Between 2006 and 2010, institutions and individuals in Illinois received $37 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 transforms a selection of flat images from the 1909 Plan of Chicago into 3D 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.
- In 1889, Progressive Movement pioneer Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, founded the Hull-House social settlement in Chicago. With a $350,000 grant, the Hull-House Museum substantially expanded its exhibit space. Workshops for eighty schoolteachers were supported by a $150,000 grant in 2005 to the University of Illinois at Chicago.
- Between 2010 and 2012, thirty libraries across the state will receive $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 develop the electronic infrastructure for Buildings of the United States Online, the first peer-reviewed, comprehensive online database of American architectural history.
- One 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 thanks to a $398,000 grant.
- In recent summers, grants totaling $440,000 have brought two hundred and sixty schoolteachers to Springfield for week-long workshops titled Abraham Lincoln and the Forging of Modern America.
- The exhibition titled “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music” recently toured the state making stops in six rural communities. The twelve-year partnership between the Illinois Humanities Council and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Services has brought exhibitions to 70 small towns in Illinois since 1998.
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.