SSAAM Receives Cty. Historic Preservation Grant

SSAAM Receives Cty. Historic Preservation Grant

Posted on October 16, 2019

The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM) has received a grant award from the 2019 Historic Preservation Grant Program in Somerset County. This program is a part of the Somerset County Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund. Grant applications are reviewed and rated by the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission.

A ceremonial check was presented to SAAAM President John Buck on October 8, 2019, the at the Somerset County Administration Building. Also in attendance were SSAAM Vice President Bruce Daniels, Advisory Board Members Elaine Buck and Caroline Katmann, and Trustees Ian Burrow and Kevin Burkman. Representing Somerset County were Freeholder Director Brian D. Levine, and Tom D’Amico and Kaitlin Bundy, of the Cultural and Heritage Commission.

SSAAM received the total amount of their request, $326,461, to complete renovations on the historic Mt. Zion AME Church, 189 Hollow Road, Montgomery Township. This 2019 grant from the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission will fund architectural and engineering work and additional renovations to roof, porch, windows, HVAC system and electrical work.

A recipient of Somerset County’s 2016 Historic Preservation Grant and a 2016 New Jersey Historic Trust/1777 Foundation Grant, the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum, in partnership with the Sourland Conservancy, has completed many structural, masonry and siding renovations already at the AME Church. In addition, grant funds were used to fund vision planning, writing of a historic register nomination and some demolition and site work.

“Speaking for the entire Board of SSAAM and all of our partners & supporters, I cannot begin to thank you for your extreme vote of confidence in our mission to tell the story of the unique culture, experiences and contributions of the African American community of Sourland Mountain and surrounding regions” stated Buck, during the ceremony. “Your support allows us to make great leaps forward in fulfilling our vision of a strong community partnership while simultaneously educating all on the importance of preserving vital traditions, which will inspire future generations.”

Caroline Katmann, SSAAM Advisory Board Member, added, “We are extremely grateful to the Somerset County Freeholders and the Cultural and Heritage Commission for their strong support. It is very encouraging to those of us involved in the creation of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum to know that so many individuals, government agencies and organizations understand the importance of preserving the Mt. Zion AME Church and of telling the story of African American history in the Sourland region.”

The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum recently purchased property adjacent to the AME Church property, in partnership with the Sourland Conservancy. (The Conservancy’s mission is to protect promote and preserve the unique character of the Sourland Mountain region.) Both organizations are looking to build program and office space on this newly acquired property.

The mission of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum is to tell the story of the unique culture, experiences, and contributions of the African American community of the Sourland Mountain Region.

Source: Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum of Skillman, NJ

Related 8/08/19 Twp. Press Release:

Montgomery Purchases Land to Expand Bessie Grover Park