A $96,000 grant from the Southeastern New England Educational and Charitable Foundation to Salve Regina University’s program in Cultural and Historic Preservation will fund student projects at two historic mill sites in Rhode Island, will expand the program’s 3D digital documentation capabilities, will launch an annual public lecture series, and will help establish six new paid internships for Salve students over the next two years.
The gift was publicly announced today during a check presentation in the Noreen Stonor Drexel Program in Cultural and Historic Preservation laboratory. The gathering included university administrators, CHP faculty and students, and the Foundation’s directors, Stephen Leal and Sharon Grills Jackson of East Lyme, Conn., and Bernard A. Jackvony, Esq. of East Greenwich.
Sharon Grills Jackson, president of the Foundation, is the daughter of the late Richard A. Grills of Ashaway. Mr. Grills, former owner and operator of the textile mill Bradford Dyeing Association, had a lifelong interest in historic preservation and environmental conservation. Through his foresight, and an inherited love of both avocations, Sharon Grills Jackson is pleased to be able to continue his work for the next generation of students and educators who will preserve both our historic and natural resources.
“My father had a keen interest and excitement in finding ways to restore the past glory of our rich, Rhode Island history,” Mrs. Jackson said. “I have found that same energy and excitement in our new partners at Salve Regina University.”
Her husband, Stephen Leal Jackson, who received his Ph.D. in Humanities from Salve Regina in 2015, is a lifelong student of history. It was he who introduced the Foundation to the idea of partnering with Salve’s Cultural and Historic Preservation program. “The perfect fit of the mission of the Foundation and the goals of Salve’s Cultural and Historic Preservation program was uncanny. This was a concord of two like-minding group who were both excited about reaching the same goal” said Dr. Jackson, a director of the Foundation who also serves as an adjunct faculty in history and ethics at Johnson & Wales University in Providence.
The grant will fund the following CHP program initiatives at Salve Regina:
Annaquatucket and Daniel Drive Mill Sites Project
Over a two-year period beginning in the spring semester 2018, Salve CHP students will complete National Register of Historic Places nominations for two 19th century textile mill sites – the Annaquatucket and Daniel Drive mills – in North Kingstown. The mills, built during the first half of the 1800s and in now ruins, have never been documented by historians, preservationists, or archaeologists.
“In addition to their historical significance, these sites can serve as real world laboratories for teaching Salve Regina students critical skillsets associated with preservation careers,” Marcoux said.
Students, working under the supervision of architectural historian Dr. Jeroen van den Hurk, assistant professor at Salve, will conduct background historical research to provide a context to understand the sites, as well as to identify specific information about the mills, their owners, and the people who worked there; they will fully document the sites through measured architectural drawings, photographs, and total station maps; and they will synthesize this information into a formal nomination.
Ultimately, the completed National Register of Historic Places nomination – which will be curated by the Library of Congress – plus two to three undergraduate theses and a scholarly article will all be made available on the Foundation’s website and serve as the focal point for the Foundation’s emphasis on historic preservation in its target area.
Funding will help the university expand its capabilities in 3D digital documentation of artifacts, architectural elements and entire structures through the purchase of two computer workstations designed for 3D capture and editing, two 3D printers, and a small aerial drone equipped with a high-resolution digital camera.
In order to document entire buildings, students will be trained in the use of “photogrammetry” technique, where software is used to create accurate digital 3D models from photographs.
Annual CHP Lecture Series
Salve Regina’s CHP program will establish the Grills Lecture Series in Historic Preservation, a public lecture series that will complement the university’s annual conference in cultural and historic preservation. Prominent academics and professionals in the preservation field will be invited to campus to speak on relevant topics in the field.
Six New Paid Internships for Students
Six new paid internship programs for Salve’s CHP students, both during the school year and during the summer, will be established in partnership with preservation organizations in Rhode Island and New London County, Conn.
“We are very excited about this grant,” Marcoux said. “Our partnership with the Southeastern New England Educational and Charitable Foundation will significantly expand our ability to provide students with hands-on preservation experience, cutting-edge skill sets, and access to our field’s most influential scholars and practitioners.”
Through grants and scholarships, the Providence-based Southeastern New England Educational and Charitable Foundation works with high schools and post-secondary institutions in the area to advance its mission of improving access to higher education for students with an interest in historic preservation or environmental conservation.