 2021, flooding caused by Hurricanes Henri and Ida impacted the southwest portion of the lower-level basement, the upper-level basement foyer at the west below-grade entrance, and the center portion of the upper-level basement. The damage caused by this water infiltration rendered these spaces unusable and required Revolutionary Spaces to move parts of its collection of historic artifacts offsite.
“Old South Meeting House is one of the nation’s most important colonial sites and one of the earliest museums of American history,” said Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8), whose district includes the properties that Revolutionary Spaces stewards—Old South Meeting House and Old State House. “We need to continue to preserve such an important part of our founding history and home to many important public protests.”
To ensure that the building is water-tight, the existing foundation and basement wall will be repointed and waterproofed, exterior trench drains will be installed, voids beneath the exterior sidewalk will be filled, and a new sump pump will be added as a last line of defense. The federal funding will be matched 50/50 with public and private monies.
Members of Congress may request CDS funding for projects in their state each fiscal year that showcase ample local community support and, in most cases, fulfill a distinct local need. A small number of proposals are subsequently funded.
In making the announcement, Revolutionary Spaces President & CEO Nat Sheidley said, “We are immensely grateful that our partners in government recognized the importance of this critical work at Old South Meeting House. As we begin a year that will culminate with the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, we’re expecting to welcome thousands of visitors from around the world to our sites. Old South Meeting House stands at the very center of our nation’s founding story, and this project will help us to preserve its legacy.”
Revolutionary Spaces plans to pursue additional funding from the city, state, and federal government, as well as private donors, to conduct additional preservation and conservation work. For more information regarding this federal funding or press inquiries, contact
ABOUT REVOLUTIONARY SPACES
Revolutionary Spaces stewards the historic Old South Meeting House and Old State House as landmarks, museums, and gathering spaces for the open exchange of ideas and the continuing practice of democracy. Viewing history as a powerful tool for today, Revolutionary Spaces brings people together to explore the ongoing American struggle to create and sustain a free society.
About the Old State House: The 1713 Old State House served as the seat of government for the province of Massachusetts during the Revolutionary era. Today, it is a museum and historic site offering tours, exhibits, and public programs exploring Boston’s Revolutionary-era history.
About the Old South Meeting House: The 1729 Old South Meeting House was a Congregational meeting house and the largest gathering place for popular politics in Revolutionary Boston. Today it is a busy museum, treasured landmark, and active center for civic dialogue and free expression.
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