Between 2006 and 2010, institutions and individuals in Massachusetts received $43 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Mass Humanities for projects that explore the human endeavor and preserve our cultural heritage. Below are some examples.
- Prof. Pauline Maier of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, received a $40,000 fellowship to work on Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787–1788 (Simon & Schuster, 2010), which uses the NEH-supported a Documentary History of the Ratification to follow the controversy over the Constitution from state to state.
- A famous whaling town, New Bedford was also a hub of antislavery sentiment. Eighty teachers explored the port’s abolitionist past in Sailing to Freedom: New Bedford and the Underground Railroad. The University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, received $178,000 for this one-week workshop.
- W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963) corresponded with Gandhi, Einstein, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Jane Addams, and Marcus Garvey. With an award of $315,000, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will digitize and post online its collection of Du Bois’s writing.
- More than $3 million in NEH support has helped the WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, produce new programs for its American Experience series, including in recent years We Shall Remain, on Native American history, Robert E. Lee, and Panama Canal. Freedom Riders, the story of the civil rights activists who challenged segregation in interstate transportation, and The Great Famine, the story of how the American Relief Administration aided millions of starving Soviet citizens in the 1920s, both aired in spring 2011. This Republic of Suffering, which explores the Civil War’s unprecedented death toll, is forthcoming.
- The traveling exhibition “John Adams Unbound,” created by the Boston Public Library with NEH support totaling $299,300, will visit twenty libraries nationwide. Drawing on margin notes Adams wrote in his personal library of 3,500 volumes, this exhibition reveals the second president’s thoughts on fame, fortune, and country.
- Furling sails and readying cannons are part of the interactive experience at “All Hands on Deck: A Sailor’s Life in 1812,” an exhibition at the USS Constitution Museum, Charlestown, funded with a grant of $367,200.
- Three years after the Revolution ended, thousands of Massachusetts citizens took up arms against their new state government. Springfield Technical Community College, with an award of $240,100, tells the uprising’s story on a website titled Shays’ Rebellion and the Making of a Nation.
- Mass Humanities, in conjunction with the Springfield and New Bedford public libraries, is presenting Family Adventures in Reading, a humanities-based reading and discussion program for children and parents or other primary caregivers. It is based on Prime Time Family Reading Time, an acclaimed Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities program.
- Teachers, students, and history buffs of all ages enjoy Mass Moments, an electronic almanac covering three centuries of Massachusetts history. It is available via the Internet and podcast.
By 2009, nearly three hundred inner-city residents had completed the Massachusetts Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities. This rigorous, college-credit program, which is free of charge to low-income adults, has been available through Mass Humanities for more than ten years.