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March 2008

the latest from
Suite 603


March 27, 2008

Lane Cake from the new ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ALABAMA. Click on the photograph for the article which notes that a Lane Cake figures in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.
Encyclopedia of Alabama
Indiana Humanities Council selects a new executive: welcome to Keira Amstutz

Site visits: Federal/State Partnership on the road

John Updike with present NEH's Jefferson Lecture on May 22
NEH's Digital Humanities Initiative becomes the Office of Digital Humanities

the logon and password
for the Federal/State Partnership website:
"fedstate" & "partnership"

This website is a resource for executives, boards, and staff of state humanities councils. Join the Federal/State Partnership email list from the first page of the website.

Encyclopedia of Alabama

Congratulations to the

for the pilot launch of the new online
Encyclopedia of Alabama. As Bob Stewart, AHF executive director, wrote in a recent Humtalk message: "EOA is still a test site and we need your help. Please visit EOA and read a few of the articles (more than 350 are currently posted). After you do, let us know if there are problems that prevent you from viewing the articles or multimedia content, navigating the site, etc. Send your observations and comments to eoaed1[at]auburn[dot]edu or call 334-844-4008."

Indiana Humanities Council selects a new executive: welcome to Keira Amstutz

Keira Amstutz was featured on the cover of the August 2001 issue of Indianapolis Woman.
Keira Amstutz was featured on the cover of the August 2001 issue of Indianapolis Woman.

The Indiana Humanities Council has announced that Keira Amstutz will begin her work as President and CEO on April 14.

A former assistant deputy mayor of Indianapolis and director of cultural development, she led the city's successful Cultural Development Initiative, a public private collaboration launched to elevate the city's cultural profile. Amstutz has served on a variety of community boards such as the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, Indy Hub, the White River State Park, Herron School of Art and Design Dean's Advisory Council and Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. She has served on strategic committees for many community organizations and events including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and the NCAA Men's and Women's Final Four. The Indianapolis Business Journal named her one of the city's "40 under 40" in 2006.

Amstutz grew up in Hamilton, Indiana, graduated from DePauw University and served as a fellow in the office of former Indiana governor Evan Bayh. She earned a J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis and is an alumna of the Stanley K. Lacy Leadership Series.

Site visits: Federal/State Partnership on the road

In April and May, Federal/State Partnership will lead site visits to the New Mexico Humanities Council (Edie), the Virgin Islands Humanities Council (Kathleen), the Florida Humanities Council (Dwan), the North Carolina Humanities Council (Dwan), and the Idaho Humanities Council (Kathleen). Each site team is made up of two outside consultants who are accompanied by a Federal/State Partnership staff member.

Site visits are a key stage in a council's five-year cycle of assessment and review and are an important part of the legislatively-mandated reporting that councils must present to NEH in return for the use of federal funds. Eleven site visits are scheduled for each of the first four years of the cycle; twelve take place during the fifth year. Interim reports, reflecting a council's response to the self-assessment and site visitors' report, are due in the third year after a site visit takes place.

Full information about the assessment and review process is available on the Federal/State Partnership website, including the instruction packet and schedule. The yearly site visit schedules include the names and affiliations of people who have or will serve as outside consultants.

Bureaucratic niceties aside, site visits provide the staff of Federal/State Partnership the opportunity to visit councils on the ground, see their work first hand, and talk with the people who work for and with the councils. There is no better way to learn about the United States than to see states and jurisdictions through the lens of their humanities council.

John Updike with present NEH's Jefferson Lecture on May 22

photo courtesy of Martha Updike
photo courtesy of Martha Updike

Request your tickets quickly at

Author of the famed "Rabbit" series of novels and winner of many awards, John Updike will present the 37th annual Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities on Thursday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. In "The Clarity of Things," Updike will examine the connection between America's art and its ideas by posing the question, "What is American about American art?" Updike's lecture will complement the Endowment's new Picturing America initiative (, which brings great American art to schools and public libraries to help citizens learn about the people, events, and ideas that have shaped our nation's history.

In recognition for his literary and critical work, John Updike was presented the National Humanities Medal by President Bush in 2003. Updike is one of the few Americans to receive both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts, which he received in 1989.

NEH's Digital Humanities Initiative becomes the Office of Digital Humanities

The digital humanities now has a permanent home at NEH. Director Brett Bobley explains that ODH's primary mission is to help coordinate NEH's efforts in the area of digital scholarship. "Over the coming years, I see ODH working in three main areas:

1) Running a small number of grant programs that encourage digital scholarship and cut across our regular program areas (Public, Research, Education, Preservation). There are currently two such programs (Start-Up Grants, Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities). 

2) Working in partnership with other NEH grantmaking offices and divisions. ...

3) Working with other funders both in the US and internationally to discuss priorities for cyberinfrastructure funding and to consider joint grant opportunities. ... One important partnership area I wish to explore more: conferences and workshops to discuss important funding and infrastructure issues. In my opinion, since infrastructure touches on many disciplines and many funders, it is important that we have open dialogs with our colleagues at other agencies and foundations."
The ODH website is Brett says that "this new page was built using free, open-source software [Dot Net Nuke]. No money changed hands. I figured that if we're going to ask our grantees to use open source, we should walk it like we talk it." He adds that Dot Net Nuke "is an example of an open source content management system.  Unlike using individual, static HTML pages that must each be edited separately, a content management system makes it simple to design an attractive website framework and then allow your staff to edit the text within that framework using an easy-to-use rich text editor.  Hence, once it is set up, it is very easy for non-technical staff to add and maintain content."
Click here for more...

National Endowment for the Humanities
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 603
Washington, DC 20506
202.606.8254, main number
202.606.8365, fax

Edie Manza, director
Kathleen Mitchell, senior program officer
Shirley Newman, program assistant
Dwan Reece, senior program officer

visit to keep up with the
National Endowment for the Humanities