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Bethlehem, Pa., March 6, 2008—Moravian College recently received funding to support the restoration of the Frank E. & Saba B. Payne Gallery, located on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus in historic downtown Bethlehem. Congressman Charles W. Dent’s support was integral to Moravian’s receipt of a $147,000 noncompetitive congressionally-directed grant from the National Parks Service.
During June of last year, Dent spoke in support of the funding on the House floor. He successfully advocated for the project which received a “Saving America’s Treasure” grant appropriation. “This is an American treasure worth saving,” Congressman Dent said. “Moravian College is the sixth-oldest college in the country. The Moravian community in downtown Bethlehem is the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, and the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus includes eleven Moravian buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. One of those buildings served as a hospital during the Revolutionary War, where Lafayette convalesced. When you walk the streets of Bethlehem, you see the roots of our nation’s industrial history but you also see great cultural heritage. The Moravian influence remains strong and Moravian College is the anchor of that heritage.”
Moravian's Payne Gallery, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, has been through a number of changes since it was built in 1890. The space was originally a gymnasium for the women of the Moravian Seminary. The building was converted into classrooms and studio space for the Art Department in 1963. The space was fully renovated into an exhibition gallery in 1982, and upgraded in 2001 to Smithsonian exhibition standards.
The Gallery will receive exterior improvements ranging from brick pointing, full restoration of all windows and wood features, and installation of weather-tight doors. Inside, the gallery will benefit from the installation of a full-time humidification system and a ceiling-mounted hot air duct system, as well as a refurbished ceiling and interior paint and flooring work. All of the work will be done under the guidance of the State Bureau for Historic Preservation; the work is scheduled for completion in 2009.
The Saving America’s Treasures is a series of grant programs for the protection of our nation’s endangered and irreplaceable cultural heritage. Grants are available for preservation and/or conservation work on nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts and historic structures and sites.
The remainder of this $450,000 restoration project will be funded by a $200,000 grant secured from a private foundation and college operating funds.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.