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NEH Awards $565,000 for Hurricane-Related Relief

Grants help Gulf Coast area begin recovery of books, records, cultural artifacts

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 16, 2005)--The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded 19 emergency grants totaling $565,000 for projects to recover and preserve cultural resources in the Gulf Coast region affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, NEH Chairman Bruce Cole announced today. The grants are the first awarded in the Endowment's special program announced in early September to provide at least $1 million in hurricane relief to libraries, museums, colleges, universities, and other cultural and historical institutions.

"Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused immeasurable damage to homes, businesses, whole communities, and individual lives along the Gulf Coast," said Cole. "NEH has awarded these grants to help the resilient people of the affected areas recover and preserve the historic materials and cultural treasures that represent the region's rich and vibrant history."

NEH continues to accept eligible applications for the hurricane-related emergency grants. Today's announcement includes awards of $30,000 each (unless otherwise indicated) to the following institutions:

The Alabama Humanities Foundation, Birmingham, Ala., to support disaster relief programming and funds to small libraries and cultural institutions in the affected areas of Mobile County and southwest Alabama. This may include book purchases, "Motheread" programming, and oral history initiatives.

Beauvoir, Biloxi, Miss., to protect historical artifacts retrieved from the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library. This is where Jefferson Davis wrote The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government and A Short History of the Confederacy. Historical documents and artifacts will be placed in protective enclosures and relocated to climate-controlled storage.

The Biloxi Public Library, Harrison County Library System, Biloxi, Miss., to support an assessment of damaged local history materials, removal of collections for cleaning and drying, mold remediation, document mending, and archival re-housing.

Heritage Preservation, Washington, D.C., to support the work of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, a coalition of national organizations and federal agencies concerned with protecting cultural treasures from disasters. The Task Force has been coordinating the efforts of its members and other organizations eager to help salvage collections through national conference calls, expanded web resources, and distribution of disaster recovery information and tools.

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH), New Orleans, La., to offset costs associated with the temporary relocation of the LEH offices necessitated by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The awards support rent, office equipment, furniture, travel, supplies, postage, and related items, as well as costs associated with clean-up and re-establishment of the New Orleans office.

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La., for packing supplies, relocation supplies and services, and remedial conservation salvage measures for flood-threatened collections from multiple institutions that include the New Orleans Archdiocese Archives, the Louisiana State Museum Jazz Archives, historical records of St. Bernard Parish's only newspaper, church records from small churches that no longer physically exist in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes, and the photographic archives from the New Orleans Port Authority. The university is providing long-term climate controlled storage for these cultural heritage materials.

The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum, Biloxi, Miss., to remove debris, recover and assess scattered and damaged artifacts, and provide temporary storage for the collection, which focuses on the history of the Gulf Coast's fishing and boatbuilding industries.

The Mississippi Humanities Council, Jackson, Miss., to meet the evolving needs of cultural institutions and organizations damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The Mississippi Sound Historical Museum, Gulfport, Miss., to support removing debris, salvaging and protecting artifacts and archival materials, and eliminating mold from collections that document and interpret the role of the Mississippi Sound and its tributaries in the history and culture of southern Mississippi between 1880 and 1950. Photographs, maps, books, artifacts, tools, sailing vessels and models, and archival materials on the railroad and shipping industries have been used in educational and public programs at the museum.

The New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, La., for packing supplies and conservation care for collections of more than 30,000 items that are being relocated from the museum's flooded storage building to safe locations in the climate controlled upper floors of the main building's galleries. Works by Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, and Andy Warhol are among the 2,000 items most threatened by exposure to standing water and high temperatures that will be examined by conservators for mold remediation.

The Notarial Archives, New Orleans, La., to remove, store, and treat notarial records damaged by flooding and stabilize the climate in the research center. These collections date from 1734 to the present and include property sales, marriage contracts, wills, building permits, acts of incorporation, and inventories of estates and businesses. They represent the primary historical source material for the economic, legal, family, cultural, and social histories of New Orleans.

The Notre Dame Seminary Library, New Orleans, La., to support mold-abatement measures, cleaning, and housing of bound periodicals and books from the library's flooded rare book vault and lower-level stacks. Among the collections housed in the book vault are rare bibles, some dating to the 1500s, and parish histories from Church parishes all over Louisiana.

The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi, Miss., to support the recovery, cleaning, and conservation treatment of artifacts, an assessment of the collections, and temporary storage of the collections. Collections to be assessed and stored are of ceramic art, primarily those of George Ohr, the country's first notable abstract clay artist. In progress is the recovery of artifacts from the debris of the Pleasant Reed House, a prime example of the shotgun style of domestic architecture and one of the first homes in the Biloxi area built by a freed slave.

The Old Capital Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson, Miss., to support the assessment and conservation of paintings, wooden artifacts, textiles, and other artifacts damaged by rain after a portion of the museum's roof was torn away during Hurricane Katrina. The museum's collections document the social, cultural, political, and economic history of Mississippi from its Native American period through colonial settlement to the present.

Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Miss., to stabilize the historically black college's L. Zenobia Coleman Library and Art Collection storage areas by sealing blown-out windows, repairing structural elements, restoring climate control power with a generator, and replacing the roof. The holdings support academic programs in the humanities with collections that include oral histories and memorabilia that document the lives and work of Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as Civil Rights materials that include NAACP records, White Citizens Council literature, and Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party files.

Tulane University, New Orleans, La., to support treatment of archival collections about women in the Gulf South region at the university's Newcomb College Center for Research on Women. This grant will provide for dehumidification of the archival storage area and cleaning of collections that were flood-damaged and are now threatened by mold. The collection, with some materials dating to the 18th century, includes books, unpublished manuscripts, photographs, artists' sketches, family papers, and papers of political life.

The University of Southern Mississippi, Long Beach, Miss., to help support the first phase of stabilizing flooded collection storage spaces and recovering water-damaged library holdings maintained at its Gulf Coast Library and Gunter Library campus locations at Long Beach and Ocean Springs. These libraries maintain monographs and special collections for the study of English, history, international studies, and political science. Among these materials are historical marine science expedition reports and 9,553 book titles in the history of science dating from the 19th century.

William Carey College, Hattiesburg, Miss., to undertake conservation treatment of damaged art from the Sarah Gillespie Gallery, which exhibited the college's holdings of regional American art spanning the twentieth century. The collection includes works by such artists as Walter Anderson, Kate Freeman Clark, William Dunlap, Emmitt Thames, and Ethel Mohamed.

Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, La., ($25,000) to help protect archival materials, such as photographic collections of 19th- and early 20th-century African American life and culture in New Orleans and Louisiana and manuscript collections, correspondence, and rare books of notable African American authors. This grant will help support removal of mold and cleaning of these collections.

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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.

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