NHA Announces Major Rehab Of Fair Street Research Library

Nantucket Current •

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The Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) will be conducting a major restoration project at its Research Library, located at 7 Fair Street, the non-profit announced on Tuesday. The project will be funded by the Nantucket Community Preservation Committee (CPC), pending approval at the upcoming Annual Town Meeting.

“We greatly appreciate the continued support and generosity of the CPC and their recognition of the importance of this work," the NHA's Gosnell Executive Director Niles Parker said. "If approved, this restoration project will address critical repairs to the exterior façade of the Research Library and include interior upgrades, all while ensuring the restoration work is physically compatible with this important historic building."

The Research Library and the adjacent Friends Meeting House will close to visitors for the season on April 1 in preparation for this potential project. The timeframe of this closure will run from April 1 all the way through November of 2023.

"Although we don’t like closing our doors to visitors at any time of the year, this work is vital and will be conducted in a timely fashion to ensure visitors are welcome back through our doors as soon as possible,” Parker said.

The project will include conservation and stabilization of the historic concrete façade, as well as replacement of windows, doors, an entryway roof, installation of a new HVAC control system, fire suppression system, and a water and drainage system. There will also be some electrical relocation work completed. This project will ensure the Research Library is structurally sound and guarantee the conservation and security of the collection housed within the building.

The Research Library is significant in the history of the development of reinforced concrete and was one of the first poured-in-place concrete structures built in the United States in 1904 to house the NHA’s collection in a fireproof building. As an early adapter of this building technology, it is the second reinforced concrete structure in Massachusetts after Harvard Stadium and the first reinforced concrete structure in the state, if not the United States, with a flat roof.

Today, the building serves as the primary research center for local and visiting researchers. It is an important collection storage center for the association.

Throughout this closure, Research Library staff will still be responding to inquiries at library@nha.org and accommodating research appointments on a case-by-case basis. To learn more about the Research Library, please visit here.

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