NEH Announces $41.3 Million for 280 Humanities Projects Nationwide

Grant awards support new NEH American Tapestry projects related to climate change and technology, as well as collaborative and individual humanities research, books, exhibitions, documentaries, and education programs

NEH graphic August 2023 grants
Photo caption


Washington, DC (August 15, 2023)

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $41.3 million in grants for 280 humanities projects across the country. These grants will support a documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Nelson on the life, work, and legacy of jazz legend Sun Ra; the creation of a set of linked online dictionaries of early Mayan languages; and analysis of pigment traces on the statuary at Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral to create a 3D model depicting the original colors of its medieval façade.

This round of funding, NEH’s third and last for fiscal year 2023, will support vital humanities education, research, preservation, and public programs. These peer-reviewed grants were awarded in addition to $65 million in annual operating support provided to the national network of state and jurisdictional humanities councils.

“These 280 new grant awards underscore the wide range of exemplary, fascinating, and impactful humanities work that scholars, practitioners, and institutions are conducting in all corners of the country,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “I am especially pleased to announce a number of innovative projects funded through NEH’s American Tapestry initiative that draw upon the insights of history, literature, culture, and philosophy to help us understand, discuss, and address some of today’s most urgent social issues.”  

This funding cycle includes the first round of awards made under three new NEH grant programs that were created under the agency’s American Tapestry: Weaving Together Past, Present, and Future initiative, which leverages the humanities to strengthen our democracy, advance equity for all, and address our changing climate. Awards made through the Climate Smart Humanities Organizations grant program—which helps cultural organizations mitigate the impact of a changing climate on important heritage collections—will support a comprehensive energy and carbon audit at the Anchorage Museum and the development of a climate heritage plan to protect San Antonio’s historic buildings and neighborhoods, including five colonial Spanish missions that are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. New Cultural and Community Resilience grants will support community-based efforts to preserve cultural heritage in the wake of climate change and COVID-19. Awards in this category include funding for the Abuelas Project to identify and document stories connected to places of historic importance to Latinx communities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico as well as a grant to enable the collection of oral histories from tribal elders about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Dangers and Opportunities of Technology grant awards will support research on the relationship between technology, culture, and society. Funded projects include a book examining the cultural and ethical implications of digital technology and the resulting “spontaneity deficit” as well as a convening of educators to develop resources on the use of AI technologies in teaching art history and media studies.

This round of funding also includes a $500,000 cooperative agreement with the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition to digitize and describe 120,000 pages of records from federal Indian boarding schools in conjunction with NEH’s partnership with the Department of the Interior on the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative.

Other funding will support public humanities projects such as films, exhibitions, podcasts, and community discussion programs that bring humanities ideas and experiences to large public audiences. Grants will support a new exhibition on art, science, and innovation in the Islamic world; and planning for exhibitions on the evolution of Hawai’i’s legal and judicial system and on the history of the Cincinnati neighborhood of Avondale, home to the city’s largest African American community. Funding for media projects will enable production of an 8-hour documentary film series examining the U.S. criminal justice system from the colonial era to the present day; a feature-length documentary for PBS American Masters on the life and works of author, activist, educator, Holocaust survivor, and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel; and a podcast series that revisits the stories and themes of Studs Terkel’s first collection of oral histories, Division Street: America, through interviews with friends and family members of the original participants.  

New awards for scholarly editions and translations will support collaborative teams of scholars in producing critical editions of the collected papers of Thomas Edison, the late life writings of poet Walt Whitman, and the letters of popular nineteenth-century American novelist Catharine Sedgwick. Additionally, they will underwrite work on a scholarly edition of the book of Psalms and an annotated English translation of the longest-running Indigenous-language newspaper in the U.S., Iapi Oaye (The Word Carrier), which was published in the Dakota language  from 1871 to 1939. National Digital Newspaper grants awarded in 12 states will support the ongoing digitization of newspapers published between 1690 and 1963 for inclusion in the Chronicling America online database of historic American newspapers.

Additional grants will enable the Norman B. Leventhal Map and Education Center and the American Geographical Society Library to expand the Allmaps software interface to allow for georeferencing of digitized historical maps and will support a digital project at Purdue University that incorporates geographic information system (GIS) mapping technology to explore the cultural, economic, and social influences of four discrete theater districts in London during the age of Shakespeare.

Several newly funded projects will help preserve and expand access to important historical and cultural collections, such as the relocation of Georgia O’Keeffe’s personal library to archival facilities at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to protect her books and personal effects from environmental damage, and upgrades to storage and environmental monitoring systems safeguarding the collections of the Indiana Medical History Museum. NEH Preservation Assistance Grants will help 61 small and mid-sized museums, libraries, historical societies, and archival repositories improve their ability to care for significant humanities collections. Among these are grants to preserve the University of Houston-Clear Lake’s archives relating to the NASA Johnson Space Center and history of space flight and to support cleaning and preservation treatment of audiovisual materials documenting Appalachian history at Appalshop that were damaged last summer by massive flooding in eastern Kentucky.  

NEH Public Scholars grants, which support popular nonfiction books in the humanities, will enable publication of 28 new titles, including a biography of novelist and poet Emily Brontë; a history of the “first color,” ochre, and its use by humans in art and technology over millennia; a book on the educational legacy of a group of nearly 200 Black scholars who attended Harvard University in the early twentieth century known as “special students;” a comprehensive history of anti-Semitism in the U.S. from the arrival of the first Jewish communities in 1654 to the present day; and a group biography of four nineteenth-century women reformers—Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper—who used the lecture circuit to fight for abolition and women’s rights.

Thirty-seven grants for summer institutes and workshops will provide professional enrichment and research opportunities for K–12 schoolteachers and college faculty on topics such as the history of the 1964 Freedom Summer civil rights project in Mississippi, the ancient Olympics and daily life in the Mediterranean of 100 BCE, teaching Asian American history through community-based archives, and Kansas City during the Jazz Age and Great Depression.

A full list of the 280 new awards by geographic location is available here. 

NEH awarded grants in the following categories:

Climate Smart Humanities Organizations


Strengthen the institutional base of the humanities by funding organizational assessments and strategic planning that sustain and protect historical, cultural, educational, intellectual, and physical assets from the risks of climate change

6 grants, totaling $611,281

Collaborative Research

Support interpretive research undertaken by a team of two or more collaborating scholars that adds significantly to knowledge and understanding of the humanities

20 grants, totaling $3.16 million


Cultural and Community Resilience


Support the community-based efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic by safeguarding cultural resources and fostering cultural resilience through the identification, documentation, and/or collection of cultural heritage and community experience

11 grants, totaling $1.45 million

Dangers and Opportunities of Technology: Perspectives from the Humanities


Support humanistic research that explores the relationship between technology and society

16 grants, totaling $1.57 million

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants


Support the implementation of innovative digital humanities projects that have successfully completed a start-up phase and demonstrated their value to the field

13 grants, totaling $2.48 million

Dynamic Language Infrastructure—Documenting Endangered Languages Senior Research Grants


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

2 grants, totaling $520,900

Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities


Provide scholars and advanced graduate students with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of advanced technology tools and methodologies relevant to the humanities and to increase the number of humanities scholars using digital technology in their research

4 grants, totaling $909,429

Institutes for Higher Education Faculty


Support intensive one- to four-week projects in which sixteen to twenty-five college and university faculty members, working with scholarly experts, engage in collegial study of significant texts and topics in the humanities


9 grants, totaling $1.58 million

Institutes for K-12 Educators



Support intensive one- to four-week projects in which sixteen to thirty schoolteachers, working with scholarly experts, engage in collegial study of significant texts and topics in the humanities


19 grants, totaling $3.39 million

Landmarks of American History and Culture

Support a series of one-week workshops for a national audience of K–12 educators that enhance and strengthen humanities teaching at the K–12 level, focused on using particular places or communities to understand American history and culture

16 grants, totaling $3.02 million


Media Projects: Development and Production Grants

Support film, television, and radio projects that explore significant events, figures, and ideas within the humanities: development grants that enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare programs for production; production grants that support the preparation of a project for presentation to the public

11 grants, totaling $5.25 million


National Digital Newspaper Program


Support the creation of a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1690 and 1963, from all states and U.S. territories

12 grants, totaling $3.35 million

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions 

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

61 grants, totaling $545,797

Public Humanities Projects: Exhibitions, Historic Places, and Humanities Discussions

Support museum exhibitions, discussion programs, and interpretations of historic places that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences

13 grants, totaling $3.02 million

Public Scholars

Support well-researched books in the humanities aimed at a broad public audience


28 grants, totaling $1.6 million

Scholarly Editions and Translations


Support the preparation of editions and translations of texts that are valuable to the humanities but are inaccessible or available only in inadequate editions


21 grants, totaling $5.5 million

Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections

Support preventative conservation measures to prolong the useful life of collections to help cultural institutions preserve large and diverse holdings of humanities materials for future generations

17 grants, totaling $2.86 million



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

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