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42 Projects in 18 States Awarded $9.9 Million to Support Humanities Preservation Efforts

Ten earn recognition as We the People projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 28, 2004) -- The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that cultural institutions in 18 states will receive $9.9 million for 42 projects to preserve humanities collections, increase public access, and create humanities research tools and reference works. Ten of these projects have been named We the People projects, a special recognition by the NEH for model projects that advance the study, teaching, and understanding of American history and culture.

"Preserving significant cultural resources-from American Indian languages to railroad records to news broadcasts-benefits us all, ensuring that this and future generations have access to the cultural legacy of our nation and our world," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole.

Supported by NEH grants, the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia will create a historical dictionary of the ancient Sumerian language, the American Film Institute (Los Angeles, Calif.) will create a catalog of feature films produced in the U.S. from 1971-80, and the New York Public Library will arrange, describe, preserve, and make available to the public the papers of playwright and screen writer Paddy Chayefsky. As part of its Television News Archive, Vanderbilt University will catalog and digitize television network news broadcasts from 1968 to the present. The University of Missouri in St. Louis will develop a "virtual city," a computerized three-dimensional model of St. Louis from 1850 to 1950 linked to historical resources and designed for use by both K-16 students and humanities scholars.

Several projects have received offers of federal matching funds totaling $698,000; institutions receiving such offers must generate equivalent support from individual, foundation, or corporate donors.

Among the ten We the People projects, the University of California, Berkeley, will digitize and catalogue more that 1,300 hours of linguistic sound recordings containing samples of 107 American Indian languages in cultural context, and the Denver Public Library will prepare online finding aids for 280 collections that cover the history of the American West. The University of Illinois, Urbana, will microfilm and catalog 1,300 deteriorating volumes (and repair 2,000 volumes) on the history of the American railroad. The Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio, will lead a collaboration of four libraries and eight regional and state historical societies to preserve and make intellectually accessible records on the American steel industry, including mills, coal mines, and iron ore operations.

The Endowment's We the People initiative was announced by President Bush in a Rose Garden Ceremony in September 2002. The President's NEH budget request for FY 2005, announced in February, includes $33 million to provide continuing support for the agency's We the People initiative.

A state-by-state list of grants is available as an Adobe PDF file in the above box. In this list, We the People projects are designated by "***" in the left margin.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Office of Communications at (202) 606-8446 or info@neh.gov