January 10, 2023

TIMA awarded $400,000 NEH Challenge Matching Grant

The Tides Institute & Museum of Art (TIMA) was recently awarded a prestigious $400,000 Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in support of the continued redevelopment of its Masonic Hall to become its main museum building. The award to TIMA is one of 16 NEH Challenge Grants in support of projects across the U.S. annnounced by NEH in January, 2023 and the first such NEH Challenge Grant ever made in Washington County. The Challenge Grant requires a $1.2 million match in private funds. 

In response to the NEH award, Maine’s Senators Susan Collins and Angus King said, ”From the annual New Year’s Eve sardine drop to its coastal fisheries, Washington County has some of the nation’s richest, most treasured heritage. This funding for Masonic Hall will help preserve the landmark and the Washington County history it represents. We’re grateful for the work everyone at the Tides Institute & Museum of Art has done to share Washington County’s cultural legacy and look forward to seeing them put the funding to good use.”

TIMA’s vision for Masonic Hall is to allow TIMA to far better tell and preserve the story of the cultural legacy of the region through TIMA’s wide ranging and diverse regional collections built over the last 20 years. The vision for the building includes expanded and more appropriate exhibition and collection spaces along with a local foods cafe. The NEH Challenge Grant along with required private matching funds will allow additional redevelopment steps for Masonic Hall to take place over the next several years including a required fire suppressant sprinkler system, new kitchen, new heating system, new elevator, new windows and new climate controlled exhibition and collection spaces. The full completion of the redevelopment of Masonic Hall will require additional funding as well. 

Plans for the development of Masonic Hall have been prepared by Machado-Silvetti architects of Boston. Other museum projects that Machado-Silvetti have been involved in across the U.S. include new architecture for the the J.Paul Getty Villa Museum in California, the Asian Art Study Center addition to the Ringling Museum of Art in Florida and the redevelopment of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Maine. 

Hugh French, director of TIMA, says “The NEH award is incredibly important to our credibility, our institutional standing and growth and our fundraising efforts. It is a highly competitive merit based national award that will help us attract additional support. The award represents a sort of laying on of hands on us and Washington County much like, but in a different way, that our similar award from the national ArtPlace program did a few years ago. Over our first 20 years, we’ve had enormous buy in from a lot of people, enormous help from a lot of people. With this sort of continued buy in and support along with the NEH award, Masonic Hall will be successfully completed. It will take everything to a whole new level of operations and impact.” More about TIMA’s vision and plans for Masonic Hall can be found on TIMA’s website:

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