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Posted at 2:30 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

National Cathedral, Renwick Gallery win federal funds

By Jacqueline Trescott

The Washington National Cathedral and the Renwick Gallery are among 61 recipients of federal funds to repair and restore their landmark buildings.

The annual "Save America's Treasures" grants were announced Tuesday at a ceremony at the historic President Lincoln's Cottage in Washington, D.C. A coalition of organizations, led by the National Park Service, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the private National Trust for Historic Preservation presented $14.3 million to the groups.

The Washington National Cathedral, the towering center for worship and important national services, received $700,000 for repairs that any large building constantly needs. "The building is over 100 years old in some places and one of the principal needs is repointing. The mortar deteriorates over time in each of the limestone blocks," said Andrew Hullinger, the cathedral's senior director for finance and administration. And even sacred places have the same to-do list as ordinary homes, said Hullinger, citing foundation leaks and repairs to underground and interior drain lines. "The need ranges from nuts and bolts to art preservation."

The Renwick Gallery, the imposing building opposite the White House, won $335,000 for overall repairs. Completed in 1874, the museum of American crafts hasn't been restored since it opened in 1972 as part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Other Washington institutions under the 2010 America's Treasures umbrella are: The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, part of the Smithsonian, which received $335,000 for preservation and digitization.

"Jim Crow" car with separate racial compartments. (Michele Gates Moresi/Smithsonian)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, which won $222,128 for restoration of a Jim Crow railroad car. The car, which was built by the Pullman company in 1922, was given to the forthcoming museum by Pete Claussen and Gulf & Ohio Railways. The museum intends to restore the car to the era when it was partitioned into separate sections for "white" and "colored" passengers.

The National Museum of Natural History received $96,783 for the conservation of field notebooks and expedition journals of American scientists.

The Dance Heritage Coalition, a Washington-based group founded in 1992 to preserve and document dance, was given $58,853 for saving the Dance Theater of Harlem archives.

The National Museum of the American Indian was awarded $29,905 to save 19th and early 20th century manuscripts, fieldnotes, letters and films.

By Jacqueline Trescott  | February 1, 2011; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Jacqueline Trescott  | Tags:  National Park Service, President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, Renwick Gallery, Save America's Treasures, Washington National Cathedral  
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The Feds have absolutely no business cutting checks to churches.

The Cathedral is gigantic homage to superstition and it an absolute eyesore.

Hopefully it'll burn down sooner than later.

Posted by: kenk33 | February 1, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The National Cathedral is one of the most wonderful, beautiful and peaceful places in the city, the country and world.

I just came from there, where I read Lincoln's farewell letter to the peolpe of Springfield, carved into the limestone walls. He cites a "Divine Being," rather than any God, as his source of strength. The amount of secular work, from the stained glass windows that reminds us of our division during our Civil War, to the eccumenical outreach to all - including the non-religious - makes it a an exceptional center for thoughtful civic activity and discourse - ain addition to prayer or meditation.

In fact, the stone pulpit in the main church is the site of Martin Luther King's last sermon, before going to Memphis. New to the church is a stone carving of Rosa Parks. The former alone makes it a national treasure. Stone stands the rigors of generations.

We, and by we I mean everyone, are so fortunate to have the NC as a neighbor, and as a crowning jewel atop a hill overlooking our federal and city government.

I have no affiliation to it other than someone who goes there to find peace in the quiet beauty of her splendor, and the glory its faithful, who project into the community the sounds of it's wonderful bells and good neighborliness. If i had more moeny, I would actually pay the $5 they request. In fact, I wish I could write them a million ollar check.

Maybe someone who reads this will. Also, I would like to ask the bells team for more "Danny Boy" in March and April. I love to hear that song when I am in the Bishop's garden in the Spring.

Ken, may this be the winter of your discontent.

Posted by: tcs1999 | February 1, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

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