NEH Announces $22.2 Million for 224 Humanities Projects Nationwide

Grant awards support the preservation of historical collections, humanities exhibitions and documentaries, scholarly research, and curriculum projects.

NEH grants announcement- images of Four Freedoms, Marian Anderson, Walt Whitman
(April 7, 2020)

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $22.2 million in grants for 224 humanities projects across the country. These grants will enable the production of a 90-minute documentary on singer and civil rights pioneer Marian Anderson, support a Norman Rockwell Museum exhibition on Rockwell’s Four Freedoms series, and bolster the digital infrastructure of the Walt Whitman Archive to allow greater access to this online scholarly repository.

“In these somber times, when every individual, community, and organization in America is feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it is a joy to be able to announce new projects that will produce vibrant humanities programs and resources for the reopening of our cultural centers and educational institutions,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “These 224 projects exemplify the spirit of the humanities and their power to educate, enrich, and enlighten.”

A number of projects were funded under NEH’s “A More Perfect Union” initiative, which supports efforts that promote a deeper understanding of U.S. history and culture and that advance civics education in preparation for the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026.  These include the “Held in Trust” cooperative agreement with the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation to evaluate the state of cultural heritage conservation in the United States, and a grant to support development of new interpretive tours and exhibition galleries at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

Several grants awarded today support the development, production, and distribution of radio and television programs, documentary films, and podcasts that bring the humanities to public audiences. Among these are grants for a two-hour film on author L. Frank Baum and the legacy of his classic novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and for a documentary on the life of Rywka Lipszyc, a 14-year-old girl whose diary was discovered in the rubble of the Auschwitz crematorium in 1945.

This funding cycle also includes the first grants made under NEH’s new Short Documentaries grant program, which includes a grant award for a series of 30-minute films about historic rural churches in the South. Other Public Program grants will fund production of the Kitchen Sisters’ podcast series “The Keepers,” which tells the stories of archivists, librarians, curators, and historians and the humanities collections in their care.

Newly funded projects include the cataloging and digitization of archival objects, photographs, and films at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, and the preservation of 540 hours of recorded Native Alaskan song, dance, and oratory from four decades of Sealaska Heritage Institute cultural festivals.

NEH Summer Stipends for scholars will enable archival research for more than 100 publications, including a biography of Founding Father John Jay, and a study on the social, political, and religious factors that influenced local responses to the 1918 influenza epidemic in Europe.

Also in this round of funding are grants to the Portland Museum of Art in Maine for a major traveling exhibition on the art of painter Winslow Homer and painter and sculptor Frederic Remington as a response to fin de siècle cultural changes; to the Museum of the American Revolution for an exhibition on women’s citizenship and voting rights in the Early American Republic; and to the Concord Museum for “At the Center of Revolution,” a new permanent exhibition, education materials, and public programs exploring the history of Concord, Massachusetts, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Additional grants will support a national discussion program centered around the NEH-funded documentary Free for All, about U.S. public libraries.

Education grants for curriculum innovation in the humanities will fund the integration of cultural and language studies into the engineering curriculum at Purdue University in Indiana. New NEH Dialogues on the Experience of War grants will support a “Veteran to Scholar Bootcamp” at East Carolina University to assist returning veterans in their transition to university life, and a humanities-based discussion program at Messiah College on the experiences of women in the U.S. military.

NEH Documenting Endangered Languages grants, administered in partnership with the National Science Foundation, will underwrite work on a dictionary documenting dialects of the Muskogean language spoken by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. And nine new NEH Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions grants will fund fellowships for humanities scholars at libraries, museums, and centers for advanced study, such as the New-York Historical Society, the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.

In addition, NEH made six new Chairman’s Grants since December 2019, totaling $168,452. Grantees include the Supreme Court Historical Society, which will receive $30,000 to create new content for its Landmark Cases website, a civics education tool used nationwide by secondary school educators and their students. Oglala Lakota College will receive a Chairman’s Grant of $28,516 to preserve and create access to unique audio and video collections held in its Woksape Tipi Archives and Tribal Repository, which document the tribe’s history and culture.

As recently announced, NEH also will receive $75 million in supplemental funding to assist cultural institutions and humanists affected by the coronavirus pandemic as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act economic stabilization plan appropriated by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump. NEH Chairman Peede has confirmed that 100 percent of this supplemental funding will be distributed to grantees; none will be used for the federal agency’s operational expenses. These emergency relief grants will be awarded on a rolling basis and will be announced separately.

A list of the grants by geographic location is available here.  

Information on recent Chairman's Grants is available here. 

Grants were awarded in the following categories:

Dialogues on the Experience of War

Support the study and discussion of important humanities sources about war and military service.

9 grants, totaling $809,851

Documenting Endangered Languages Fellowships and Preservation Grants  

Joint initiative between NEH and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support fieldwork and other activities relevant to recording, preparation, and archiving endangered languages, as well as the preparation of transcriptions, databases, grammars, and lexicons of languages that are in danger of being lost.

6 grants, totaling $936,125

Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions

Provide scholars with research time and access to resources beyond what is available at their home institutions.

9 grants, totaling $2.3 million

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Grants  

Allow institutions to preserve and provide access to collections essential to scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities.

32 grants, totaling $7.7 million

Humanities Connections

Expand the role of the humanities in the undergraduate curriculum at two- and four-year institutions.

18 grants, totaling $881,453

Media Projects: Development and Production Grants

Support the preparation of media programs, including radio, podcast, television, and long-form documentary films, for distribution.

9 grants, totaling $2.7 million

Public Humanities Projects: Exhibitions 

Support permanent, temporary single-site, and multi-venue traveling humanities exhibitions.

20 grants, totaling $4.8 million

Public Humanities Projects: Historic Places

Support the interpretation of historic sites, houses, neighborhoods, and regions.

2 grants, totaling $115,000

Public Humanities Projects: Humanities Discussions

Support one- to two-year-long series of communitywide public programs that are centered on one or more significant humanities resources, such as historical artifacts, artworks, literature, musical composition, or films. 

1 grant, totaling $310,000

Short Documentaries

Support production and distribution of documentary films up to thirty minutes that engage audiences with humanities ideas.

2 grants, totaling $110,000

Summer Stipends 

Support full-time work by a scholar on a humanities project for a period of two months.

108 grants, totaling $648,000

Chairman’s Grants

Support the public humanities and access to the nation’s cultural heritage, especially in the context of the Semiquincentennial of the United States.

6 grants, totaling $168,452

National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at 

Media Contacts:
Paula Wasley: 202-606-8424 |