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$500,000 Save America’s Treasures Grant to Frances Perkins Center

September 9, 2020

(Newcastle, Maine) The Frances Perkins Center has received a prestigious $500,000 matching grant from the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures grant program to preserve and restore the Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark in Newcastle, Maine.

Maine Delegation Joint Statement: “The Frances Perkins Homestead is a fitting tribute to Frances Perkins, the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet. An influential figure during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency and a driving force behind the creation of the New Deal, Social Security, anti-child labor laws, and more, Perkins left a lasting mark on American history.  This important funding will enable the Frances Perkins Center to preserve her home, allowing it to serve as an educational site year-round and helping to share her life and legacy with visitors from across the nation.”

The Save America’s Treasures grant will help fund the preservation of the Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark and requires the Frances Perkins Center to raise equal matching funds. Purchased in January 2020 by the Center, this remarkably intact saltwater farm sits on 57-acres, one of the last large unbuilt landscapes along the Damariscotta River. To date, the Center has raised more than $3 million toward its $5.5 million capital campaign goal. Preservation work on the property will begin later this year. The Center will continue to offer educational programming virtually and through its traveling exhibit during COVID, with in-person programs to be announced when viable and safe.

“We’re thrilled to be recognized by this National Park Service grant that will let us welcome visitors to a safe and accessible Frances Perkins Homestead, and to make it a living memorial to a great American,” said Board Chair of the Frances Perkins Center Sarah Peskin.

Frances Perkins was the United States Secretary of Labor from 1933-45. She was the first woman to serve in a U.S. Cabinet, a key advisor to FDR, and a lifelong advocate for social justice and economic security. She was responsible for initiating groundbreaking New Deal programs that are key to American society today including Social Security, unemployment insurance, and the minimum wage. Perkins had deep roots in Maine. The Homestead was continuously occupied by the Perkins family from the 1750s until its recent acquisition by the Frances Perkins Center. Frances Perkins owned it from 1927-1965. The property is anchored by the 1837 Brick House–a transitional Federal/Greek Revival masonry structure that is part of a connected barn complex. The buildings, cultural landscape, and collections offer excellent opportunities to interpret the legacy of Frances Perkins and the economic and social history of Maine that shaped her commitment to social welfare.

The Frances Perkins Center is one of 42 recipients nationwide—and the only project in Maine–selected for a share of the $12.8 million in Save America’s Treasures grants program this year. The Save America’s Treasures federal grant program is administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, awards these matching grants to support the preservation of nationally significant historic properties and collections. The program requires applicants to leverage project funds from other sources to “match” the grant money, which is awarded after a competitive review of project proposals.

About Frances Perkins
Frances Perkins (1880-1965), the first woman to serve in a U.S. presidential cabinet, was Secretary of Labor (1933-1945) for the entire tenure of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Perkins was the driving force behind many of the groundbreaking New Deal programs that are still the foundation of the American social safety net—Social Security, unemployment insurance, the 40-hour work week, and the minimum wage. Born in Boston, educated in the public schools of Worcester, and a graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, she spent summers throughout her life at her ancestral family homestead in Newcastle, Maine, now a National Historic Landmark owned by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Frances Perkins Center.

About the Frances Perkins Center
The Frances Perkins Center is dedicated to honoring and preserving the legacy of the woman behind the New Deal by continuing Frances Perkins’ work for social justice and economic security and by preserving for future generations her nationally significant family homestead in Newcastle, Maine.

To learn more about this project and the Frances Perkins Center, contact Michael Chaney, Executive Director, email, call (207) 563-3374, or visit



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cropped Frances and Faith icon

April 2024 FPC E-Newsletter

To appreciate thoroughly the life and
accomplishments of Frances Perkins, a great agent
of social change who served as Secretary of Labor
throughout FDR’s tenure, requires recognizing that
faith was the foundation of who she was and all that
she did.