WASHINGTON (December 1, 2011) — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today $21 million in grants for 215 humanities projects.
This funding will support a wide variety of projects, including research fellowships and awards for scholars, the preservation of humanities collections at smaller institutions, traveling exhibitions, and humanities initiatives at historically black colleges, institutions with high Hispanic enrollment, and tribal colleges and universities. Grants awarded today will also support training for museum and archive staff to preserve and enhance access to their collections, while NEH Challenge Grants provide support for long-term humanities activities.
As part of the agency’s Bridging Cultures initiative — which encourages projects that explore the ways in which cultures from around the globe, as well as the myriad subcultures within America’s borders, have influenced American society— NEH announced awards in three special grant programs: Bridging Cultures Through Film, Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges, and Bridging Cultures Implementation Grants for Public Programs. Projects receiving funding through these programs include the production of a film on the experiences of the Cambodian actor Haing Ngor during the Cambodian genocide and his life in America afterwards, a two-year professional and curriculum development project for faculty and administrators from eighteen community colleges to improve introductory humanities courses at two-year institutions, and the implementation of library programming and a companion website on the poetry of the Muslim world.
Also among the grants announced are a research fellowship to examine reading habits in the antebellum South and their relationship to slavery and an emerging market economy, and a challenge grant to provide tuition-free introductory college level courses in American history, literature, and writing to low income students in Massachusetts. Funding will also support workshops for cultural heritage conservators on preventative conservation methods and the conservation of digital prints, and provide climate monitoring equipment to protect a collection of 1,000 artifacts documenting the lives of Chinese immigrants in Lewiston, Idaho, in the late 19th century.
“The National Endowment for the Humanities supports projects that document and explore the human endeavor in its many forms,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach. “Whether it is preserving a valuable historical collection, enabling the production of a film or exhibition, or providing support for scholarly exploration of important topics in the humanities, the grants awarded today ensure that the shared stories of our past are available to communities across the nation for generations to come.”
This award cycle, institutions and independent scholars in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico will receive NEH support. Complete state-by-state listings of grants are available here (45-page PDF). 
In this cycle, grants were awarded in the following categories:
- Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges Grants advance the role of the humanities at community colleges through curriculum and faculty development projects focused on the theme of Bridging Cultures.
- Bridging Cultures Implementation Grants support the implementation of a national or regional program for broad public audiences that explore the ways in which cultures from around the globe, as well as the myriad subcultures within America’s borders, have influenced American society.
- 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.
- Faculty Research Awards support advanced research in the humanities by teachers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Institutions with High Hispanic Enrollment, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.
- Fellowships support college and university teachers and independent scholars pursuing advanced research.
- Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan is a joint activity of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JASFC) and the NEH. Awards support research on modern Japanese society and political economy, Japan’s international relations, and U.S.- Japan relations.
- Humanities Initiatives Grants are intended to strengthen and enrich humanities education and scholarship at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Institutions with High Hispanic Enrollment, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.
- NEH On the Road Grants extend the reach of museum exhibitions redesigned for travel to smaller-scale institutions in cities throughout America.
- 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, archaeological 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.