Morris Museum Receives Pandemic Recovery & Preservation Grants

Morris Museum Receives Pandemic Recovery & Preservation Grants

$186,939 Historic Preservation Grant & $15,000 Pandemic Grant

The Morris Museum was handed a $15,000 check today by the Morris County Board of County Commissioners under the Morris County Small Business Grant Program, which is assisting both nonprofits and small businesses with pandemic related losses and expenses.

“Along with this small business program check, I have the pleasure to inform you today that the Morris County Board of County Commissioners last night unanimously approved a Historic Preservation Trust Fund grant for the museum for nearly $187,000,” said Commissioner Director Tayfun Selen as he met with museum Executive Director Andrew Sandall.

The museum is located in the “Twin Oaks Mansion” in Morris Township, which had been the residence of Peter H.B. Frelinghuysen, president of P. Ballantine & Sons Brewery. Designed by the famous architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, the Neo-Georgian style home was constructed in 1913 and is on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.

The grant for $186,939 will help the museum to continue restoring the 1o9 year old slate roof, for which a $250,000 grant was approved by the Commissioners and the Historic Preservation Trust Fund program last year.

The $15,000 small business grant is designed to assist in part with operating expenses following a four-month shutdown of the museum due to the pandemic.

“Thank you, very much. We appreciate this,” said Sandall. “Museums everywhere have been at about 60 percent of their usual membership and visitation since the pandemic. We think it’s plateauing now. There is still some hesitancy among some about going into theaters and museums, although as you can see here, we are spacious and there is plenty of room for people to move about.”

The nonprofit operation continued to suffer a loss in revenue since last year due to lowered admissions, fewer theater ticket sales, suspension of education programming and rentals for private events, and a one-third drop in membership enrollment. However, the museum was filled with sound today, as three-busloads of young students early toured the facility.

Director Selen presented the check surrounded by pieces of a current and popular exhibit: “A Cache of Kinetic Art: Timeless Movements.” It is the fourth and final installment launched in 2018 for artists who responded to a challenge to connect contemporary audiences with 19th-century mechanical music, automata, and timekeeping technologies.

The Morris County Small Business Program, launched on Valentine’s Day with $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, was created by the Commissioners to provide grants of up to $15,000 to reimburse small businesses and non-profit organizations for specific pandemic recovery expenses incurred on or after March 3, 2021. That timeline was established under the federal funding act.

To date, $1.9 million remains in the program and small businesses are being urged to apply. There is no cost to file an application and no obligations for small business owners other than to provide the required financial documents to qualify.

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