Grant funding for Jesse James Birthplace & Museum will conserve historic documents

Clay County Historic Sites News Release

Contact: Elizabeth Gilliam Beckett
Clay County Historic Sites Manager
21216 Jesse James Farm Road
Kearney, MO 64060
(816) 736-8502

Clay County Historic Sites:
Jesse James Birthplace
Jesse James Bank Museum
Mt. Gilead Church & School
Pharis Farm

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Freedom’s Frontier Interpretive Grant awarded

Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area and the Jesse James Birthplace & Museum, Kearney, Missouri are pleased to announce that the Jesse James Birthplace is the recipient of an Interpretive Grant in the amount of $1440 for the project of conserving two historic paper documents: Reverend James’ license to preach and his diploma from Georgetown College in Kentucky.

This grant funding will enhance the visitor experience to the Jesse James Birthplace & Museum. Visitors will be able to view the documents in a prominent display area focusing on Frank & Jesse’s father, Reverend Robert James. 

The Freedom’s Frontier Interpretive Grant program was started in 2012. Since then, more than 48 projects have been awarded grant funding. Grant projects have been completed on both sides of the Missouri-Kansas border, in the 41-county region that comprises the heritage area.

Projects awarded grant funding must interpret local history, and connect to one or more of the three major themes of the heritage area: the shaping of the frontier, the Missouri-Kansas Border War, and the enduring struggle for freedom. Grants range in amount from under $1,500 to $5,000. All awards over $1,500 require that the grant recipient show a local match of half the amount of the award. This match can be in the form of cash, or in-kind donations and staff and volunteer time.

Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area is one of 49 heritage areas in the U.S. Heritage areas are nonprofit affiliates of the National Park Service (NPS). They act as coordinating entities between the local organizations telling nationally significant stories and the NPS.

Freedom’s Frontier was established as a heritage area on October 12, 2006, when signed into law by President George Bush. The heritage area’s management plan was approved by the Department of the Interior and the NPS in 2010. Freedom’s Frontier is headquartered in the Carnegie Building, 200 W 9th St., in Lawrence, KS.

Clay County purchased the James family farm from Jesse’s grandsons in 1978. The restoration of the cabin began immediately and the house opened to the public later that same year. Each year the museum hosts visitors from all 50 states and an average of 40 other countries. The museum houses original artifacts from the James Family. The museum is open year round. Visitors to the site view a twenty minute film, walk through three galleries of artifacts and then enjoy a guided tour through the birthplace of Jesse James. 

Grant applications are accepted from organizations within the borders of the heritage area which have signed a partner pledge with Freedom’s Frontier, and meet all other qualifications for grant funding. Applications are reviewed quarterly by a peer group from the partnership. Organizations are asked to complete their grant projects within a year of the grant award. For more information about Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, visit the Web site at www.freedomsfrontier.org.

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