Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund

The MHC is accepting applications for Round 26 grants.

Application deadline is March 20, 2020.

Downloadable application, instructions, and workshop information.

Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin and the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) are pleased to announce Round 26 of the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund grant program. The MHC is now accepting applications for Round 26 grants. It is anticipated that funding for Round 26 will be in the range of the previous grant round, Round 25, which was funded at $800,000.

The Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund (MPPF) is a state-funded 50% reimbursable matching grant program established in 1984 to support the preservation of properties, landscapes, and sites (cultural resources) listed in the State Register of Historic Places. Applicants must be a municipality or nonprofit organization.

Historic cultural resources in public and nonprofit ownership and use frequently suffer from deferred maintenance, incompatible use, or are threatened by demolition. These important resources represent a significant portion of the Commonwealth's heritage. By providing assistance to historic cultural resources owned by nonprofit or municipal entities, the Massachusetts Historical Commission hopes to ensure their continued use and integrity. The program is administered in accordance with 950 CMR 73.00.

Please note that grant disbursement is subject to reauthorization of the capital accounts and the availability of sufficient allocated funds.

Eligible Activities

Pre-development Projects: Pre-development Projects: Requests may be submitted to conduct studies necessary to enable future development or protection of a State Register-listed property, such as feasibility studies involving the preparation of plans and specifications and historic structures reports. With planning projects, the architectural/engineering fees to conduct such studies are eligible for funding. Costs associated with the project sign, photography, and legal ads are also eligible for reimbursement.

Development Projects: Requests may be submitted for construction activities including stabilization, protection, rehabilitation, and restoration. Grant funding can only be used to cover costs of material and labor necessary to ensure the preservation, safety, and accessibility of historic cultural resources. Development of universal access is allowable as part of a larger project (ideally, no more than 30%). With construction or "bricks & mortar" projects, therefore, the architectural or engineering fees for any project work are not eligible for funding or use as matching share.

Allowable costs*: Overall building preservation, building code compliance, and barrier-free access where historic fabric is directly involved are eligible as well as the cost of a project sign, photography, recording of the preservation restriction, and legal ads. Eligible interior work will generally be limited to restoration based upon documented historic evidence. *Please contact Grants Division staff to review your scope of work or individual work items if you are unsure about eligibility.

Non-allowable costs: Projects consisting of routine maintenance, upgrading of mechanical systems (i.e., heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing), renovation of non-historic spaces, moving of historic buildings, or construction of additions will not be considered. For buildings actively used for religious purposes, projects involving the interior of buildings, stained glass windows or other religious symbols are generally not considered eligible. Architectural or engineering fees for any project work are not eligible for funding or use as matching share.

Acquisition Projects: Requests may be submitted to acquire State Register-listed properties that are imminently threatened with inappropriate alteration or destruction.

Amount of Request

Requests for pre-development projects can range from $5,000 to $30,000; requests for development or acquisition projects may range from $7,500 to $100,000. Work completed prior to grant award is ineligible for funding consideration.

A unique feature of the program allows applicants to request up to 75% of total construction costs if there is a commitment to establish a historic property maintenance fund by setting aside an additional 25% over their matching share in a restricted endowment fund.

Emergency funds are available at the Secretary's discretion for stabilization of resources considered in imminent danger. There are no deadlines for the submission of emergency fund requests.

State Register Listing

The State Register of Historic Places is the official list of the state's cultural resources deserving preservation consideration. The State Register is a compilation of eight different types of local, state, and federal designations. The most common designations on the State Register are National Historic Landmarks, National Register properties, and local historic districts.

The largest single category on the State Register is from National Register nominations. The MHC can only accept National Register nominations from communities that have completed a comprehensive survey of their historic properties. National Register listing involves substantial lead-time and therefore procedures for nominating eligible unlisted properties should be implemented well ahead of the next grants cycle. Properties can be listed individually or as contributing elements of a National Register District. To find out if your community has a comprehensive survey or to initiate the process of evaluating a property for listing on the National Register, contact the Preservation Planning Division of the MHC.

Applicants should contact the Massachusetts Historical Commission or their local historical commission to ascertain State Register status of the property before applying for grant funds.

Selection Criteria

  • Level of historical significance of the property
  • Potential for loss or destruction of the property
  • Administrative and financial management capabilities of the applicant
  • Appropriateness of proposed work for the property
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Extent of public support and benefit from users, professionals, and community leaders
  • Consistency with state and local preservation and community revitalization plans
  • Use of traditional materials and building techniques
  • Geographic distribution and first-time grant for community/project

Preservation Restriction (M.G.L. Ch. 184, ss.31-33)

The owner of a property funded for a development or acquisition project must enter into and record a preservation restriction and maintenance agreement in perpetuity. Owners of properties funded for predevelopment projects shall enter into a preservation restriction for a term of years, depending on the grant amount awarded.

MPPF Application and Application Instructions

The quickest way to apply is to download and save a copy of the Application to your computer, enter your information, print the Application, enter live signatures, and mail your Application. Usage rights for fill-in and save capability have been extended for the Application form; however, you must have Adobe Reader v8 or higher.

To receive a hard copy of the Application and Instructions by mail or if you have any questions, please call MHC's Grants Division at 617-727-8470 or email Paul Holtz.

MPPF Round 26 Application (PDF)
MPPF Round 26 Instructions (PDF)

Important Dates

Application Workshops: January 9 - February 11, 2020
Application deadline: March 20, 2020
Award selection: June 10, 2020
Mandatory Awardees LPC Workshop: July 9, 2020
Project end date: June 30, 2021

MPPF Application Workshops

Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend a workshop to learn more about the program. 

  • Thursday, January 9, 2020
    1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
    Prescott Building – Nashaway Meeting Room
    701 Main Street
    Lancaster, MA
  • Wednesday, January 15, 2020
    10:00 – 12:00 noon
    Massachusetts Historical Commission
    Massachusetts Archives Building
    220 Morrissey Boulevard
    Boston, MA
  • Thursday, January 23, 2020
    2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
    Lee Public Library
    100 Main Street
    Lee, MA
  • Tuesday, January 28, 2020
    2:00 – 4:00 pm
    Massachusetts Historical Commission
    Massachusetts Archives Building
    220 Morrissey Boulevard
    Boston, MA
  • Tuesday, February 4, 2020
    2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
    Wistariahurst Museum
    238 Cabot Street
    Holyoke, MA
  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020
    2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
    Sandwich Town Hall
    130 Main Street
    Sandwich, MA

Directions to MPPF Workshop Locations

Directions to the MHC
220 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA
By Car (free parking)
From the north: Rte 3/I-93 to exit 15 (Morrissey Blvd/JFK Library). Follow signs for UMass Boston and JFK Library.
From the west: Rte I-90/Mass Pike to I-93 South. Follow signs for UMass Boston and JFK Library.
From the south: Rte 3/I-93 to exit 14 (Morrissey Blvd/JFK Library). Follow signs for UMass Boston and JFK Library.
By MBTA
Take the MBTA Red Line to JFK/UMass station; there are two shuttle buses available in the parking lot. Bus #2 runs every 20 minutes and makes a direct stop at the Archives building and the JFK Library. Bus #1 runs every five minutes; get off at the UMass/Boston Harbor Campus administration building stop and walk to the Archives building (MHC's offices are located in this building), just across the parking lot from the JFK Library.

Directions to Wistariahurst Museum
238 Cabot Street
Holyoke, MA
From I-91 North: Take Exit 16 (Route 202/Soldier's Home exit). Bear right off the exit. You will be on Cherry Street–it turns into Beech Street. Proceed through 6 Traffic lights – Hillside Avenue, the Yankee Pedlar, Holyoke Hospital, Holyoke High School, Franklin Street & Sargeant Street. After the sixth light you will go through the Intersection of Hampshire and Beech Streets. Wistariahurst Museum is on the right. The building and grounds occupy an entire block; the property is surrounded by a stone wall with wrought iron fencing.
From I-91 South: Take Exit 16 (Route 202/Soldier's Home exit). Turn left at the end of the ramp. You will be on Cherry Street – it turns into Beech Street. Proceed through 6 Traffic lights – Hillside Avenue, the Yankee Pedlar, Holyoke Hospital, Holyoke High School, Franklin Street & Sargeant Street. After the sixth light you will go through the Intersection of Hampshire and Beech Streets. Wistariahurst Museum is on the right. The building and grounds occupy an entire block; the property is surrounded by a stone wall with wrought iron fencing.
From Amherst/South Hadley: Take 116 from Amherst through South Hadley and Mount Holyoke College to Route 202 (exit sign will read Holyoke). Continue on Route 202 around the rotary to Mueller Bridge. Cross Mueller Bridge and drive directly forward onto Linden Street. Stay on Linden Street until you reach Hampshire Street. Turn left onto Hampshire Street; drive two blocks. At the stop sign take a left onto Beech Street. Wistariahurst Museum is on the right. The building and grounds occupy an entire block; the property is surrounded by a stone wall with wrought iron fencing.

Please note, the Museum shares its space with immediately adjacent private residences. They ask that you observe and respect the private residential and parking areas (signs posted as appropriate), and help them maintain a tranquil environment for their neighbors.

Directions to Prescott Building
701 Main Street
Lancaster, MA
From Route 2: Take exit 35 – Route 70 South. Take a left at "T" junction with Route 117. Take a right where Route 70 continues south as Main Street. Take a left onto Harvard Road (a one-way street just after the Post Office).
From I-190: Take exit 7 – Route 117 East. After approximately 2 miles, bear right onto Route 70, which continues south as Main Street. Make a left onto Harvard Street (a one-way street just after the Post Office).
From I-495: Take exit 27 – Route 117 West. Continue past Bolton Orchards on the left (go through intersection). Take a left going south on Route 70 South/Main Street. Take a left onto Harvard Road (a one-way street just after the Post Office).

Directions to Lee Public Library
100 Main Street
Lee, MA
From East or West: Take Mass Turnpike to Exit 2 (Lee). Take a right off the ramp onto Route 20 West. Route 20 continues after a right turn onto Main Street. The library is halfway up the hill on the right after a block and a half. Parking lot is just past the library.
From S. Berkshire County: Take Rt. 7 North from Great Barrington into Stockbridge, then Rt. 102 West to junction with Route 20, then continue into Lee on Route 20 West and directions above.
From N. Berkshire County: Take Rt. 7 South from Pittsfield to Rt. 20 East into Lee. The library will be on your left after St. Mary's Church. Parking lot is just before the library building.

Directions to Sandwich Town Hall
130 Main Street
Sandwich, MA
From the North: Take I-93 S to MA-3 S to MA-130 N/Water St in Sandwich. Take exit 2 from US-6 E. Follow MA-130 N/Water St to Main St
From the West: Take US-6 E to I-195 E to MA-28 S in Bourne Take Sandwich Rd E to Main St in Sandwich. Decisions are made by the Massachusetts Historical Commission. All Commission meetings are open to the public.

Please note that grant disbursement is subject to reauthorization of the capital accounts and the availability of sufficient allocated funds.

The quickest way to apply is to download and save a copy of the Application to your computer, enter your information, and print. Usage rights for fill-in and save capability have been extended for the Application form; however, you must have Adobe Reader v8 or higher. To receive a hard copy of the Application and Instructions by mail please contact the MHC.

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