In 2020, $104,500 in funding was awarded to the Wistariahurst Museum for the update of decaying and unsafe electrical wiring in the Main House building. The Museum was facing increasing instances of blown fuses and the inability to host local music and dance-related events due to electrical issues, including the fact that Holyoke Fire Dept. had to be called to the site to reverse blown breakers each time because the open electrical boxes were too dangerous for anyone else to work on. This initial phase was exploratory, and given the unique nature of 2020, only $22,586 was expended from this award. The exploratory work established a series of detailed drawings and an engineering study that enabled a deep sense of the work that had to be done. This work was later built on with an additional $55k award in 2021, to complete needed electrical repairs identified in the report.
Wistariahurst is an historic estate built in Holyoke in 1874 and listed on the National Register for Historic Places, the Massachusetts Register of Historic Places, and is noted as a significant building with a public orientation in the Holyoke Community Preservation Plan (HCPP). The site consists of two buildings, referred to as the Main House and Carriage House, and historically-inspired grounds and gardens. The property is protected by a preservation restriction held by the Massachusetts Historic Commission (MHC). Wistariahurst’s public programs and offerings engage around 10,000 participants annually, with many more people enjoying the grounds and facilities on their own. Educational, community, and cultural offerings are presented for free or low cost in order to increase access and encourage participation regardless of income status. Wistariahurst maintains close connections with the Holyoke public school system, providing field trips, resources for teachers, space for professional development, and High School internships. The overall audience is a balanced blend of Holyoke residents and members of surrounding communities drawn to Holyoke for the Museum's high-quality offerings.