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For Immediate Release 
February 28, 2005
Contact: Doug Dunbar
207-626-8404

Grants to be Awarded for Preservation of Historical Records
Secretary of State Warns that Such Efforts are Threatened by Proposed Cuts in Federal Funding

AUGUSTA, MAINE -- Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced on Monday that the Maine Historical Records Advisory Board will meet Wednesday, March 2nd, at 9:30 a.m. in the Maine State Archives conference room in Augusta to consider grant applications from ten historical societies, libraries and museums. In making the announcement, Secretary Dunlap noted that this ongoing effort to secure and manage Maine's historical documents and artifacts is threatened by the budget recently released by President Bush.

Funded with support from the National Historical Publications Commission (NHPRC), an agency of the National Archives, these grants will help the custodians of historical records to assess, catalog, preserve and provide secure access to vital documents of state and local history. In addition to preserving links to Maine's heritage and way of life, the training and cataloging funded by these grants will help to protect documents from theft and destruction.

The grant requests to be considered cover a broad and diverse range of historical records, including photographs and oral histories of the St. John Valley, manuscripts at the Maine Military Museum in Augusta, records of a Grange in Fairfield, and materials documenting the life of Shakers in New Gloucester.

As a result of this important preservation effort, we are providing a meaningful resource for students, educators and researchers while reducing the chance that these historic documents will be removed from the public domain. I'm concerned, however, that budget proposals at the federal level may put an end to this valuable work,” Secretary of State Matt Dunlap stated.

The Historical Records Board is an independent agency associated with the Maine State Archives. A substantial portion of its financial resources comes from the National Historical Publications Commission (NHPRC), whose funding was eliminated in the President's budget proposal.

“Links to our past, once lost, are gone forever. That loss is more than a blow to our culture and traditions, it's a diminishment of knowledge, information and insight that could prove vitally important to today's society or future generations. It is shortsighted and unwise to abruptly eliminate this funding,” Secretary Dunlap added.