Mayor Michael J. Sullivan and City Historian Kate N. Thibodeau were thrilled to announce today Wednesday, September 10, at City Hall, that the National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a grant of $399,950 to the City of Holyoke and Wistariahurst Museum, who in partnership with Holyoke Heritage State Park, the Children’s Museum at Holyoke, the Holyoke History Room of the Holyoke Public Library and Enchanted Circle Theater, will develop a city-wide exhibit and heritage tourism plan for Holyoke called Creating Holyoke.
Creating Holyoke's total budget of $692,970 will allow Wistariahurst Museum and partner organizations to finalize collaboration with humanities scholars and advisers, finish design and fabrication of long term museum exhibits in three locations, educational theater components, install walking/driving tour panels and way finding signs, develop teacher guides and curriculum materials, develop a website portal, and implement community programs in the humanities.
National Endowment for the Humanities panelists commented that Creating Holyoke is “a model for collaboration of museums within one city and a model for interpreting urban history.” They applauded the project for examining broad themes in the growth of American cities over time and that “Holyoke’s history addresses central themes and issues in American history.” The project also won praise for weaving together “a rich interpretation” from three disparate exhibitions, for its varied and “imaginative” range of citywide programs and online resources, and for its strong scholarship. The panelists expressed strong support for this “extraordinarily comprehensive project.” The Endowment shares the panel’s enthusiasm for this project, and applauds its effective use of local history as a lens for viewing a larger national story.
The Holyoke Public Library History Room & Archive will play a core role in supplying primary research sources, and historical artifacts for reference, in addition to preparing online documentation access. Penni Martorell, Curator/Archivist is excited to be involved in the beginnings of such and exciting project that will lead more Holyoke citizens to an understanding the city's history.