The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) is the country’s largest nonprofit conservation facility serving cultural, research and educational institutions, as well as individuals and private organizations. Its mission is to provide expertise and leadership in the preservation of the world’s material culture. Learn more at ccaha.org.
Online Campaign to Save Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Launches Today
Statewide initiative from the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts announces 10 historic objects to be saved and celebrated through public crowdsourced support at PATop10Artifacts.org
PHILADELPHIA – September 19, 2013 – A six-week online campaign to save Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts, an innovative experiment in nonprofit crowdfunding, launches today. Through midnight of November 1, the public is encouraged to support the preservation of 10 fascinating historic objects from every region of the state through voting, sharing and donating at PATop10Artifacts.org. From historic manuscripts, books and films to 18th-century butterfly specimens and a wig worn by a congressman instrumental in abolishing slavery, each of these artifacts illuminates an important facet of the nation’s history.
Participating organizations are:The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, American Philatelic Society, Carnegie Museum of Art, Chester County Historical Society, LancasterHistory.org, Mennonite Heritage Center, Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, and Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center.
Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts, a statewide initiative created by the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) – the largest nonprofit conservation center in the country – began in January with a statewide call to nonprofit institutions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to nominate artifacts in need of conservation. An independent review panel of collections care professionals chose the top 10 artifacts from 60 submissions, based on their historical and cultural significance and need for conservation.
“Our goal with this campaign is to showcase the state’s historic treasures and the need to preserve and protect our heritage for future generations,” says Ingrid Bogel, Executive Director of CCAHA. “We’ve created this program to give institutions a new platform through which to share their stories and to give people a chance to show their support by voting as many times as they’d like, sharing their favorite artifacts with friends through social media and supporting the conservation of these artifacts with online donations.”
Voting begins on Thursday, September 19 on PATop10Artifacts.org and ends on Friday, November 1 at midnight. At the conclusion of the campaign, institutions that meet their fundraising goals will begin the conservation process, and the artifact garnering the most votes will be named the winner of The People’s Choice Award. In the spirit of friendly competition, institutions throughout the state will be rallying their communities to express their support for these unique objects and the history they represent.
The campaign for Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts issupported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and by The Beneficial Foundation. The project is part of CCAHA’s Save Pennsylvania’s Past initiative, a multi-year, statewide effort to protect and preserve the millions of objects and historic artifacts that shape the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s history and define our nation. For more information about the initiative and each institution’s artifact, please visit PATop10Artifacts.org.
Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts
Oldest Butterfly Specimens in the Americas Display Rare Preservation Technique
Institution: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Hometown: Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
Why It’s Important: Two 18th-century butterfly specimens represent the oldest entomological specimens in the Americas and provide an example of an ingenious early method of preservation.
Earliest known U.S. Free Frank Signed by President George Washington
Institution: American Philatelic Society
Hometown: Bellefonte, Centre County
Why It’s Important: Signed by George Washington, this letter is the earliest known instance of a special privilege extended to the head of state of the new nation.
Film Archive Celebrates the Rich History of Pittsburgh’s African-American Community
Institution: Carnegie Museum of Art
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
Why It’s Important: Footage from African-American photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris chronicles daily life in Pittsburgh’s black neighborhoods in the 1930s and ’40s, providing rare, intimate glimpses into a bygone world.
Visitors’ Book Preserves Support for Heroic Abolitionist Imprisoned in Philadelphia
Institution: Chester County Historical Society
Hometown: West Chester, Chester County
Why It’s Important: Passmore Williamson’s visitors’ book contains the signatures of Frederick Douglass and hundreds of notable supporters of the imprisoned Quaker, a hero of the abolitionist movement.
The Wig of Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, Fierce Opponent of Slavery
Hometown: Lancaster, Lancaster County
Why It’s Important: Wig worn by Congressman Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868), passionate abolitionist, advocate for the 13th Amendment and recent subject of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.
16th-Century Family Bible Illuminates Pennsylvania Mennonite History and Folk Art
Institution: Mennonite Heritage Center
Hometown: Harleysville, Montgomery County
Why It’s Important: Froschauer Bible from 1536 with rare illuminated Fraktur bookplate and genealogical record that documents the flight from religious persecution by the Bachmans, a family of Mennonite immigrants.
Garments Handmade by Faith Community for Founder Showcase Early American Industry
Institution: Old Economy Village
Hometown: Ambridge, Beaver County
Why It’s Important: A ceremonial coat and cap made for George Rapp (1757-1847), leader of the Harmonists, showcases the craftsmanship of this community known for its successful industrial enterprises.
Legendary Sculpto-Pictorama by Contemporary Artist Celebrates Philadelphia’s Place in History
Institution: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Hometown: Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
Why It’s Important: The figures from Philadelphia Cornucopia, a mixed media environmentcreated in 1982 by Red Grooms, are a unique celebration of the city’s 300-year history.
Bust of Lincoln Carved in Pennsylvania Anthracite by African-American Artist
Institution: Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum
Hometown: Scranton, Lackawanna County
Why It’s Important: Sculpted by noted African-American artist C. Edgar Patience, the bust of President Lincoln is made from anthracite coal, one of Pennsylvania’s most valuable natural resources.
One-of-a-Kind Victorian Needlework Provides Glimpse Into Changing Roles of Women
Institution: Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center
Hometown: Pennsburg, Montgomery County
Why It’s Important: A whimsical fool-the-eye table setting crafted by an unidentified Pennsylvania German woman in the late 1800s illuminates women’s changing roles and forms of artistic expression.
How to Support Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts
- Vote– Click to vote, and vote often, for the institution or artifact you are supporting.
- Share – Click to share your vote on Facebook and Twitter via PATop10Artifacts.org.
- Support – Send a donation of any size to help conserve these historic treasures.
Donations are 100% tax-deductible and will be received by the institution at the end of the voting period. All donations, regardless of initial funding goal, will go toward the preservation of the artifacts. Each vote, share and individual donation will count as one point toward the overall score for the People’s Choice Winner. Voting begins at 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 19 and will end at midnight on Friday, November 1.
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