News Release

2018 Excellence Awards Recognizing Community Contributions in Historic Preservation and Cultural Heritage

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Date: March 30, 2018
Contact: Phil Lupsiewicz, 978-275-1705

Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell National Historical Park and the Lowell Heritage Partnership are pleased to announce this year’s winners of the Community Excellence Awards in the fields of historic preservation and cultural heritage. For the twelfth year, the Park and Partnership are recognizing contributions to the city of Lowell in the realms of preservation and heritage as part of National Preservation Month. These two award categories represent the important nature of the Park’s dual mission to “preserve and interpret the nationally significant historical and cultural sites” in Lowell. This year, award winners will be celebrated at the Park’s annual reception, which also marks the kick-off for Doors Open Lowell 2018, on Thursday, May 3, at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum.

Celeste Bernardo, superintendent of Lowell National Historical Park said, “These awardees demonstrate how individuals can make a difference through their interest and dedication to heritage and historic preservation. They had the vision and support of others to make things happen, and we are proud to honor their accomplishments.” James Ostis, president of the Lowell Heritage Partnership said, “The community excellence awards are truly an annual highlight of the Lowell Heritage Partnership calendar. Historic preservation and cultural heritage are two of the things that Lowell can be most proud of and this year's recipients are great exemplars of that tradition" .
This year’s award recipients include:
Excellence in Historic Preservation

Jon Rudzinski, for Massachusetts Mills III – Picker Building Project
The preservation of the Picker House in the historic Massachusetts Mills complex  reinforces a sense of time, place and development. The Picker House is among the most visible elements of the complex from the vista on the bridge on East Merrimack Street. The adaptive reuse of the complex has created 70 mixed income rental properties meticulously restored to match the city’s historic building standards.

Excellence in Cultural Heritage

Gordon Halm for the African Community Center of Lowell
Gordon Halm has been a fixture in this community since he arrived in Lowell in 1995 from Liberia. In his early years in the city, Halm was actively involved in the former African-American center in Lowell until it closed. Since that time, Halm spent over a decade thinking how to return the center to his adopted city. Gordon hit upon a combination of improving the lives of African immigrants, refugees, and others through educational, social, and cultural iniatives. With a new vision, now in partnership with Community Teamwork, the center has returned to Lowell.

Excellence in Student(s) Cultural Heritage

Kady Phelps and Molly Mahoney for “From the Atlantic Islands to Lowell, Massachusetts: Continuity and Change in the Mill City’s Portuguese Community”
Kady Phelps is an M.A. candidate in history at University of Massachusetts Lowell. Molly Mahoney is a history major graduating in May 2018 from University of Massachusetts Lowell. Together,they researched and curated the exhibit —“From the Atlantic Islands to Lowell, Massachusetts: Continuity and Change in the Mill City’s Portuguese Community”— which consists of a narrative history of Portuguese immigration. The exhibition examines how individuals and families made a living in the mills and later in the manufacturing and high-tech industries, in both instances attaining a measure of the “American Dream” that allowed for improved professional opportunities for their children. 

Award recipients will be acknowledged during the park reception and kick-off for Doors Open Lowell 2018 on Thursday, May 3, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, 115 John Street. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Phil Lupsiewicz at or call 978-275-1705.

For more information about Doors Open Lowell 2018 and a schedule for open sites and special tours, visit For information on the Lowell Heritage Partnership, visit For more information about programs and offerings at Lowell National Historical Park, please visit or call 978-970-5000.

- NPS -

Last updated: March 30, 2018

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