WESTFIELD, NJ — The Miller-Cory House Museum, built in 1740 and serving as the town’s first and only colonial living history museum, needed a new roof to replace the one that had been deteriorating, and it had to be historically accurate.

So this spring, the Westfield Foundation stepped in with a $140,000 grant to have it repaired by a contractor experienced in restoring historic buildings. The delicate renovation required the use of costly, historically accurate materials that are not easy to come by, according to the Foundation.

“If they weren’t able to repair the roof correctly, it would have lost its historic designation,” explained Betsy Chance, executive director of the Westfield Foundation. “You couldn’t just go to a local roofer.”

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With the grant money, the Miller-Cory House hired Alden Bailey Restoration for the job.

Closed now during construction, the museum was established by the Westfield Historical Society in 1972 and is a nationally recognized historic site. Volunteer members of the museum are dedicated to the preservation of the 18th century home, its grounds and gardens. As a “living museum” open to the public, its purpose is to recreate not only the atmosphere, but also the everyday activities of colonial life.

“They would have been in real trouble if we hadn’t been able to help them,” Chance said. “We’re thrilled that we were able to help.”

This grant for the project was funded by the Bertha Bogaert Fund, a fund established in the Foundation by bequest under the will of Bogaert that has been designated to provide significant funding to major projects in the Westfield area. Other projects funded by the Bogaert Fund have included a $400,000 grant to the Mindowaskin Park playground, a $93,000 grant to equip a STEM classroom at Westfield High School and a $200,000 grant to the Westfield Area YMCA’s capital campaign.

Since 1975, the mission of the Westfield Foundation has been to provide funding support in the arts, health, aging, historic preservation, social services and civic projects. The Foundation has granted more than $7 million to various organizations. To learn more about the Westfield Foundation, visit their website or contact Chance at 908-233-9787 or foundation@westfieldnj.com.

Learn more about the Miller-Cory House Museum and how to get involved here.

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