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NEH Awards $15.7 Million for 248 Humanities Projects

Nation-wide projects enrich and secure long-term support for humanities research, access, public programming

WASHINGTON (December 18, 2008)—Today, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $15.7 million in grant awards and offers to 248 successful applicants. By offering diverse and competitive grant opportunities to scholars and museum curators as well as to libraries and cultural organizations, NEH strives to promote excellence and lifelong learning in the humanities.

“In order for our democracy to survive, American citizens need to know the ideas that have shaped and continue to influence our nation,” said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. “By funding the nation’s highest-quality humanities projects, the Endowment offers the opportunity for our citizens to discuss the important role philosophy, art, literature, and history can play in our lives.”

The funding announced today will provide high-quality programming for public audiences across the nation, such as a national library program featuring multimedia educational resources on Abraham Lincoln to complement the 2009 bicentennial celebration of his birth. Funding also will enable institutions to improve and secure long-term support for their humanities programs and resources; enrich scholarly research in topics ranging from morality in the American Film Industry to East Asian economics; support improved access to and care of significant humanities collections; and help scholars use digital tools like US Department of Energy supercomputers to enhance humanities scholarship.

This award cycle, institutions and individuals in 42 states and the District of Columbia received support from NEH. Projects undertaken by American scholars in international cities also received support. A complete state-by-state listing of total grants and offers of matching funds is available below:

The NEH grants announced today come from four of the Endowment's major program areas—Challenge Grants, Preservation and Access, Public Programs and Research—as well as special grant programs offered through NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities. Select projects have been given a We the People designation for their efforts to strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture.

Information about specific program areas and grant categories awarded this cycle is available below:

Challenge Grants strengthen the humanities by encouraging non-federal sources of support and helping institutions secure long-term improvements in and support for their humanities programs and resources. Recipients are required to match NEH funds on a three-to-one or four-to-one basis. Challenge grants can be used for long-term, capital expenditures such as construction, renovation, endowment and spend-down funds, acquisitions, and equipment. Challenge grants awarded today will support, far into the future, excellent work in education, public programming, scholarly research, digital technology, and preservation in the humanities.

Office of Digital Humanities coordinates NEH’s efforts to explore the use of digital tools to enhance scholarship and make humanities resources more accessible to all citizens. This cycle, a Digital Humanities Cooperative Agreement has been awarded to support a study on the long-term sustainability of online scholarly projects. Also awarded today are NEH/DOE Humanities High Performance Computing Program (HHPC) grants. Through the HHPC grant program, NEH and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science are working together to provide humanities scholars with training and access to supercomputers for advanced humanities research.

Preservation and Access awards ensure that significant humanities collections in libraries, museums, and archives are preserved and made available for research, education, or public programming. In this grant cycle, Preservation Assistance Grants have been awarded to help small and mid-sized institutions, ranging from town and county records offices to colleges and universities, improve their ability to preserve and care for significant humanities collections including books and manuscripts, sound recordings, decorative and fine arts, and historical objects. Education and Training grants announced today support projects such as regional preservation field services and national educational programs that focus on the skills and knowledge required to preserve and provide intellectual access to humanities collections held in museums, libraries, and archives across the country.

Public Programs supports multiplatform humanities projects that engage public audiences in lifelong learning through documentary films, radio, and traveling exhibitions. This cycle, America’s Historical and Cultural Organizations grants in the Implementation category have been awarded to support traveling and long-term museum exhibitions, library-based projects, interpretive websites, and other formats that creatively engage audiences in exploring important ideas. NEH on the Road grant projects are receiving funding to extend the reach of museum exhibitions recreated for travel to smaller-scale institutions in cities throughout America. Small Grants to Libraries have been awarded to libraries throughout the U.S. as hosts for library outreach programs.

Research awards are intended to create and disseminate new knowledge on human history, language, and culture through products such as books, translations, and archaeological site reports. This grant cycle, several categories of NEH Fellowships have been awarded to support individuals pursuing advanced research in the humanities benefiting scholars and general audiences, including: Fellowships for Advanced Research on Japan; Fellowships for University Teachers, including one project to support a new emphasis: NEH/CNR (Consiglio Nazionale della Ricerche) Fellowships for the study of Italy’s cultural heritage in relation to that of the U.S.; and Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars. Faculty Research Awards will support six to twelve months of full-time research in the humanities by faculty members at Historically Black and Tribal Colleges and Universities and Institutions with High Hispanic Enrollment.

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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