DAR Historic Preservation Grants

Written by: Leslie Miller, National Chair, Historic Preservation Committee
August 27, 2019

It is exciting to share details of the new DAR Historic Preservation Grants – an opportunity for local organizations to receive support for history-related projects … and for the DAR to receive public relations benefit from partnerships benefiting  this core mission area.

Historic Preservation has been one of our three areas of service (the others being Education and Patriotism) since the inception of our Society, when efforts were made to collect and preserve artifacts related to the founding of our nation. DAR chapters and states have sought to educate the public and preserve our nation’s history by placing markers and monuments to commemorate important chapters of American history around the world.

However, the National Society never had a dedicated funding mechanism to specifically support historic preservation projects in local communities. As the nation’s 250th anniversary approaches, it was decided within the VanBuren administration (at the recommendation of the Long Range Planning Commission) to modify the Special Projects Grants Committee to become the DAR Historic Preservation Grant program.

Begun during the Wright Administration, the Special Projects Grants funded more than $2.1 million through 410 grants since 2011, creating positive DAR exposure by partnering with community organizations. During most funding cycles, Historic Preservation grants exceeded those in the other mission areas of Education and Patriotism. Now, up to $250,000 will be awarded annually to support local history through the DAR Historic Preservation Grants program, which is now funded by members’ generous support of the General Fund. 

The DAR Historic Preservation Grants will provide financial support for local community projects that preserve historic resources, sites and other history-related projects. Examples include restoration of historic buildings; digitization or preservation of documents/records; preservation of historical items/artifacts; erection of new or rededication/relocation of existing historical markers; cemetery headstone and monument conservation, etc.  Additional consideration is provided to projects related to the Colonial-through-the-Federal periods, though projects from all eras are welcome to apply.

Each application must be accompanied by a DAR chapter or state organization sponsorship letter. The maximum grant amount is $10,000 and smaller projects are encouraged. In order to assure ultimate completion of the project, all other funding (beyond that requested via this grant) must be already firmly secured.  Matching funds are required. Projects should be tangible and long-lived, with lasting historic preservation benefit.

It has never been more important to support efforts to preserve and celebrate our nation’s – and your community’s – history. Past Historic Preservation grants have been awarded to map and restore cemeteries, conserve paintings, digitize documents, restore markers, conserve flags and historically significant textiles, restore stained glass windows, and repair and restore historic buildings.  For example, the Presbyterian Congregation of Newtown, Pennsylvania, received $5,000 for the restoration of five Revolutionary War era gravestones.

As was the case for the former Special Projects Grants, a percentage of the projects awarded grants will be to those submitted for properties owned by DAR chapter and state societies. For examples, the Piankeshaw Chapter in New Albany, Indiana, received a $7,000 grant for its historic 1814 Scribner House; the oldest home in New Albany, it was in need of a new roof to safeguard the newly restored interior. The Attleboro Chapter in Attleboro, Massachusetts, received funding for the Peck House, considered to be one of the finest examples of pre-Revolutionary War homes in Massachusetts, for window restoration.

How can NSDAR provide support to a historic preservation project in your community? Application instructions and forms can be found on both the public and Members’ DAR websites. The DAR Historic Preservation Grant Application may be accessed herealong with instructions here. Questions may be directed to Carol Felsen, Historic Preservation Grants National Vice Chair at hpgrants@nsdar.org. A DAR Historic Preservation Grants flyer can be downloaded from both websites and printed to share with chapters and potential grant applicants.  Find more information in the National Information Packet (NIP), on the Historic Preservation Committee website, and by participating in the upcoming DAR Leadership Training webinar!

Sharing and promoting our mission through DAR Historic Preservation Grants is a perfect way to Rise and Shine for America!  

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Historic Preservation,
Education, Patriotism

Through restoring historic properties, funding scholarships and supporting our troops, DAR makes a difference in local communities.