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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: August 9, 2017 UNO Shares in $325K NEH Grant to Digitize Fugitive Slave Ads
University of New Orleans News

More than 80 million people were enslaved in the United States through the end of the Civil War, but still little is known about them. Now, the National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded nearly $325,000 to Freedom on the Move, a project that aims to digitize 100,000 fugitive slave advertisements that were published in American newspapers through the end of the Civil War in an effort to expand common understanding about these people’s lives.

Mary Niall Mitchell, the University of New Orleans Ethel & Herman L. Midlo Chair in New Orleans Studies and the Joseph Tregle Professor in Early American History, is one of three historians leading Freedom on the Move, along with Joshua Rothman of the University of Alabama and Edward E. Baptist of Cornell University. The effort seeks to create the single richest source of data possible for understanding the lives of enslaved people—one that the historians want to make accessible to all who seek it, especially educators.

As part of her role in the project, Mitchell will hold workshops for educators and museum professionals. She will observe test audiences of museum visitors, teachers and students as they use the site to determine how to strengthen the online project. She will also help create sample lesson plans and other documents for teachers, students, museum educators and others who seek to use the Freedom on the Move project as part of classroom or museum teaching tool. The NEH award was made to Cornell, where the project is housed, with sub-awards going to the University of Alabama and UNO.

Posted: August 8, 2017 NEH pledges $448K for military literacy program
The Business Journals, biz women

A boost for books. The National Endowment for the Humanities announced a three-year partnership with Blue Star Families to expand the organization’s Books on Bases program, according to a news release.

NEH donated $448,100 to the program, which provides books for military children and military-impacted schools and libraries. Blue Star Families will use the funds to create two community reading programs designed to foster discussion between military families and their neighbors, according to the release.

Since launching in 2009, Blue Star Families' Books on Bases program has provided more than 300,000 books to military children in the U.S. and on bases overseas, per the release.

Posted: August 8, 2017 Shepherd University hosts summer institute
Herald-Mail Media

Shepherd University hosted 25 teachers from across the country during its first-ever National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, “Voices From the Misty Mountains: Appalachian Writing and Mountain Culture.”

The teachers spent three weeks immersing themselves in Appalachian literature, storytelling, music and culture, and seeing Contemporary American Theater Festival plays. They also took a trip to the Culture Center in Charleston, W.Va.; Beckley (W.Va.) exhibition coal mine; Thurmond, W.Va., in the New River Gorge; and Hawks Nest State Park.

Posted: August 8, 2017 Mine Wars Museum receives grant for anniversary project
San Francisco Chronicle

The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum has received a $30,000 challenge grant for a project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain in 2021.

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced the grant last week. The museum is located in Matewan.

The grant will enable the museum to hire a director to coordinate activities. The museum said in a news release the grant is also intended to increase fundraising capacity and connect with humanities organizations across southern West Virginia.

The Battle of Blair Mountain lasted five days, unfolding on the border of Boone and Logan counties. The Blair Centennial Project is planned to last five days with activities across the counties where the conflict took place.

Posted: August 8, 2017 The Great Plains and small-town hearts
Hays Post KS

Over a decade ago, I attended a National Endowment for the Humanities Seminar titled The Great Plains: Texas to Saskatchewan. For five weeks, Tom Isern guided 20 teachers as they read and analyzed literary and historical texts, discussed conclusions, and visited iconic sites to better understand what it means to live on the plains.

One identifying characteristic of this land is its vast horizon with few vertical interruptions such as trees or skyscrapers. That distinction found its way into pioneer diaries and journals as early travelers moved from coves and hollows where tree groves cupped around them, making them feel secure as a babe in its mother’s arms. That sense of sanctuary vanished for those entering the Great Plains as my mom who worked at the Meade County Courthouse in the 60s discovered in early immigrant records. Many were institutionalized when they couldn’t cope with open space and frequent wind.

Posted: August 8, 2017 Dickens Universe thriving at UC Santa Cruz
UC Santa Cruz NewsCenter

The Dickens Universe is the signature event of The Dickens Project, a scholarly consortium headquartered at UC Santa Cruz that consists of members from different universities across the United States and around the globe. It is internationally recognized as the premier center for Dickens studies in the world and is one of the leading sites for research on 19th-century British culture.

“The Project continues to grow in membership--now 47 colleges and universities that range from Israel to Australia and include ones in Canada and the U.K., said John Jordan, director and co-founder of the Dickens Project. "Attendance remains strong and this year we had a larger number of faculty than ever before.”

Jordan noted that The Dickens Project additionally has just been awarded a $124,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to host a four-week seminar for school teachers on campus next summer as part of its ongoing outreach program.

The title of the seminar will be “Why Literature Matters: Voices from Nineteenth-Century American and British Literature

Posted: August 7, 2017 Marshall awarded grant for history app
Metro News, West Virginia

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Marshall University a grant to help further develop an app designed to provide tourists with information about historical and cultural locations.

Clio is an app designed for providing entries on landmarks across

the United States. The program, named after the Greek muse of history, uses location-based service and search features to allow users to learn more about places of interest.

According to a press release, Clio is “on track to have more than six million page views in 2017.”

The NEH awarded $60,000 to Marshall, pending a dollar-to-dollar match raised by the university. The funding will go toward further developing Clio by providing stipends for scholars, wages for students and features like walking tours.

Posted: August 7, 2017 Writing Successful Grant Proposals
Inside Higher Ed

Most sizable grants are just too large and complex to write in a single heroic burst of last-minute effort, says Victoria McGovern, who offers advice on how to craft successful proposals.

If you are working toward getting your first substantial grant funded, expect to spend at least a couple of months learning what a good grant is. Then expect to work on your proposal for another two or three months.

Multiple NIH divisions have also developed their own instructional materials, so if you want to get numerous takes on what is important in a proposal, just browse the various institutes’ resources. Although the National Endowment for the Humanities doesn’t have the benefit of many institutes generating content, they too have materials online to help walk you through preparing your first grants.

Posted: August 7, 2017 It seems Johnny can't write, either
The Lewiston Tribune, Idaho

Teachers are coming from colleges and universities with good backgrounds in literature, but lack skills in teaching writing, says an associate professor of education at Washington State University.

"Writing is a process which must be practiced, similar to learning to play a piano," says Stanley J. Zehm, who plans to use a $300,000 grant for a program to improve the writing ability of high school students.  "If a child wants to learn to play a piano, parents find a trained piano teacher. Similarly, a trained writing teacher is needed to help expand a child's writing ability."

Zehm and Thomas L. Barton, a WSU professor of English, have been awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities for a two-year project to be based in the Tri-Cities.

Zehm and Barton say that 27 teachers from Pasco, Richland and Kennewick school districts will be asked to participate in the program, which is scheduled to begin this fall. Teachers are to spend two summers at WSU and participate in in-service classes during the regular school years. During the first summer at WSU, teachers will work to improve their own writing skills, the educators said. The second summer will be used to produce a handbook on how to teach writing in the humanities, and develop a directory for all Northwest teachers.

Teachers who have completed the two-year training "will be sent to small schools in northeastern Oregon, southeastern Washington and northern Idaho to help other classroom teachers before they return, to their own classrooms," Zehm said.

He said young persons have practiced personal writing styles for journal, assignments, but have lacked training in descriptive, argumentative and detail writing, which is expected at the college level.

Posted: August 4, 2017 Peters library commemorates U.S. entry into WWI
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Newsroom

The Peters Township Public Library is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I with a series of events titled “World War I and America” that will run through Nov. 2.

The library also is featuring a traveling exhibit detailing the war and America’s 1917 involvement.The exhibit will be there until Aug. 24.

“World War I and America” is a two-year initiative by The Library of America presented in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial and other organizations with support from The National Endowment for the Humanities.

The series at the Peters library kicked off Thursday with featured speaker Michael Neiberg, a WWI scholar and humanities adviser for the Library of America WWI and America Project. The evening also featured a musical performance by Valerie Williams, who sang WWI and WWII-era songs.

“Our library focuses on bringing educational programs to the community through our library commitment to lifelong learning,” said Margaret Deitzer, who heads the library reference department..