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By Cody Hefner 

Freedom Center

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center was recently awarded a substantial grant to support its collection and preservation of stories and artifacts critical to our shared American experience. The grant totals half-a-million dollars ($500,000) from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service, and will support the expansion of the Freedom Center’s collections storage space.

The grant’s purpose is to provide Historic Preservation Funds “to a State, Tribe, local government, institute of higher education, or nonprofit to complete a project that assists in the preservation of a historic resource,” helping meet the goals of the National Historic Preservation Act. As the Freedom Center begins planning for its first substantial refresh since it opened in 2004, the museum plans to double its collections storage area to support future museum operations. The $500,000 grant from the Historic Preservation Fund will be focused on three key collections priorities: collections storage, growth and access. The grant will help create a sustainable, research-level archival system at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, making the institution an international destination for collecting, preserving and researching African American ancestry in Ohio and beyond. The expansion will also create a dedicated space for archival artifacts and documents and a reading room for visiting researchers.

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“As we expand the stories and voices that we can bring from the silence of history to the forefront of our American experience, this generous grant from the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior will ensure those voices are robust and endure,” said Woodrow Keown, Jr., president & COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “This significant investment by the National Park Service is an investment in these stories, in this history and in the work we are doing to preserve it.”

The Freedom Center is now beginning the process to identify the right partner to facilitate the architectural expansion of the collections storage space and anticipates completing the project by 2026.

The $500,000 grant is from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

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