Deaccessioning and Abandonment of Historic Chain Forge Equipment, Charlestown Navy Yard
David Vecchioli, Museum Curator
Boston National Historical Park is seeking public comments on the proposed memorandum of agreement with the State Historic Preservation Officer for the deaccessioning from its museum collection and disposal via abandonment of a portion of the historic machinery located in the Chain Forge (Building 105) at the Charlestown Navy Yard. This action is being taken in support of the proposed development of the building as the Chain Forge Hotel through the Boston Planning & Development Agency (formerly the Boston Redevelopment Authority). The Chain Forge building is within the authorized boundary of Boston National Historical Park but owned by the City of Boston. Over the past few years, the proposed redevelopment of the Chain Forge has been the subject of a public process by the City of Boston. The National Park Service has supported these efforts, and has recognized that the retention of all historic machinery in the building forms a major impediment to redevelopment. In order to determine what equipment possesses the most significance in telling the story of the manufacture of die-lock chain, the NPS worked with the City and the proposed developer to engage the Boston Preservation Alliance to undertake a special resource study of the equipment. It also undertook several measures, including recording of the existing conditions of the structure and equipment through the Historic American Engineering Record. Because the deaccessioning and abandonment of the equipment has been deemed to be an adverse action under the terms of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the park has consulted with the Massachusetts State Historic Preservation Officer (Massachusetts Historical Commission) and is proposing to enter into a formal Memorandum of Agreement to document the measures already taken to mitigate those effects and to specify guidelines for the preservation and interpretation to the public of the equipment to remain which will be placed on loan to the developer through the City of Boston under NPS policies governing loan of museum objects.