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Springfield Museums Announce Major Grants to Fund Renovations

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums have received two major grants to fund exterior renovations to the William Pynchon Memorial Building (formerly known as the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum).

Through $120,000 from the Cultural Facilities Fund of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and another $50,000 from the Beveridge Family Foundation Inc., the Museums will be able to repair and restore the building’s slate roof, replace its gutters, rebuild its shutters and dormers, and paint the building in accordance with historical-preservation standards. Renovations to the building have already commenced, with completion targeted for the spring of 2015.

The ultimate goal of the renovation is to reclaim the museum’s aesthetic appearance and prepare it for the installation of an exhibition honoring the life and work of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss). Working in close collaboration with community leaders and educators, the museums plan to design and build a literacy-based, interactive exhibition titled “The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss” that will make his works come alive for children and their families, while also helping to boost Springfield’s profile as a regional and national destination.

“The Pynchon Memorial Building is an integral component of the architectural landscape of the Quadrangle and cultural life of downtown Springfield, and we’re deeply indebted to the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Beveridge Family for their help in reviving this elegant building,” said Springfield Museums Vice President Kay Simpson.

Named after the founder of Springfield, the William Pynchon Memorial Building was built in 1927 to house the extensive collections of the Connecticut Valley Historical Society. Designed by Springfield architect Max Westhoff, the building exemplifies the Georgian Colonial Revival style that was popular in the early 20th century and reflected the prevailing attitudes about the importance of preserving and interpreting America’s colonial past. The central doorway has a ‘broken scroll’ pediment, pineapple centerpiece, and flanking pilasters, all characteristic hallmarks of Connecticut Valley homes of the 18th century.

The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund is a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

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