GLOUCESTER, Mass., Feb. 1, 2017 – Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Committee of the Arts Board Member Catherine Ryan announced that Gloucester has been awarded a statewide grant of $6,620 from the Massachusetts State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) to help with conservation and historical education for a Civil War uniform coat.
“I’m proud of our city volunteers, students and residents who came together to help raise awareness of this American artifact that has history to our country and to our local community,” said Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “With this SHRAB grant, as well as Awesome Gloucester and online fundraising monies, the education and heritage will live on for years to come.”
The SHRAB program is an extension of grants awarded by the Massachusetts Sesquicentennial Commission of the American Civil War with supporting services from the Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin and Massachusetts Archives Department, which features a rigorous and competitive qualifying process. The program reviewed hundreds of applications across the Commonwealth, but the ten-page application overview designed by two young activists, Charles King and George King, was “enthusiastically” selected by Commonwealth Archivist Dr. John Warner and his committee.
Both Charles and George King joined Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Director of Communications and Constituent Services Christopher Sicuranza in late January for a conference call with Archivist Dr. Warner to reveal the grant award, which was the culmination of months of work for advocacy and awareness for the conservation project. In addition to the monies provided by the SHRAB program, Charles and George led efforts across Gloucester to raise awareness through local media and manage fundraisers through online sites and the Awesome Gloucester program.
Plans to create an innovative and attractive display case are currently being developed, but a special emphasis on mobility was factored into the funding request so that the artifact can be easily transported to other museums, including the aim of bringing the feature at a Smithsonian National Museum as part of a regional or national ambassador program.
About Civil War Coat
Over 80 years ago, the Civil War coat was installed in the then new Gloucester High School through Albert W. Bacheler who fought in the Civil War and later served as principal of Gloucester High from in 1884-1914, using the coat in his lessons. Years later, a former student , noted businessman and philanthropist, Roger Babson, donated an enshrinement memorial at the school to help preserve the coat, but over the years the coat’s condition became fragile. One parent, Kim Minnaugh, asked Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken to assist with recovery efforts, which gained assistance, support and financing through various offices including Chief Administrative Officer Jim Destino, City Archivist Sarah Dunlop, Veterans Affairs Director Adam Curcuru, Sawyer Free Library Assistant Valerie Marino, Catherine Ryan and The Committee for the Arts, Massachusetts Historical Commission Director of Preservation Planning Michael Steinitz, Superintendent Dr. Richard Safier, Principal Cook Gloucester High School, and Allison Cousins and Principal Lucey at O’Maley Innovation Middle School.