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NEH Announces $21.8 Million for 295 Humanities Projects

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National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

WASHINGTON (December 14, 2015) — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $21.8 million in grants for 295 humanities projects, including new grants to digitize historical materials held by individuals, give a second life to important out-of-print humanities books, and support public programs on pressing contemporary challenges.   

These new NEH grants support vital research, education, and public programs in the humanities, including pioneering chemical testing procedures to safeguard fragile historical materials displayed in museums and the production of a documentary film on the Warsaw Ghetto’s secret archive that preserved 30,000 pages of diaries, letters, and records documenting the Jewish community during the Holocaust.

This round of funding also marks the first grant awards made under three new NEH grant programs: Common Heritage, Humanities in the Public Square, and Humanities Open Book. These three programs were created under the NEH initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to bring humanities into the public square and foster innovative ways to make scholarship relevant to contemporary life.

“With these grants, the National Endowment for the Humanities continues its 50-year tradition of supporting excellence in the humanities,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “From scholarly books and humanities programs on college campuses to new digital humanities resources and preservation efforts at local museums, the projects receiving funding today will reach deeply into communities and expand access to our shared cultural heritage.”  

NEH, an independent federal agency that funds high-quality projects in fields such as history, literature, philosophy, and archaeology, awards grants three times a year for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers. This round of grants supports projects that will strengthen the nation’s cultural fabric and identity. They include:

  • Enabling the University of Illinois to develop curricula around Jane Addams’ Hull-House and its history of social reform
  • Allowing for the expansion of the Museum of Idaho
  • Providing workshops to New Orleans cultural heritage institutions on disaster planning and recovery
  • Supporting development of a digital game set in 12th century Egypt that will teach students about medieval legal codes
  • Preserving records held at the University of Mississippi documenting the state’s history and culture, and the lives of figures such as author William Faulkner, civil rights activists James Meredith and Fanny Lou Hamer, and musician B.B. King
  • Allowing scholars to research books on subjects such as the impact of the U.S. presidency on the history of photography, and cooperation between tribal communities, doctors, and nurses to curb death and disease in southern California during the first half of the 20th century

Institutions and independent scholars in 46 states and the District of Columbia will receive NEH support. Complete state-by-state listings of grants are available here (73-page PDF).

Grants were awarded in the following categories (asterisk denotes new grant programs created under the Common Good initiative):

Awards for Faculty

Support advanced research in the humanities by teachers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities
 

Bridging Cultures through Film Grants

Support the development and production of documentary films that examine international and transnational themes in the humanities

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, in some cases, two-to-one basis
 

Common Heritage*

Preserves and make accessible materials important to family and community histories by supporting digitization events and public programming at local cultural organizations
 

Digital Projects for the Public Grants

Support projects such as websites, mobile applications, games, and virtual environments that significantly contribute to the public’s engagement with humanities ideas
 

Fellowships

Support college and university teachers and independent scholars pursuing advanced research
 

Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan

A joint activity of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JASFC) and NEH. Awards support research on modern Japanese society and political economy, Japan’s international relations, and U.S.-Japan relations.
 

Humanities Initiatives Grants

Strengthen and enrich humanities education and scholarship at Hispanic Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities
 

Humanities in the Public Square*

Brings together humanities scholars and the public for dialogue on contemporary issues of concern to communities
 

Humanities Open Book*

A joint grant program between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Humanities Open Book gives a second life to outstanding out-of-print books in the humanities by turning them into freely accessible e-books
 

NEH On the Road Grants

Bring NEH-funded traveling exhibitions to small and mid-sized museums across the country

Preservation and Access Research and Development Grants

Support projects that address major challenges in preserving or providing access to humanities collections and resources
 

Preservation Assistance Grants

Help institutions —particularly small and mid-sized institutions— improve their ability to preserve and care for their humanities collections, including special collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, architectural and cartographic records, decorative and fine arts, textiles, archeological and ethnographic artifacts, furniture, and historical objects.
 

Preservation Education and Training Grants

Help the staff of cultural institutions obtain the knowledge and skills needed to serve as effective stewards of humanities collections. Grants also support educational programs that prepare the next generation of conservators and preservation professionals, as well as projects that introduce the staff of cultural institutions to recent improvements in preservation and access practices.
 

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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: Paula Wasley at (202) 606-8424 or pwasley@neh.gov