Happy New Year!

Just as your lives have been altered in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, HNF and its operations have also been impacted and reimagined. The HNF office has been manned throughout the pandemic, although we were initially closed to the general public except by appointment until May. Since that time, we have been open and fully staffed.

HNF had five conferences and workshops scheduled for 2020 in Natchez, which were all canceled or postponed. These disappointments almost seemed a blessing as 2020 unfolded and brought with it new opportunities for projects and funding, as well as major donations of archival material and museum objects.

In 2020, HNF continued its multi-year survey of nineteenth-century outbuildings in the Natchez/Adams County area. HNF, with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Natchez National Historical Park, and Professor Brent Fortenberry of Texas A&M University, has surveyed over one-hundred buildings so far. The Foundation also received donations of multiple important archival collections and objects. The bottom left image below shows Foundation staff with the newly donated tall case clock made in Natchez around 1820 by David Mathewson (one of only three known to exist).

The Foundation sold the historic Raphael Building on State Street in early 2020 and the new owners have begun work to rehabilitate the building. The original easternmost portion was constructed in the 1840s as a commercial and residential space. HNF was also awarded the Mississippi Heritage Trust's President's Award for its involvement in saving the Prentiss Club. The building suffered a major fire in 2018 and the Foundation subsequently acquired the building and replaced its roof, restored the exterior, and repaired other fire-damaged areas.

Staff continued other important activities throughout 2020, including meeting with property owners and researchers, completing historic tax credit applications, writing articles for Natchez, the Magazine, finalizing restoration plans for the exterior of the Natchez Institute, and successfully holding the Natchez Balloon Festival. Although 2020 presented major challenges, HNF was fortunate in its accomplishments and continued support from its members. We wish you a Happy New Year and a healthy and prosperous 2021!


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