Public Notice Regarding the Initiation of Section 106 Review of a Gallery Renovation at the Museum of Northern Arizona

PUBLIC NOTICE
Regarding the Initiation of Section 106 Review of a Gallery Renovation at the Museum of Northern Arizona

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has offered the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) a Challenge Grant for a gallery renovation. NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. This public notice is issued as part of NEH’s responsibilities under 36 C.F.R. Part 800, the regulations which implement Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended, 16 U.S.C. § 470. NEH, as a funding agency, is required by regulation to identify and assess the effects of any proposed actions on historic properties. If any proposed action will have an adverse effect on historic resources, NEH works with the appropriate parties to seek ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects. Additionally, the Section 106 regulations require NEH to consider the views of the public on preservation issues when making final decisions that affect historic properties.
The MNA is an 85-year-old regional museum dedicated to helping people explore the cultures, arts, and sciences of the Colorado Plateau. The MNA building was listed on the National Register in 1993. The museum complex was constructed over multiple decades with the original wings finished in the 1930s. The south elevation and central block, along with the west wing was completed between 1939-1939. This south facing wing with the west wing constitutes what most refer to as the “original” building. The east wing completed in 1959 produced a u-shaped compound and houses the Ethnology Gallery. Additional wings have been added, so that the compound is no longer u-shaped but has a north facing wing and interior courtyard. The proposed project plans to update the Ethnology Gallery, part of the 1959 wing.
The MNA plans the following improvements: 1) new flooring, 2) new lighting, 3) new HVAC for this gallery space, using existing mechanical closets, 4) and purchase of additional cases for collections display.
The Ethnology gallery is entered through plastered round arches and the interior features include exposed pine log rafters, spaced pine log trusses, skylights and windows that face the patio. The trusses are made from peeled Ponderosa Pine logs with exposed jointed connections. Floors are concrete covered with carpet. Existing track lighting will be replaced with less obtrusive lighting as well as upgraded to meet current codes.
In this public notice, NEH is providing information about the MNA’s Ethnology Gallery renovation project and its effects on historic properties. We are also seeking public input on the project, and would appreciate comments on any knowledge of, or concerns with, historic properties in the proposed project area, and issues relating to the project’s potential effects on historic properties by May 4, 2015. Comments may be submitted to the NEH via e-mail at challenge@neh.gov or by mail to: 400 7th Street, SW, Rm 4003, National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Challenge Grants, Washington, DC 20506.