Between 2008 and 2012, institutions and individuals in Illinois received $36 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Illinois Humanities Council for projects that explore the human endeavor and preserve our cultural heritage.
Below are some examples.
- The Papers of Abraham Lincoln are being digitized by the Illinois Historic Preservation Society with $370,000 in grants to make them freely accessible online by 2015.
- The one-hundredth anniversary of architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago was the reason for $299,000 in grants to produce a 60-minute television documentary, an online and panel exhibition, and the Virtual Burnham Initiative—a multimedia online resource that transformed a selection of flat images from the 1909 Plan of Chicago into 3–D models accessible through the website.
- With the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the ancient Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiantangshan were plundered. In 2010, after a painstaking global search to find and scan these far-flung works of art, the temples’ contents were digitally reunited and made viewable in situ at the Smart Museum of the University of Chicago, assisted by grants totaling $310,000.
- It is known that in his earlier days Abraham Lincoln wrote vitriolic articles under the cover of anonymity, but now, with the support of a $57,000 grant, the Abraham Lincoln Library Foundation is working to develop a systematic linguistic test to confirm which ones were indeed authored by the future president.
- Between 2010 and 2012, thirty libraries across the state received $2,500 each to hold reading, viewing, and discussion programs about the NEH-supported documentary and biography Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women.
- With a $65,000 grant, the Society of Architectural Historians in Chicago plans to developed an image archive, an online journal, and an online encyclopedia, all devoted to peer-reviewed work on American architectural history.
- Two hundred thousand pages of historic newspapers, such as the Chicago Eagle and the Day Book, from 1860 to 1922 are being digitized at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with the support of $1 million in grants since 2009. This work is part of Chronicling America, an NEH collaboration with the Library of Congress.
- In recent summers, grants totaling $760,000 have brought more than 400 schoolteachers to Springfield for weeklong workshops titled “Abraham Lincoln and the Forging of Modern America.”
- The Odyssey Project offers a college-level course in the humanities to individuals living at or near the poverty line. A program of the Illinois Humanities Council, it draws faculty from the University of Chicago and other area colleges.
- Illinois’s Meaning of Service program works with thousands of young people to help them understand the nature and rewards of volunteerism. The program is active in eight AmeriCorps sites in Illinois and is expanding to seven more states.