Political society

For the NH Historical Society, a huge donation means huge changes on the horizon

A $2 million private donation — given to the New Hampshire Historical Society last month by a member of a well-known Granite State family — will help build additional storage space for the monument that is packed with archival material. .

Bill Dunlap, the president of the state historical society, said this week that the donation represents the largest amount in the organization’s history, adding, “We’ve had seven-figure gifts in the past. , but without taking into account inflation, this is the highest total we have ever received.

Dunlap spoke on behalf of the man behind the money, Andy McLane, whose last name may sound familiar. He is a cousin of Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster of Concord, and he is also related to the late Susan McLane, who served 26 years in the New Hampshire Senate and House of Representatives.

McLane, using Dunlap as a go-between, declined to be interviewed for this story. His online biography indicates that he has a home in the Boston area and another near Newfound Lake, now his primary residence.

He sits on the boards of the Cambridge Boat Club, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, St. Paul’s School and the US Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation. He is also a member of the investment committees of the Appalachian Mountain Club, Dartmouth College and Phillips Exeter Academy.

He works at TA Associates, a Boston-based private equity firm that manages $16 billion. He found time to serve two years in the Peace Corps in Central Africa.

“He loves society,” Dunlap said, referring to McLane’s allegiance to the NH Historical Society. “All this developed over several years. We want to have more exhibition space.

Dunlap and the historical society certainly need it. According to Dunlap, the Park Street building houses 35,000 objects, such as works of art, classic furniture, agricultural tools and one of the last surviving Concord coaches.

In addition, there are two million pages of manuscripts and letters, written by some of the Granite State’s former political heavyweights, such as David Souter, the former Supreme Court Justice, and Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States. United States.

“We only have a small fraction of our stuff that can be displayed and we need more space to display more,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap added that the historical society plans to lease long-term storage space from Concord. “There are still negotiations going on, so I can’t speak to that yet,” Dunlap said. “But I’m confident it will allow us to expand the storage of our collections.”

The process it took to secure private funding from selfless individuals like McLane and his wife, Linda, was a long road.

In this case, the pandemic has certainly slowed things down and increased the level of difficulty, said Dunlap, who added that he would see McLane at the historical society at events. He visited McLane at his home, both in New Hampshire and in the Boston area.

The deal was done around May 1, Dunlap said. And while he was confident McLane would come on board, and Dunlap has accepted seven-figure donations in the past, receiving $2 million shakes the system regardless of the circumstances, Dunlap said.

He said that ideally the renovation could take a year or two. The hardest part, however, is done. “I would bring a colleague with me or a board member,” Dunlap said. “We worked on how to roll out the donation, how it would benefit the New Hampshire Historical Society. It wasn’t a total shock, because we had spoken to him and established a relationship of trust.

He continued, “At the time the engagement was made, there was an absolute sense of gratitude and euphoria.”